Things corporations make their employees do because they thing customers like it (hint: we don’t)
1) Verbally greeting every person who enters the store. I swear to God, the poor cashier at my local Dollar General is going to lose her voice. She probably has nightmares that include “Welcome to Dollar General!”
2) Force them to wear uniforms. All it takes for me to identify an employee is a name badge, or maybe a vest or something. That’s it. My retail purchasing brain will not crumble into righteous offense if your employee isn’t shoved into a hot, uncomfortable poly/cotton polo and gut-cinching khaki pants. There is nothing about that ensemble that creates a “professional work atmosphere.” It’s Wal-mart, buddy. No one is looking for a professional work atmosphere at the place they go to buy toilet paper.
3) Forcing restaurant employees to take their meals in “the break room”, even when they buy the food from the restaurant they work in. If I see staff eating at one of the open restaurant tables in the corner, you know what I think? Nothing. They’re people eating, just like everyone else in there.
They say expectations can create behavior, so maybe we should step back and wonder if the monster-customer isn’t a creation of the corporate world assuming every customer is a monster and catering to it.
I’d like to add:
4) Banning employees from having a water bottle even when they’re stuck at a till or booth and cannot leave to get a drink. If it’s under the counter, I don’t see it (and it’s already a mess under counters as it is, putting a water bottle into that chaos won’t do anything). And if someone takes a drink from one, I don’t even register it because staying hydrated should be seen as normal.
5) Forcing employees to apologize for anything and everything, from stock issues to not carrying items to customers breaking shit. Demanding this from employees just strengthens the idea that retail workers are lesser beings who are never allowed to say no or call out assholes while making customers feel like they’re superior and can do no wrong.
6) Banning employees from talking to each other. As long as they’re aware of things and can drop it to help a customer, what’s the big deal? It’s a way better experience to walk into a place and see the employees talking and laughing than into a place that’s silent outside of the radio where the employees’ eyes are glazed over because they aren’t allowed to have a human connection while on the clock.
7) Forcing employees to stand for their entire shift, even banning leaning against the counter, even when there are no customers. There is nothing unprofessional about sitting.
8) Forcing employees to SIT for their entire shift. (Mainly in call center work I’ve found). Sitting in the same uncomfortable position at the computer for hours on end is not good for anyone, there is no reason why employees shouldn’t be able to stand up and stretch. We’re not toddlers, someone standing to stretch isn’t going to disrupt the entire call center for goodness sakes.
i firmly believe that “customers like it” is just a thinly veiled excuse for american corporations’ exerting this level of control over workers. I’m absolutely certain that a no-talking-to-fellow-workers rule is a calculated attempt to prevent workers from unionizing—i believe that it was common in factories 100 years ago to have such a rule, specifically to make worker uprisings more difficult.