Livewire - July 5, 2013

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By Jacqui Morley

So the customer is always right? Wrong say locals surveyed in our straw poll of supermarket “etiquette.”

Check out these comments after one a shop assistant refused to check out a customer’s shopping – until she came off her mobile phone. Property manager Jo Clarke, 26, was left speechless after a till assistant at a London branch of Sainsbury’s refused to serve her until she hung up.

She later won an apology from the company. But the assistant’s stance was applauded outside the Bispham branch of Sainsbury’s.

Retired teacher Jean Dawson, 72, of Devonshire Road, says: “Manners cost nothing. You don’t talk on the phone when conducting a transaction with someone in person. It shows lack of respect. It is inappropriate. It’s a social gaffe in my book and I think the assistant was right. Of course, a lot depends on how she told the customer to put the phone down. If she was abrupt it won’t have helped.”

Builder John Jones of Layton agrees. “I’m one of the worst offenders. My missus says I won’t leave my phone alone. It’s on while we eat at home, and I leave it on vibrate if we eat out. I tell her I put food on the table, the phone is part of my livelihood.

“I’m self employed so on call to customers. But even I wouldn’t do that to a shop assistant. It’s rude to her and other people in the queue. She should have used the self service till.”

Student Laura Wilson, 19, of Ashfield Road, admits: “I’ve been told off for doing it myself. By my mum usually. I’ll talk or text in queues but usually finish when I reach the check out. Sometimes you call home to check whether you’ve got everything or there may be an emergency.

“I wouldn’t just stand there chatting so that’s way wrong. But what annoys me are shop assistants nattering to each other when I’m trying to pack or pay. Or others who won’t even say hello, please or thank you. That happens a lot in the smaller shops where you’re supposed to get personal service.”

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