another shopping debate - messing up shelves

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fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955
another shopping debate - messing up shelves

My DH just started a new job at a big retailer. He spends a huge amount of time on his shifts cleaning up after the customers. Those who take apart boxes and don't put them back together. Those who leave unwanted items in odd places. He said he watched one couple go through the drapes isle and open a box for every colour to see if they were the right size (even though it is marked on the box) and then just leave them. They opened about 12 boxes and then took a fresh one to actually purchase. He had to go and put the isle back together after them. Within an hour it was trashed again.

So, is it acceptable to open boxes in a store and just leave the merchandise unpacked on the shelf? Is it acceptable to do that and then take an unopened box to purchase? Does it matter that it is a big retailer like walmart, zellers or target? Is it just part of the employees job in these store to clean up after the customers?

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1722

Yes, it is part of the employees' job to clean up, straighten, fold clothes, etc. when customers leave the store in disarray. I will not shop at certain stores because it is obvious that they don't bother to do this. Stores that are clean, organized, and the shelves maintained, make it easy to find what you need and a lot of other extras that you don't need.

That said, customers shouldn't be slobs. It's not that hard to keep the stuff you look at somewhat nice. No, I can't fold shirts like the Gap, but that doesn't mean I can just toss them on the floor.

I will admit to opening boxes (not clam shells or sealed like light bulbs or pens) to make sure it's what I want. It's better for both the store and me if I do this in the store than take it home and end up returning it.

As for the opening everything and then taking a new one: There was a Reader's Digest funny where a lady had the employee at customer service open the package for her, go through everything to make sure nothing was missing, then proceeded to get an unopened one. She said, "I don't want that one - it's been opened." Duh!

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

Of course it is not ok to leave a mess or open a ton of boxes and just leave them. I do think however if the store is not set up with floor models of the items it should be acceptable to open a box and look at the product you will be purchasing. Usually though if it is an acceptable item I will take the one I opened.

RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Yes, it is part of the employees' job to clean up, straighten, fold clothes, etc. when customers leave the store in disarray. I will not shop at certain stores because it is obvious that they don't bother to do this. Stores that are clean, organized, and the shelves maintained, make it easy to find what you need and a lot of other extras that you don't need.

That said, customers shouldn't be slobs. It's not that hard to keep the stuff you look at somewhat nice. No, I can't fold shirts like the Gap, but that doesn't mean I can just toss them on the floor.

I will admit to opening boxes (not clam shells or sealed like light bulbs or pens) to make sure it's what I want. It's better for both the store and me if I do this in the store than take it home and end up returning it.

As for the opening everything and then taking a new one: There was a Reader's Digest funny where a lady had the employee at customer service open the package for her, go through everything to make sure nothing was missing, then proceeded to get an unopened one. She said, "I don't want that one - it's been opened." Duh!

I agree with this. I, too, open boxes or packages to make sure everything is there or it is the color that I want. Sometimes the color on the isn't true of the actual product. I do put everything back to the way it was prior to leaving the shelf. But I do think it is part of the associates job to straighten the shelves and put product back in the proper place. That is why most associates are hired, to make sure the store is clean and well presented for customers.

fudd8963's picture
Joined: 12/27/07
Posts: 1630

"RebeccaA'07" wrote:

I agree with this. I, too, open boxes or packages to make sure everything is there or it is the color that I want. Sometimes the color on the isn't true of the actual product. I do put everything back to the way it was prior to leaving the shelf. But I do think it is part of the associates job to straighten the shelves and put product back in the proper place. That is why most associates are hired, to make sure the store is clean and well presented for customers.

I agree. If I do open something to make sure it is right, I will take that box.

I also have stores that I won't shop at that have great deals because they are too messy. It makes me nervous and I'm too impatient.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

I always thought it was acceptable. Until I heard some of what the employees deal with! Isles full of open drapes. All the boxes of dishes opened and not repacked and just left strewn around. The employees have little time to actually help customers because they are so busy fixing the shelves. And then the customers complain (I know cause I was one of them) that there are never any associates to help. It seems like a vicious circle!

Now I feel that to open all the boxes, leave a mess and then take a clean box is incredible rude! I think it is one thing to open the box and then put it back neatly. Or to open the box and then buy that item. But I don't feel it is the associates job to clean up after slobbish customers.

And I do think that the fact that it is a big retailer seems to matter. If I was in a spendy store (say a crystal and china store) I wouldn't dream of opening all of the boxes and leaving a mess. They would ask me to leave! But because it is walmart, zellers or target it is ok?

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

"fuchsiasky" wrote:

I always thought it was acceptable. Until I heard some of what the employees deal with! Isles full of open drapes. All the boxes of dishes opened and not repacked and just left strewn around. The employees have little time to actually help customers because they are so busy fixing the shelves. And then the customers complain (I know cause I was one of them) that there are never any associates to help. It seems like a vicious circle!

Now I feel that to open all the boxes, leave a mess and then take a clean box is incredible rude! I think it is one thing to open the box and then put it back neatly. Or to open the box and then buy that item. But I don't feel it is the associates job to clean up after slobbish customers.

And I do think that the fact that it is a big retailer seems to matter. If I was in a spendy store (say a crystal and china store) I wouldn't dream of opening all of the boxes and leaving a mess. They would ask me to leave! But because it is walmart, zellers or target it is ok?

I agree with you. My DH works for a big retailer as well so I also hear the other side, making me even more aware of this. But I'm not one to just open boxes and leave them opened with the mdse hanging out, either because it is rude. I also would not open packages that are more complex than just lifting the lid to peek in. I wouldn't buy a product that looks like it's been handled by others. When DH vents about how sloppy some customers are, how it slows down the team he manages, & how late they get out after closing, I just remind him of job retention. It's still their job to clean up after them.

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

I think it is like shopping carts, and some people are just overly lazy and rude with the mess that they leave. I think all shoppers should pick up after themselves and leave the merchandise like they found it....

That said, if the employees have to stay late or can't keep up with the mess, then the store should hire more associates.

I opt not to shop in places where there is always a mess--but I realize this is a luxury and I pay for it.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"boilermaker" wrote:

I think it is like shopping carts, and some people are just overly lazy and rude with the mess that they leave. I think all shoppers should pick up after themselves and leave the merchandise like they found it....

That said, if the employees have to stay late or can't keep up with the mess, then the store should hire more associates.

I opt not to shop in places where there is always a mess--but I realize this is a luxury and I pay for it.

This is what I was thinking.

And I will say that it is rude to just leave stuff out willy nilly, but sometimes it is nearly impossible to put things back exactly as they were. For example, if you unfold a shirt on a display of shirts. I used to have a job that required me to fold shirts all day long at a prominent department store, so I should be good at it, but now when I am shopping at a store I still can't fold shirts back exactly the way they were. Why? They were folded on a folding board, and as a shopper, I don't have one of those handy to make them look perfect. I also find that sometimes when things are folded up or arranged just so, so that they just fit in a box, it is often difficult to get them back in once they are out. So I wouldn't just wad up a shirt or a box full of drapes and throw them on the floor and stomp on them, but I may not be able to get it back exactly as it was.

b525's picture
Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 298

Some people are hogs. That's all there is to it. It's selfishness, plain and simple, for people to leave messes everywhere and drop things off wherever they feel like it. It is especially irritating when it's a perishable food item left in the clothing department.

I agree with most things that have been said so far. I wouldn't open a package that is difficult to open. I would try to put things back somewhat neatly, but know that I can't always get it back just so. I fold shirts that I look at in some semblance of order, but I don't try to make it perfect. If it's already a disaster area when I get to the display, I don't make it look worse but I certainly don't try to make it look better. If I open a package and it's what I want, I would buy that package.

I think, too, that maybe stores where people are getting out of work so late and/or can't provide adequate customer service maybe need to hire more workers.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Yes, it is part of the employees' job to clean up, straighten, fold clothes, etc. when customers leave the store in disarray. I will not shop at certain stores because it is obvious that they don't bother to do this. Stores that are clean, organized, and the shelves maintained, make it easy to find what you need and a lot of other extras that you don't need.

That said, customers shouldn't be slobs. It's not that hard to keep the stuff you look at somewhat nice. No, I can't fold shirts like the Gap, but that doesn't mean I can just toss them on the floor.

I will admit to opening boxes (not clam shells or sealed like light bulbs or pens) to make sure it's what I want. It's better for both the store and me if I do this in the store than take it home and end up returning it.

As for the opening everything and then taking a new one: There was a Reader's Digest funny where a lady had the employee at customer service open the package for her, go through everything to make sure nothing was missing, then proceeded to get an unopened one. She said, "I don't want that one - it's been opened." Duh!

exactly what I would have said.

ps that's funny!

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

DH's department had another one last night. A couple opened a bar fridge that was in a sealed box - including cutting the bands off - and then took a fresh box. They associate tracked them down and made them take the one that they opened as they had actually made it so it couldn't be resold. They offered to re-wrap it but the couple said that they wanted one with bands to carry it! They were told that they had to take the one they damaged. There is a line between opening a package and making a product unsellable! Sigh. I think I will be hearing a lot more of these stories.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

I think that might be the difference. Opening something and damaging it is more than just be discourteous. The example was like going to the grocery store and taking a bite out of an apple, putting it back and buying a fresh one because you wanted to try it out first. Well, now the store can't resell the other apple.

I think that it is still their job to take care of all the customers. It is the choice of the company to establish their rules. If the company has a customer is always right philosophy, the staff should too. If the company has rules, the staff should enforce those.

People do crazy stuff. I could tell you story after story too.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4104

I was at Trader Joe's yesterday and there was one little girl who was just making messes everywhere. It seemed quite intentional, just taking things off the shelf & putting them back an aisle down, "bumping" into the pasta so they'd fall onto the floor & walking away. Her mom she saw a few times what was happening & didn't seem to care. That girl is one of the people your DH is going to be dealing with as a shopper in a few years, because of a lazy parent who won't discipline her child! Sad At the checkstand, they were in front of me, and that little girl started rearranging all the chocolate bars. I told her she needed to put them back the way they were. :eek: The girl asked me why, and I said it was disrespectful of the workers to have to clean up after her, and of the other shoppers who couldn't find what they want. She did it, and I thanked her. Wish I could have made her pick up that pile of pasta, though.

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

I don't think it's acceptable at all to make a mess of any store, and I don't take things out of packaging... that's what returns are for. I do, however, think that it's the responsibility of the employees to clean up after their customers. Does it suck? Absolutely... but it's part of the job. I worked in retial for years and always hoped that the customers would do their best not to make a mess, but it comes with the territory.

natesangel's picture
Joined: 07/26/08
Posts: 1419

So, is it acceptable to open boxes in a store and just leave the merchandise unpacked on the shelf? Is it acceptable to do that and then take an unopened box to purchase? Does it matter that it is a big retailer like walmart, zellers or target? Is it just part of the employees job in these store to clean up after the customers?

extremely rude first off, it seems fewer and fewer ppl are raised with the concept of 'if it's not yours don't touch' that goes for shopping too, if you are not going to buy it, why open it? i worked retail for many years and this was always my biggest beef. now if i want to see something opened i find an associate and get them to do it, that way they know, i know and they can deal with it immediately. WAY not cool to do that then take the unopened one. it does seem that it only happens at the big stores but it happens at the little ones too just not as often.

it is my opinion that if you are shopping for something that you are unsure of, ask for help, as an ex retail associate i much preferred to have a customer ask me 'can you help me look at these curtains/towels/etc' than to come into the isle later and find the mess. when they asked i knew exactly what went where, what extent it had been handled and exactly how it came out of the box, it took less time to do this than to clean up later.