How to Love Your Farm Store Employees

Reader Contribution by Cait Carpenter
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Let’s face it — as a hobby or small farmer, you may spend an excessive amount of currency at the local big-box farm supply store. I know I do, and I work at one! We do work very hard at the store to make your experience a positive one, and to provide as much education and information as possible. Here are some good tips to think about to help us make your shopping experience smooth and pleasant:

1. Tags up!

To get you through the line and out the door in a timely manner, it helps immensely to arrange bags so that the tags are visible. We can scan, scan, scan, and you’re on your way. If there are five 50lb feed bags piled haphazardly in your cart, it takes time and muscle to pull each one out, neither of which I have a lot of. Need help loading the cart? Grab someone off of the sales floor and ask for help, it’s our job!

Add to this that it helps if your item has a tag. If it doesn’t have a tag or scannable code, take a picture of the shelf label or sign on the pallet. One example of this is if you want to buy a bag of feed, but there’s no tag on the bag. We have four kinds of rabbit feed in an identical bag. If the tag isn’t on it, I don’t know what it is either, and I can’t choose at random which one it is. (See: Inventory)

2. I’m the cashier and can’t fix that.

There are certain situations where things go awry — someone sold you the wrong part to your garden tractor, you got a bad batch of feed, or you don’t get enough coupons in the mail. I can absolutely point you in the right direction, but sometimes I’m not authorized to fix that particular problem. Please don’t yell at me. I’m helping to my best ability.

3. “Just leave it there, it’s their job to clean it up.”

It IS my job to pick that t-shirt up off of the floor, but I also have a thousand other things to do to make the store a better experience for you. Other things fall apart because we spend an incredible amount of time just tidying up messes. Please help. Please hang back up the shirt, or even just give it to me at the register and say, “I changed my mind and don’t remember where I got this.” We will put it aside for later when we have time to put it away.

4. Inventory hurts.

I can’t just type in the price of something for you. I need the item number or barcode to scan so that you get charged for the exact product that you’re holding, and so that our inventory in our computer doesn’t get silly. Management highly discourages “just looking it up”, and I want the management to like me.

… and finally …

5. We are trying!

Please be patient with us. We are not ignoring you, we are not trying to be rude, we are simply doing our very best. Many stores are understaffed and stretched very thin trying to keep the big boat of box retail afloat. If I don’t know what part your tractor needs, I’m sorry and I’ll try to help you — but if I had a certificate in agricultural mechanics, I wouldn’t be here ringing up cat food. I don’t wipe down all of the wet carts because it’d cut into valuable other time, like picking up shirts off of the floor.

Photo by Fotolia/Robert Kneschke

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