Messy, Careless, Childish: Shoppers of Today

Are you the kind of person who picks up something they knock down at a store? Do you put stuff back where you found it if you don’t want it? If so, thank you! You are one of the few well mannered shoppers left. I feel like it has become the culture of shoppers (at least in America) to suddenly forget how to be adults who clean up after themselves and become like children who pull out their toy box, dump literally everything out, scatter it around the floor, and then leave it for their parents to clean up. This may be a bit of an exaggeration but to those of us who are on the other side as store employees have a special understanding of how it feels just like that.

I happen to be one of the managers at a local dollar store. You would not believe how messy it is. Since it is a dollar store we don’t exactly have a larger workforce like Walmart that can keep up with the constant trashing of our store. It is never completely organized and clean looking. It also isn’t as large. I am usually the one that closes so it is my responsibility to “clean and recover” the store. The sad and very annoying truth is that this is a next to impossible job. I walk through the store each night with a cart (or three) and pick up the things that are out of place. The trouble is I don’t actually have the time to really get everything because there is so much. Once I go through the store and fill up the carts with misplaced items, I then sort them and put them back where they go. My shifts are usually 4 or 5 hours long and here and there I get a 7 hour. This is not nearly enough time. Even if I only do a semi-detailed walk-through I almost don’t have enough time to put all of the items back that I grab. Especially since ten minutes later it doesn’t even look like I did anything. Usually there is only one person trying to clean up each day. At this point you might be thinking that maybe the store should just hire more people to organize and keep up with the mess but this isn’t possible. Corporate only gives their stores a certain amount of hours that can be distributed to the employees. To be honest, this really is not the root of the problem in my opinion. It’s the customers.

If you could witness what the customers are like and see how an organized isle is clean one minute and completely trashed the next, you would understand. Every once and a while we have a some extra hours and so an employee will get assigned to clean and detail an isle for a day. It’s usually one of the more commonly trashed isles like toys. Sometimes they are actually able to completely organize the isle. Give it a day, though, and you wouldn’t even be able to tell it had ever been that way. I’m talking stuff all over the floor, the floor bins and display cases so messed up that you couldn’t even guess what item was supposed to be there originally, and damaged items and open packaging all over the place. The toy isle isn’t the only isle that is like this but it is one of the worst. Then it falls to me as closing manager to try to keep it organized? Impossible.

Why does this happen? It is the poor attitude and culture that shoppers of today have. They walk in the store and suddenly nothing is their problem anymore. They see the employees as servants of their every need. They must also see them as their mothers because they almost never clean up after themselves. Parents come into our store with their kids and just let them go wherever they want and make messes. They don’t care what they are doing. I’ve watched people grab something off the peg, look at it, and then just drop it on the floor. Seriously? Is it really that hard to just put it back? When you pick something out of a bin, is it really that hard to put it back in the right one? It wouldn’t be a big deal if it was only one person every once and awhile. Sadly it is hundreds of people doing it multiple times during their time in the store. I know this just sounds like regular store employee complaining. Believe me, I could go on forever but my point is that the culture and attitude of your average shopper needs to change.

People of all ages walk into a store and become childish jerks. I was raised to be polite, clean, and to try to not be an annoyance to others at the store. I realize now that those lessons are rare lessons to be taught anymore. People seem to believe that they can make any mess and it’s okay because the employees will just pick it up for them. Those same people then go and complain about how messy the store is all the time. So don’t shop here anymore! Please! Those same people get all angry when they don’t get their way. How does that even make sense?! Stop being an immature child and pick up after yourself! Pay attention to your kids and teach them to do the same! Pay attention to when they are trying to put stuff in your cart that you don’t want so that you don’t have to finally notice it later and then unload a random pile of items in a random place in the store that some employee has to come along later and pick up for you. Grow up! If you don’t want something then don’t pick it up! If you do pick it up then put it back! It really isn’t that hard and if everyone could do it then it would make an unbelievable difference. Employees are paid to pick up messes but that doesn’t mean you have to be so careless. They have other things that would be better for them to spend their time on that would probably make the store better for customers. If you don’t like a messy store then don’t trash it! Use some sense! Don’t teach your kids that it is okay to treat the employees like trash. They aren’t your parents. Be an adult. Be respectful of others. You are a problem and an annoyance when you are a messy customer. It is sad that this has become so common. Do yourself and society a favor and make the change. Help make the world a little better. And off to work I go.