I don’t talk much about my day to day life on here, but a situation the other night had me wanting to write an article on, as silly as it seems, the fact that, yes, stores close for the night.
To establish the setting, it was just a few minutes before closing time, on a Saturday night. Naturally, we were in the phase of cleaning up the store (which has to happen every night in virtually every store before the closing crew leaves) and helping the last customers make their purchases. A normal end to a pretty good Saturday.
As part of the final customer interactions for the night, a manager and I were taking out a large item, which a guest had purchased, to help them load it into their vehicle. Again, something quite typical which happens in front of the store.
It was just a few minutes before the proper closing time of the store. Often, most other stores, and even sometimes us, we will have the doors shut a few minutes before close to deter new customers entering as the store shuts down. This is something that should be expected, as the line has to be drawn somewhere and the idea is that all purchases are being finalized immediately after closing time, so everyone can focus on cleaning up the store and going home, a process that, depending on the store size, how busy it was, and the day of the week, could be anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours.
In this case, however, the manager and I were out front waiting for the customer to pull up, with their truck, for us to load up their item. Something that took all of 2 minutes, but in that time frame, a family pulled up, parked, and began walking in.
Now, I’m a somewhat non-confrontational person. I know how some people will act in public, and generally prefer to avoid confrontation, especially while at work. I mentioned to the manager that they were coming up, and that’s when she spoke to them.
The manager told the customers the store was closing. The customers asked when the store closed, and asked the current time, which we told them – at this point the store would officially close in 1 minute. The manager, being nice, asked them if they knew what they were getting, which means the trip in would be quick and it would be no problem to come on in, grab the item, make the purchase, and leave, without any issue. They said they didn’t know and were going to look around. The manager apologized to them, and the family turned around, but not without the mother, in front of her 3 children, stated something, if memory serves, to the tune of “yeah, they are closing and you have 2 associates just standing outside, not doing shit.”
Yes, you are reading that correctly, she got mad that her family came to the store as it was closing, and instead of realizing that she made a mistake, she instead decided to get mad and throw a childish tantrum about the fact that we were closing and they couldn’t come in to shop at a time period where most other stores have already closed.
Did I mention the had the “Can I speak to a Manager” haircut? Because she did…
Where is the reason to be offended? We were polite in this encounter. It’s not our fault you came just before the store closed. From what I have noticed, the average shopping trip in our particular store takes around 30 minutes to a full hour. If you come in as we close, unless you literally know what you are getting and want just that one item, we just don’t have time for you. The store isn’t open “until you are done shopping,” no, it’s open until closing time, in which case it’s over, done, buy what you want now so we can go home. We have lives we want to get back to as well.
In a funny twist that same night, another family who was already shopping decided to take all the time they could before they finally left. Really, all of 5 minutes, but that extra 5 minutes, which was already 10 minutes after we had closed, irked some of my co workers. After the situation the manager and I had had 15 minutes earlier though, we could do nothing but smile and laugh. This couple was nice, and while normally blatantly staying around would bug me, in this case, I just smiled, let them out of the store, told them to be safe and have a good night, then locked the doors and went on about my job not giving it a second thought.
That first woman, though, that was something else.
Incidentally, I found a video from YouTube user Domics which talks quite well about this subject on a whole. Enjoy!