The Ross Rant

I love shopping at Ross, I really do.  I’m a bargain hunter, and Ross is right up my alley when it comes to finding any number of tchotchkes that both strike my fancy and fit my budget.  Not to mention that the bargain hunt itself is great fun…and even more so with a shopping  soulmate.


(and herewith begins the rant)

They regularly have lousy customer service.  An example from today:  I was at Ross killing a bit of time before picking up the small child from school.  In line with plenty of time to spare, third in a line of five, three registers occupied with customers and the other five registers (yes, you guessed it) empty. Manager-type finishes with her customer (and it is at this point I notice her “this register is closed” sign), and leaves the front to do..something…elsewhere.  Down to two registers.  Employee signs in for work, informs approaching customer that she is not on a register, then goes behind the customer service counter to do…something.  Manager requests that she follow to do…well…whatever was so critical that register must be closed when there is a line.  Second cashier (finally) finishes lengthy transaction with elderly woman, and walks away from her register with returns.  Stowing them in the proper bin, she comes back to the customer service counter to do…you guessed it…something OTHER than checking out customers.  Does she inform customers that she is no longer available?  No.  Does she direct customers to another (now open) register, because….

D’oh!  Manager notices and sends the employee who is assisting her back to a register, opting instead for the Loss Prevention employee (wannabe “security” guard) to help.

Why no, she does not.

Does she do anything critical, anything requiring attention at that precise moment?  Well, no.  She is standing behind the customer service counter tagging new merchandise, while we are somewhat now (im)patiently waiting in line.  Thankfully by this time I am next (yay!).  There has been some muttering under the breath about lines, scant register help, no instruction about what to do if one has returns, etc. etc. etc.

This is not the first time, and likely will not be the last, that customer service at Ross stores is lacking.  Back a couple of years ago I was standing in line (familiar place for me…it’s Ross, after all), listening as a woman in front of me requested to speak to the manager regarding the pricing of two identical rugs.  One was regularly priced, and one had been marked down.  The manager…barely out of high school by the looks of him…indicated to the woman that they were priced differently because of the date when they entered the store.  She wanted to buy both at the sale price.  He refused to mark down the second rug, and opted instead to lose an entire sale since she left without purchasing either.  Had I been in that customer’s shoes, I would have done the same thing.

This is not the first time I have encountered this scenario.  It may be their corporate policy, but it is stupid, and it is stupid because it causes them to lose sales.  I have shopped at many a retail facility that readily & willingly adjusts the price in order to make the sale.  Only a handful that refuse to do so.  This should be manager discretion…every time.  But it is clear from my own and others’ experiences that managers have no really decision making authority.

I’ll say it again…it’s a stupid policy.

I suppose this all brings me to the point of saying that it is a sad state of affairs when we as customers grow to expect subpar service because we are shopping at a discount retailer.  That should not make one iota of difference, but it almost invariably does.  It’s sad, really, because clearly customer service standards have been lowered to the point that it is (apparently) not expected from front line employees.  Have to say that this makes customers (like me) want to start ranting about Ross, wailing about Walmart, kvetching about KMart, mumbling about Marshalls, throwing tantrums about thrift stores, talking turkey about TJ Maxx, decrying Dollar Tree…

Well, you get the drift.

And it’s not always that bad.  But I think a bullet list is in order for some brief, easy-to-understand customer service guidelines.

  1. Smile & speak to the customers at your register.  Every time.
  2. If you’re on the floor, do not have a yelling conversation…in Spanish…with another floor employee.
  3. If you’re the manager, make the decision that will retain your customer, not lose the sale.
  4. If there is a line, for God’s sake, open another register!
  5. Perhaps taking your scheduled break when there is a line and when there is no one to relieve you is a bad decision.  BAD!
  6. If you are a cashier, and there is a line, don’t stand around behind the customer service counter picking your butt…er…tagging merchandise.  If you are not bleeding or dying, get on a register and render some acceptable customer service.
  7. If you’re incapable of treating your customers like you are happy they are bringing business to your store, perhaps you should find another line of work.
  8. If you’re a manager with lousy employees, fire their asses and hire new ones.  They’re pissing people off.
  9. Dress neatly.  Just because you work at a discount retailer doesn’t mean you need to be a slob.  That’s just nasty…and someone should fire your ass for being so lazy.
  10. Last, but DEFINITELY not least, keep your bathrooms clean enough to put your bottom on the potty when you have to go.  If it stinks, Febreze is your friend.  If it’s trashy, get a broom already.  And if there’s a poop stain??  Really?  Do I even need to explain??

One More Thing:  If you have any (ANY) input into where the toilet paper dispensers go, please (PLEASE) stop putting them in a place that requires normal people to twist into a pretzel to access the tp.  Really…would it hurt to put a bottom feed toilet paper dispenser high enough on the wall so that 1) I don’t have to reach down to my ankles to get paper, and 2) I don’t have to do a special dance to keep it from touching the (skanky) floor?  Food for thought.

My (free) Public Service Announcement, if you will, for those employed at discount retailers.  Listen up!!

And thank you!

I (still) love shopping at your stores.


(rant over) 

4 thoughts on “The Ross Rant

  1. MY biggest rant with all the discount stores is their lack of organization. Have you ever tried to shop for a bra in any of those places? They are not in any kind of order, so if you’re looking for a 36B, you’re going to have to look at the size of every single bra until you find one.

    Second most irritation…in the furniture section, they may have a cute end table, or a cute stool. A. Singular. One. As is not a matched set. Which requires buying it and going to another Ross, where they usually have the match. If they don’t, that means standing in line to return it, unless you want to go to ALL of the Ross’ in town (I think we have five here). WHY oh WHY oh WHY can they not just stock the darn things in pairs????

    • Another excellent gripe. I have been known to do that, although when I lived in TN there was only one Ross and if they didn’t have it, you were out of luck. I’ve hit 3-4 that are relatively close here, but there again…you just never know.

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