Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Some customers trash cards

Mark Fletcher
November 28th, 2013 · 17 Comments

card-damageI got a severe tongue-lashing from a customer last weekend in response to a request that they take more care when browsing our greeting card range. This lady, in her eighties I am guessing, was quickly and aggressively pulling down on cards –  further than the example I have in the photo I took after. She wasn’t reading them.  She damaged three of our cards in what appeared to be a time-passing random act.

My approach was gentle, could you please not fold the cards forward like you are as it’s damaging them. I pulled a card out and showed here. I’ll do what I like sonny was the response delivered with a finger stabbing at my face. She pulled down a couple more while glaring at me and then left. I felt like sending her to the corner for some time out. She behaved like a brat.

What’s odd is that I don’t think she was looking to buy a card. It looked to me like she was folding the cards down because she could, like it was a game.

While this situation is not uncommon, we see it more at Christmas-time when all sets of crazy behaviour is on show.


Category: Greeting Cards

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Trent // Nov 28, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    I agree, Mark. This is not uncommon, they damaged our stock because they could. 2 weeks ago, a lady (around 40 year-old) browsed our calendars and changed theirs slot, messed the whole categories up. I tried to offer help in a nice manner and she said she was looking and left. We do not need these customers


  • 2 shauns // Nov 28, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    Also love it when they walk past the cards with their hand out knocking them all over


  • 3 michelle // Nov 28, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Having only been a retailer for just on a year I have to say this behaviour does not come as a surprise …… any more! I still find it hard to believe the disrespectful behaviour exhibited by the public to my stock, my staff and myself. I have given this much thought and I am sure no matter how bad my day was I never ever took it out on some unsuspecting shopkeeper or their stock. Uncontrolled children (and I do not just mean the ones under 18 years) should be muzzled and put on choker chains. Parents need to be made to tidy and clean up after their little darlings have trashed the shop. Apparently its good fun making spinner stands spin VERY VERY fast so the cards fall out. Not as much fun as pulling magazine piles off the stands onto the floor, throwing cards on the floor is also good. Opening bags, crushing gift boxes it is endless ….. not to mention the joy of having the little sh–s touch everything with sugar and jam on their hands. Then there is the theft thing. Oh and while I am ranting lets not forget the joys of customers telling you how you will run your business/ accounting system to accommodate them. Those that push infront of/ talk over others (obviously they believe they are more important) and then let us not forget the abusers those that find it necessary to tell you how bad/greedy/hopeless you are because you have run out of stock of an item/ don’t stock an item/ charge more than officeworks for an item. Etc… etc… etc… OK rant definitely over now. Truth be told these only reflect about 1% of people I deal with on a daily basis yet they are so memorable! Its the 99% of decent NORMAL even nice people that you have to focus on.


  • 4 shauns // Nov 28, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Michelle- well said
    and you only need that 1% to really stuff your whole day up


  • 5 jessie // Nov 28, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    I agree, Michelle.
    The sad thing is is that it not a rant, it is fact. I was only discussing yesterday with one of my staff that I think it should be compulsory for all school stunts in year 9 to spend at least 2 weeks working in customer service, in a small business, so that hopefully as they get older they remember what it is like to be on the other side of the counter


  • 6 carol // Nov 28, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    With arthritis it is often difficult for the elderly to handle things and they become embarrassed if spoken to as you did. I have developed a number of tactful ways of handling kids behaviour in the shop. Mostly successfully. I want as many customers in my shop as I can get . I won’t say I haven’t lost it with one or two very rude customers but its is rare.


  • 7 Mark Fletcher // Nov 28, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    People who yank cards for whatever reason know they are damaging property. This lady did not have arthritis. I know because I have family members with it. She was wilfully damaging. I was not rude.


  • 8 Brett // Nov 28, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    It could be worse.

    Local Post Office experienced a mum, her boy needed the toilet so she lowered his pants and got him to pee into the lowest tier of their gift stand.

    Just saying …..


  • 9 June // Nov 28, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Come on Mark – I bet you were a little bit rude – just joking!!!!!!!!!
    I had a lady break 2 x whitehill (expensive)
    photo frames this morning and 1 of a pair
    of silver candlesticks. She never apologized and never offered to pay (I wouldn’t take the money but I would have appreciated the offer).
    The candlesticks were $39.95 pair so I have repriced the remaining sets at $29.95
    EACH STICK so that I can get the money back that was lost.
    That’s our only avenue apart from risking the people never returning to our shops.


  • 10 Mark Fletcher // Nov 28, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    June I’d take the money for any significant breakage.


  • 11 BrettS // Nov 28, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    If they break it they pay.
    If they dont offer I ask.
    If still no you are no longer welcomed here.


  • 12 Steve // Nov 28, 2013 at 4:37 PM


    If a customer comes in,smash’s up expensive stock and leaves without apologizing or paying,why would you ever wont them back?


  • 13 Jarryd Moore // Nov 28, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    We have an unwritten rule here. If a customer offers to pay for any accidental damage (that was not a result of them being deliberately and willfully negligent) we tell them not to worry about it.

    If they don’t offer to pay, we ask them to.


  • 14 jenny // Nov 28, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    This lady may have mental health issues.
    Not excusing what she did, this was just my first thought when I read this today.

    My customer gripe is mothers sending their children (and sometimes husbands) to the newsagency while they do their shopping, have a coffee, get their hair done and so on, to have a read.

    When I ask where is Mum the child tells me and says ”its ok she knows I’m here”.
    Can I charge for babysitting/entertaining?


  • 15 David @ Angle Vale Newsagency // Nov 28, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    I’ll ask for payment for deliberate damage, but not for genuine accidents.

    Jenny, any child left unattended in my shop is given an espresso and a kitten. 🙂


  • 16 Angelo // Nov 29, 2013 at 6:00 AM

    I think you were right to say something Mark and no, I don’t think you were being unreasonable or rude. It’s simply disrespect for property and should be pointed out.
    Being in a tourist town we get tour buses of kids that head straight to the porn section and the humour/musical section of the greeting cards and proceed to test and read ever card they can put their hands on. Aside from the mess of cleaning them up it’s the greasy sugary finger marks all over the cards with not a sale in sight.
    Very rarely if ever do I get a sale out of the above.
    The worst adults seem to do is get envelopes from other cards because they don’t like the one that’s behind the card and sometimes they souvenir an extra envelope or two. Come with the territory in my view.


  • 17 Shelley // Nov 29, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Had a customer complain to my husband about the rude lady (me) over at the other newsagency. She said I was too busy talking about my weekend to serve her. I was actually making conversation with a customer who was buying $130 worth of giftware. Cranking customer was wanting to cash scratchies. I know who I would prefer to serve. As for dealing with narky customers, try going from policing to retail – I have very low tolerance of people and I trust no one. Had a lot of adjusting to do but on the other hand, I don’t take crap from anyone.


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