I’ve just discovered the wonderful world of couponing. The other day when I went to Target (the same experience that had the quesadilla), I spent $160, but got 5% off because I used my RedCard and then got a $10 gift card because I spent more than $50. (I’m a little upset that the next day I received a coupon for $15 when you spend $75, but life goes on.)
As a former retailer, and a current restaurant worker, allow me to discuss with you things not to do during this Holiday season. Actually, allow me to discuss with you things never to do to your retailer, and some things to remember about them as well.
1) This is not a free therapy session.
When a worker asks, “How are you doing?” let me tell you something — they don’t give a $#!t. They’re only asking because if they don’t, they get in trouble. If you’re one of the stupid secret shoppers sent in from the Corporate jerks who sit on their money and laugh as their slaves suffer, you will ding them if they don’t ask how the customer is.
But regardless of all of that, this is not an invitation to start spilling your life away. Therapists get paid a lot of money to sit there and listen to you cry, smile and nod, ask you how it makes you feel, and work with you to bring forth a better you. Go to them. Retailers aren’t paid even 1/100th that a therapist is getting paid. Therapists get more in a day than retailers get in a month. So when they ask you how you’re doing, here’s one of the most commonly told lies: “I’m fine.” Try it out next time and save the poor retailer from having to listen to your inane babble.
I used to work at Borders, so I suppose now I’m allowed to speak openly about how much I hate it. The customers there — man. We had nicknames for them. Such nicknames included, but are not limited to: WTF, The Diddler, Trach, C*cksucker (she walked around saying this to herself, what else were we supposed to name her?), Schizo Bitch, and many, many, many more. WTF was the worst at abusing the free therapy session. She would come in, ask for a large hot water and 8 butters, then head to the condiment bar and grab half and half and honey and that was her drink.
I never heard so many personalized problems as I did with her. But I wasn’t getting paid enough to listen to them.
Ever wonder why all the people who work in retail hate their life? This is an option to consider.
2) Don’t abuse coupons.
This works for restaurants, too. I understand the allure of coupons. Trust me, I just discovered them the other day. (Obviously I knew what they were, I
mean I just attempted my own couponing adventure, and it was exciting.) You have 100 coupons? Perfect. They can all be used together? Perfect.
What’s not perfect?
Trying to abuse the coupons when you know what you can do with them. Take this coupon on the right, for example. That huuuuge paragraph of smaller writing? Everybody knows what it is. It’s called “the fine print.” You avoid it because you know it’s going to tell you things you don’t want to hear, and it’s human nature to want what you can’t have. Allow me to highlight a couple of useful points in this coupon that will save your retailer from wanting to stab you. “Limit one item or offer per coupon.” “No cash value.” “Coupon may not be combined with other promotional codes or applied to previous orders.”
“What does this mean?” you coupon abusers may ask.
That means, of the three coupons you see, you pick one. That’s it. Don’t send your best friend through to get you the next one. Or your wife. Or the bum you promise a 30 pack to. Just. Pick. One.
Also, if you get the coupon online, make sure you check to see if there’s any fine print to make sure it lets you know if you’re allowed to use it in the store. Because nothing is more annoying to a poor, defenseless retailer who tries to explain to you there’s nothing they can do if the coupon isn’t valid for in-store.
This applies to restaurant coupons as well. I used to work at Chili’s, so I think I’m also allowed to freely discuss my job there. I’m not about to talk badly about the company, so if you’re a corporate Nazi scanning the web for potential law suits just calm down for a second. I’m merely going to discuss the inadequacies of the human brain when it comes to couponing.
Let’s take a look at this coupon, shall we? Right there, in really big red letters before you even get to the fine print, is the word “OR.” They’ve even capitalized both letters for your convenience. You get an APPETIZER OR A DESSERT.
You pick one.
Now, the fine print on this entire coupon is worth quoting, so I will be kind and put it all in here, for you, in bold and italics, so perhaps you will understand:
Offer valid only at participating Chili’s locations within the United States. Offer not valid in Puerto Rico. Purchase of one or more entrees required. Free appetizer excludes Triple Dipper. Not valid with any other discounts or special offers. Limit one per table. Multiple coupons cannot be combined. Limit one redemption per coupon code. Excludes tax and gratuity.
I highlight the word “gratuity” because I would like to add a side note: Servers don’t get paid without your tips. Don’t act like you don’t know that. An 80 hour check will be probably about $100. If you worked 80 hours and only made $100, you’d be pissed. You tip off of the original check, not the discounted one because you’re cheap. Yes, servers do work for tips because we need to make money somehow. Yes they tax the crap out of our tips. No we don’t get holiday pay. And no, at this time of the year you are not excused from tipping because you’re busy giving gifts and you feel like you can treat yourself. A tip is still a gift. You can’t afford it, stay home. And whatever you do, never do the “Verbal tip.”
“Oh, you’re such a great server!”
“Oh, thank you!”
I can’t go to my landlord and be like, “I provided such good service to everybody! Can I just be a bit late on rent this month? Thanks!”
Kind words (while appreciated) don’t pay the bills. $$
As you can see, this coupon means you choose one. You can’t do a split check and each apply the coupon to get an appetizer and a dessert. One per table. Stop trying to abuse everything.
And if you get away with it, refer back to my tipping guide.
3) Don’t treat them like they’re beneath you.
You are not better than the retailer. Or the server. Or the anyone, really. It doesn’t matter how much money you make. It doesn’t matter how much your friends love you, or how much your family loves you, or how successful you are.
If you were born rich, you’re pathetic. (If you treat people like you’re better than them, I mean. Not everyone who was born into money is a d-bag.)
If you worked your way to being rich, you should know better.
The economy sucks and people need to take what they have, and just because they work the job they need to in order to pay the bills does not make it either their choice or their life goal.
I think the following video can apply perfectly to this situation.
4) Don’t take your anger out on them.
This refers also to not using them as your therapist. If you’re having a bad day or someone has pissed you off — that’s your issue. Because you’re probably not the first a**hole who’s come in and treated the retailer (or server, or anyone else for that matter) like they’re beneath you.
Rewatch that video if you’re one of these people.
5) Don’t blame them for things they can’t control.
This is a sum up of basically everything.
Remember the corporate has rules.
Don’t get mad if they can’t make the coupon work.
Don’t get mad if they’re busy.
Don’t get mad if you have 700,000 items to buy and they can’t ring it up in less than 30 seconds.
And most importantly, if they’re with someone else, don’t interrupt them.
Also, keep your hands to yourself. You don’t need to get physical to get someone’s attention.
Replay that video. I can’t top a better way to end this.
This is a bit off topic, but real talk — anyone who self-hosts their WordPress site (specifically through BlueHost, but I’ll take whatever) — contact me. I need help. Haha.