DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are newly married and have been working for a large, well-known retail store for several years.
When a store posts its hours on the front door, there is no excuse for a customer to waltz in three minutes before closing time and expect to shop the entire store. Even if no hours are posted, one can assume that the doors will be closing at 9 p.m. This is standard for retail stores. (Holidays and weekends may vary.)
Almost every night people stroll in three to five minutes before closing time. We will approach them and ask, "Is there anything I can help you find?" Invariably they say, "No, thanks. I'm just looking." (On rare occasions, a considerate customer will say, "Oh, thank you, I'll come back tomorrow.") Thirty minutes after we have locked the doors and are waiting to close the registers, these "lookie-loos" stroll out, without so much as a thank-you or apology.
How I wish I could say, "You may have nothing to do and nowhere to go, but most of us clerks have families waiting for us at home, sometimes a hot dinner cooling on the table, or a child waiting for a goodnight kiss. We're tired and want to get out of the store. Please give us a break." -- ANONYMOUS, NATURALLY
DEAR ANONYMOUS: Some stores have public address systems over which they announce that the store will be closing in 15 minutes, and it's the policy in others to flash the overhead lights to signal closing time. In others, clerks are allowed to approach the late customer and say, "We are closing in three minutes. May I help you find something?"
Discuss closing policies with your manager to determine if one of these practices can be instituted in your store.