"I'm sorry, I'm off the clock"

Joined
Sep 3, 2011
Messages
60
#1
Normally when someone bothers you in your red shirt and khaki's, the Best Practice script to respond with "I am sorry, but I am currently not working (on break, off the clock, etc)" and proceed to do one of the following: Direct them to an area with an available TM, or point them in the direction (but nothing else) of their goal. There are some murky attachments to this, and it gets a bit sticky, but generally this is how my store ends up handling it.

My issue is that, recently, an ever increasing number of customers have been reacting with extreme vocal hostility when I simply state "I cannot help you do X as I am not on the clock". They are, quite literally and earnestly, expecting me to use my free time to help them "because I work here". Due to the fact I could get fired if I started yelling and screaming at this Guest for his/her stupidity, I end up walking away. However, if ONE MORE person snaps at me for the very simple fact I don't want to deal with idiots while not getting paid, I may decide to risk an exception to this policy.

How does it make you feel when customers expect you to serve them as an unpaid slave? I sure as hell find it offensive. Also, thus far, all customers that have done this have been black female immigrants from what sound like western parts of Africa (I believe I can determine this due to the high amount of immigrants from that region in my area). Is there some cultural reason they're this way?
 
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#2
Sometimes when im going to deli to get some food for break, a guest will stop me. If im on my paid break I'll usually just help them if I can, and take an extra minute on break. If its my Meal though, I usually just say that I am currently punched out on lunch, and direct them to someone else (hopefully).

I think if you are just polite with them the first time they ask, its not a big deal if they snap on you :) Just walk away. If you get called out on it, tell your TL that you politely said that you were on break, and that they rudely persisted so you walked away.
 
Joined
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#3
I find that it's sometimes just quicker to show them where the item is than to find an "available team member". Like Imerzan said, if I'm on break, I usually just add a minute or two to my break and if I'm on lunch, I'll punch back in and THEN go to the bathroom/put my purse away/refill my drink/whatever instead of doing it before.
 

redeye58

Hasta Ba Rista, Baby!
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#5
It's not a cultural thing as many white, older women will get indignant when I smile & tell them I'm "off the clock" while directing them to another TM.
One lady was really rude, saying "Oh, well I wouldn't want to BOTHER you when you're not WORKING." I said, "Yeh, I could get FIRED & it's just not worth it."
 

mrknownothing

purveyor of things
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#6
If I'm on my lunch and I'm getting food from market, guests sometimes stop me to ask me a question. I try to explain that I'm off the clock, but I offer to point them in the right direction as best as I can (I'm only a cashier, so I may not always know the answer anyways).

The three things guests ignore the most are: 1. whether or not a TM is wearing a nametag (no nametag = on break/lunch/not even working), 2. whether or not a lane light is on (come on people - my lane is obviously closed if my light is off), and 3. price tags/signs.
 
OP
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D
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#7
See, I usually am very helpful. I try to fulfill the "fast fun and friendly" philosophy, as part of Best Practice and keeping my scores up. Twice thus far it has happened while i was shopping after work, and it's like a wonderful below the belt punch after a long day. I routinely work 8 to 10 hour shifts due to various issues at my store, and when I get off I get a marvelous attitude from said Guests that remind me how thankless the job is.

Honestly, is there any way TO deal with it other than just walking away? Because I am finding walking away to be horribly unsatisfying.
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2011
Messages
128
#8
Normally when someone bothers you in your red shirt and khaki's, the Best Practice script to respond with "I am sorry, but I am currently not working (on break, off the clock, etc)" and proceed to do one of the following: Direct them to an area with an available TM, or point them in the direction (but nothing else) of their goal. There are some murky attachments to this, and it gets a bit sticky, but generally this is how my store ends up handling it.

My issue is that, recently, an ever increasing number of customers have been reacting with extreme vocal hostility when I simply state "I cannot help you do X as I am not on the clock". They are, quite literally and earnestly, expecting me to use my free time to help them "because I work here". Due to the fact I could get fired if I started yelling and screaming at this Guest for his/her stupidity, I end up walking away. However, if ONE MORE person snaps at me for the very simple fact I don't want to deal with idiots while not getting paid, I may decide to risk an exception to this policy.

How does it make you feel when customers expect you to serve them as an unpaid slave? I sure as hell find it offensive. Also, thus far, all customers that have done this have been black female immigrants from what sound like western parts of Africa (I believe I can determine this due to the high amount of immigrants from that region in my area). Is there some cultural reason they're this way?
I don't even work for Target anymore, but when I go in to shop (rarely these days) I have guests being rude and demanding for me to help them. Luckily for me I can handle it the way I've always wanted to and tell them to F off. I'll probably get stabbed or shot someday, but at least I don't put up with ************ from people. Seriously how stupid do you have to be to demand help from someone who doesn't even work for Target anymore just because "you used to work here".
 

commiecorvus

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#9
It happens to me all the time. I guess I'm just a sucker because I usually just help them unless it's something that will take very long then I'll find a TM to help them.
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2011
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#10
What bothers me is when it's very obvious that you're off the clock and they still expect you to help them. My boyfriend and I, who both work at a SuperT, were shopping after work (still in red and khaki) and were constantly bothered by guests. I wouldn't have minded but I was carrying my purse and coat and he was carrying a basket with things we were buying, and neither of us were wearing name tags.

Kinda annoying. :/
 
OP
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#12
What are you talking about? We're just simple serviles bred and grown in the lower class for life long servitude in minimum wage hell. We ENJOY getting insulted, we ENJOY cleaning up ************ (literally), we ENJOY your children screaming and running around the store, and most of all we enjoy coming in to work off the clock just to deal with it in our free time.

************ing 10% isn't worth half the abuse you get when you come in to work in plain clothes. From people you don't even remember. But, oh, they know YOU alright! Just....today was harder than it had to be.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2011
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#13
It's not a cultural thing as many white, older women will get indignant when I smile & tell them I'm "off the clock" while directing them to another TM.
One lady was really rude, saying "Oh, well I wouldn't want to BOTHER you when you're not WORKING." I said, "Yeh, I could get FIRED & it's just not worth it."
YES.

Just old women in general. Enogh with the attitude and sense of entitlement, Im trying to help you as best I can and you still treat me like i'm some former prison inmate on a work release program
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Messages
151
#19
I have to say, I do not, at least as of yet, work for Target, but I've worked in retail for years and what is being discussed here is really simple common courtesy.

Say, I'm doing my own personal shopping, at the end of an 8, 10, 12 hour shift.

Do I WANT to deal with customers when I'm on my own time AND have been doing it all day?

Of course not.

At the same time, if you are on the sales floor, in store uniform, then it's a given that customers will ask you for help.

IF they want you to do something that you could get in trouble for doing because you aren't on the clock then I can understand explaining to them, I'm not on the clock, let me find you someone who is.

If they want something simple like, can you tell me where the batteries are?

That just goes with the territory and comes back to common courtesy.
 

buliSBI

Former Team Member
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2,996
#20
I found wearing a jacket or another shirt helped keep the guests away from me during my off hours.

But if I am still in my red and khakis, and its quick I will help. I have told the guests I am off the clock but I will find another TM to help real quick or I will use the phones to page a TM to the guest.
 

redeye58

Hasta Ba Rista, Baby!
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#21
IF they want you to do something that you could get in trouble for doing because you aren't on the clock then I can understand explaining to them, I'm not on the clock, let me find you someone who is.

If they want something simple like, can you tell me where the batteries are?
That just goes with the territory and comes back to common courtesy.
Which is what I've always done but, after being cut off by impatient/rude guests while attempting to locate an on-duty TM, it tends to grate on you. I never fail to direct someone to what they're looking for, tho.
And I HAVE been warned about working OFF the clock so no, my job isn't worth it.
 
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#22
Customers can grate on you in general, but...

My point, if you are on the sales floor, in store uniform, then customers are going to ask you for help.

If they do, you help them.

It's both common courtesy and common sense.

I understand the company's view of, they don't want you working when you're off the clock.

At the same time...

I'm on the sales floor.

In store uniform.

A customer wants something that would take me say, two minutes to do.

No, I shouldn't do that.

I should instead piss off a customer over two minutes of my time.

For the record, I don't at all doubt what you're saying you've been told, but it is an utterly moronic approach to customer service.

And yes, I know customers can be, fill in the blank, but at the same time, without them, none of us would have a job.
 
Joined
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#23
I enjoy watching guests who happen to wear red and khaki while shopping get harassed as they walk about. I deal with it this way. If I am off the clock and the guest is nice and polite I will help them out. If they are rude I do not.
 
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#24
Kinda' OT, but I get a kick out of walking through my store OUT of uniform and having TMs ask me CIHYFS? It's so funny when they say "Oh, I didn't recognize you without the red & khaki!" Sometimes, just to be obnoxious (with only a select few), I'll ask for something really obscure, just to see how they react~LOL! Sometimes, if I can tell they're having a bad day, I'll ask them to show me where X is, just to give them a break from whatever they're doing ;)

Back OT, I honestly hate being asked where something is if it's not a "health-related" item because chances are, I haven't a clue. I can usually "guess", but I'm really just grabbing at straws unless it's something I've actually purchased myself :search:
 

commiecorvus

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#26
Poor ST. An intelligent reasonable person with common sense. Target should have that beaten out of him in a year or so. :)
 
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#27
I used to not mind telling someone where something was while off the clock. I usually stated something along the lines of "I'm sorry, but i'm off duty, but the "X" is over in HBA on aisle "Y." That was until one day on my lunch break, I was shopping, had a jacket on over my red shirt, hand cart full of stuff, and talking on my phone, I realized someone was behind me, I thought needing by. As I turned to move out of the way, there was this lady who looked as if she could shoot ice daggers from her eyes, arms crossed, TAPPING her foot at me. As I started to say something, she said "are you going to help me or what!" Needless to say I was shocked. I told my wife (on the phone) to hang on a minute, and told the lady I'm sorry, but i'm on my lunch break. She began freaking out and screaming at her husband that "OH, HE'S ON HIS LUNCH BREAK AND TOOOOO BUSY TO HELP US!" I was pretty much floored and that ruined what had been a pretty decent night.

We had to take some training recently on labor and wages, and one specific topic, was while on lunch or break and we are approached by guests, to politely tell them sorry but I'm on lunch/break and please find someone else. Everyone at my store really got a kick out of this statement, because I guess the old policy was to tell them your on break/lunch but let me help you find someone who can help them, which they felt was the same as working off the clock.
 
Joined
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#28
Poor ST. An intelligent reasonable person with common sense. Target should have that beaten out of him in a year or so. :)
LOL...

Well, I don't work for Target yet and I'm not entirely sure I want to.

Regardless, from what I've read in this thread, they are taking a legitimate management concern, i.e. we don't want employees performing work when they aren't on the clock and taking it to a silly and ultimately self-defeating level.

Although, I do have a nice personal example of this type of "thinking."

I was working at a supermarket and I'd had an ongoing conflict with one of the assistant managers, who happened to be a total jerk.

I even had the lead assistant manager tell me, just ignore him he's a little, fill in the blank.

Well, I was trying to get along and work things out and I, on my own time, asked him if we could talk for a few minutes.

He refused to talk to me because I'd already clocked out and I couldn't clock back in because it was the end of the week and I was up to 40 hours and we couldn't have any overtime.
 
Joined
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#29
The same *expletive deleted* assistant manager once refused to answer a very simple, would have taken him 10 seconds question I had because he was "on his lunch."

That was after I went and found him, after he'd ignored repeated pages because, again, he was "on his lunch."
 

redeye58

Hasta Ba Rista, Baby!
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#30
The primary reason is that Target has learned from some of Walmart's more costly mistakes. After WM got slapped with a class-action lawsuit from employees alleging they'd been told to work "off the clock", they were fined in the millions (one of the rare instances WM lost a lawsuit).
Target, like most of their policies, went to extremes to avoid even a remote possibility of such an incident. A TM at our store is on final (yr-long disciplinary action) because he'd done a few things off-clock & had been verbally warned by the ETL.
 
Joined
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#31
Yeah, I get the reasons why.

I may well be doing something of my own volition, but what's to say I won't come back and sue them, claiming they made me do it?

Or say I'm in the backroom, 10 feet off of the floor, climbing the rafters looking for a backstocked cereal for a customer but I'm not on the clock while I'm doing that.

Something I've actually done.

Say I fall the 10 feet from the cereal backstock shelf and land on the concrete floor below...

I'm not on the clock...

What kind of position does that put the company in?

Somewhat change of subject BUT...

I worked with this girl who I was and still am very close friends with.

I was interested in being more than friends and it was a genuine, I care about her kind of interest.

BUT, I was technically her boss.

My boss and my boss' boss also tried to hook up with her.

A good attorney could have sold that to a jury as, this poor girl, she's a single mother, trying to live on $9 an hour, in an economy with a 10% unemployment rate, they told her if she didn't do what they wanted, they would fire her, etc.

I FULLY understand the concern companies have regarding avoiding anything that could lead to litigation against them.

At the same time and within reason, you have to take care of your customers. If you don't, then nobody is going to have a job.
 
Joined
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#32
I'm sorry, but while I do enjoy helping people out - if I haven't started work yet, or am off work, I don't want to deal with guest/customers on what is supposed to be "my time".

Sometimes if I'm on break/lunch and someone stops me, is polite/nice and asks me where something is, I will let them know where it can be found. But if they expect me to take them there, or spend a bit of time helping them - sorry, but no.

I apologise if that, to you, is me being unfriendly/nonhelpful/promoting bad guest/customer service but I bet if the situations were reversed, chances are they would be just as unwilling to help me out.
 
OP
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#33
Okay, ST, this is absolute crap. You think helping people while off the clock is "polite"? Help yourself, but I am NOT going to waste MY time WITHOUT PAY helping the very people that give me nothing but verbal abuse all @$%^ing day long. The idiots that make a mess of the store every day, that have the screaming kids, that actually shop black fridays, that throw money at the ever rapidly collapsing horror that is retail.

I ASSURE you that the same people that expect me to help them while I am NOT MAKING ANY MONEY doing so wouldn't want me to come in to their homes and randomly ask questions. Or call them about their individual jobs. Piss on that.
 

commiecorvus

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#34
If someone asked me if I knew where something was while I was shopping some place else, and I knew where it was, I would tell them.
The same goes with my store.
If the customer wants more then that I'll see if I can find them someone who is on the clock.
None of that takes much of my time, it keeps the customer happy, and it's all part of a polite society.
This from a man who is the first person to fight for a persons working rights.
 
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#35
Okay, ST, this is absolute crap. You think helping people while off the clock is "polite"? Help yourself, but I am NOT going to waste MY time WITHOUT PAY helping the very people that give me nothing but verbal abuse all @$%^ing day long. The idiots that make a mess of the store every day, that have the screaming kids, that actually shop black fridays, that throw money at the ever rapidly collapsing horror that is retail.

I ASSURE you that the same people that expect me to help them while I am NOT MAKING ANY MONEY doing so wouldn't want me to come in to their homes and randomly ask questions. Or call them about their individual jobs. Piss on that.
It's not your HOME.

It's your place of employment and without customers you WOULD NOT have a job.

In my time in retail, I've been,screamed at, cursed, threatened, had them throw things at me and in two instances, had to physically defend myself.

Three if you count the coworker's jealous boyfriend who jumped me in the parking lot.

I'm not saying they are angels who are always right, I'm just saying that without them, we wouldn't have jobs and you need to keep that in mind.

Even if they want me to do something that I can't do because I'll get in trouble for working when I'm not on the clock or I just don't want to, because I'm not on the clock, I can still take a couple of minutes to say, I'm sorry, I can't help you, I'm not on the clock, let me go find you someone who is.

That should be as simple as picking up a phone or walkie talkie.

Now, if AFTER I tell them that, they want to be an ass, then that's a different story.

Edit:

If your post is truly how you feel about working in retail, then you REALLY need to be looking for another line of work.
 
OP
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D
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#36
It's not your HOME.

It's your place of employment and without customers you WOULD NOT have a job.
Correction, without customers the entire economy would be restructured to facilitate different kinds of jobs. Other economies don't run based on service like we do, and some of them do much better than we do. Matter of fact, without the idiots that buy ************ so much, the entire economy would still be a booming manufacturing economy of awesomeness.

In my time in retail, I've been,screamed at, cursed, threatened, had them throw things at me and in two instances, had to physically defend myself.
I have all of the above happen to me on a daily basis due to the ghetto location of my Target. On a daily basis. Don't you dare ever tell me to help someone off the clock. I would sooner punch you AND the person.


Even if they want me to do something that I can't do because I'll get in trouble for working when I'm not on the clock or I just don't want to, because I'm not on the clock, I can still take a couple of minutes to say, I'm sorry, I can't help you, I'm not on the clock, let me go find you someone who is.
See, I agree, except where I find you someone who is. You have legs, you have eyes, and there's the #@$%ing service phone. Ta!

If your post is truly how you feel about working in retail, then you REALLY need to be looking for another line of work.
IF ONLY I HAD THOUGHT OF THAT BEFORE!
 
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#37
I am in hood, like my store. Go easy on southern t. He doesn't know the ways of spot. I would help guests in a quiet mode, because they know whom I am. Help them, move on quickly. Sales are sales. We need them.
 
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#38
Darius, it really sounds like you need to find another line of work or at least a different job.

You sound majorly burned out and I can relate, I've been there myself and even if it's another retail job, a change of scenery can help immensely.
 

pzychopopgroove

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#40
Okay, ST, this is absolute crap. You think helping people while off the clock is "polite"? Help yourself, but I am NOT going to waste MY time WITHOUT PAY helping the very people that give me nothing but verbal abuse all @$%^ing day long. The idiots that make a mess of the store every day, that have the screaming kids, that actually shop black fridays, that throw money at the ever rapidly collapsing horror that is retail.

I ASSURE you that the same people that expect me to help them while I am NOT MAKING ANY MONEY doing so wouldn't want me to come in to their homes and randomly ask questions. Or call them about their individual jobs. Piss on that.
AND FOLKS, this is why I don't even pay two !@#$ing licks of attention to a guest when I myself am off the clock. I feel your pain, Darius.
 

pzychopopgroove

cyberpunk//my little pony
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#42
Darius, it really sounds like you need to find another line of work or at least a different job.

You sound majorly burned out and I can relate, I've been there myself and even if it's another retail job, a change of scenery can help immensely.
Yet again QFT. My mood improved greatly in the short term when I left my previous job for Target over a year ago.
 
Joined
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#43
If someone asked me if I knew where something was while I was shopping some place else, and I knew where it was, I would tell them.
The same goes with my store.
If the customer wants more then that I'll see if I can find them someone who is on the clock.
None of that takes much of my time, it keeps the customer happy, and it's all part of a polite society.
This from a man who is the first person to fight for a persons working rights.
This is pretty much how I feel. Maybe it's how I was raised, but I've been asked in random stores if I know where "X" is (and it's OBVIOUS I don't work there), and if I do, I tell them, if I don't, I simply say "I'm sorry, I don't know". IMO, it's the polite thing to do.

Maybe it's just my store too, but 9/10 guests don't ASK for help and will respond "No, I'm fine" when I ask "CIHYFS?"...at least the men will ;) We watched a guy walk back and forth in front of the pharm one Sunday 5 times looking for "something" after I asked him, at about the 3rd, another tech asked "are you sure we can't HYFS?" and he was "still fine". The last time he walked by, his cart was STILL empty so I flat out asked "what are you looking for?". It was shampoo, which isn't anywhere CLOSE to the pharmacy ;)
 

pzychopopgroove

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#44
This is pretty much how I feel. Maybe it's how I was raised, but I've been asked in random stores if I know where "X" is (and it's OBVIOUS I don't work there), and if I do, I tell them, if I don't, I simply say "I'm sorry, I don't know". IMO, it's the polite thing to do.

Maybe it's just my store too, but 9/10 guests don't ASK for help and will respond "No, I'm fine" when I ask "CIHYFS?"...at least the men will ;) We watched a guy walk back and forth in front of the pharm one Sunday 5 times looking for "something" after I asked him, at about the 3rd, another tech asked "are you sure we can't HYFS?" and he was "still fine". The last time he walked by, his cart was STILL empty so I flat out asked "what are you looking for?". It was shampoo, which isn't anywhere CLOSE to the pharmacy ;)
That's funny lol because the Target I work at has the shampoo maybe 2 aisles at most from Pharmacy and HBA.
 
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#46
That's funny lol because the Target I work at has the shampoo maybe 2 aisles at most from Pharmacy and HBA.
Our used to be right in front of pharmacy, but they recently moved a bunch of stuff around. We have aisles directly in front of pharm, then a main aisle, then cosmetics (which run the same was as the aisles in front of pharm), then aisles that run perpendicular to cosmetics from there back...it's now directly behind cosmetics.
PHARM
||||||||||||| OTC, first aid, soap, paper goods, TP, etc.
walkway
||||||||(walkway) _______ Cosmetics then pfresh
-------(walkway) _______ Shampoo then pfresh
 
Last edited:
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#48
Okay, ST, this is absolute crap. You think helping people while off the clock is "polite"? Help yourself, but I am NOT going to waste MY time WITHOUT PAY helping the very people that give me nothing but verbal abuse all @$%^ing day long. The idiots that make a mess of the store every day, that have the screaming kids, that actually shop black fridays, that throw money at the ever rapidly collapsing horror that is retail.

I ASSURE you that the same people that expect me to help them while I am NOT MAKING ANY MONEY doing so wouldn't want me to come in to their homes and randomly ask questions. Or call them about their individual jobs. Piss on that.

I think helping people in general is the right thing to do, but it all depends on their attitude. If they are asking me something in a nice, respectful way, of course I'm going to do SOMETHING to try to help, even if it is just finding them a coworker who is on the clock or showing them where the red phones are to get help. However, if they approach me in a rude, entitled manner I will return the attitude right back to them.. You reap what you sow.
 

pzychopopgroove

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#49
I think helping people in general is the right thing to do, but it all depends on their attitude. If they are asking me something in a nice, respectful way, of course I'm going to do SOMETHING to try to help, even if it is just finding them a coworker who is on the clock or showing them where the red phones are to get help. However, if they approach me in a rude, entitled manner I will return the attitude right back to them.. You reap what you sow.
I'm the exact same way have been even before my first job pushing carts.
 
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#50
If they just need to know an Aisle, like "Where is ???" and you can answer it in a second, I think it is generally OK. But if they want you to come show them something, etc. I think its best to just say that your on break. If you see someone else in Red, just direct them to that person :)
 
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