While it may be rude if this happened between two people having a catch up, a coffee or a summer picnic. It’s not between a business and its customer. Because in business, the customer is always right. (Well, unless they are doing something actually terrible - a phone conversation isn’t breaking any laws.)
If only the customer had opted for the self-service queue. Where she’d have been actively encouraged not to interact with staff. Instead just shuffled through the system giving the machines her money at the end.
Actually, not engaging with members of staff while paying for shopping is common and dare I say it, progress. People are becoming busier than ever, we don’t even have time to read any more. Look at the success of Summly, an app that summaries news stories so you don’t have to read the whole thing, (wish you done it for this?), was acquired by Yahoo for $30M a few months back.
This impatience means we don’t have time to shop outside. Our high street chains are crumbling, the British Retail Consortium has reported that clothes and shoes sales are down 5.7% and sales of electrical goods have fell 5.2% in the last year. In contrast the Internet, where you don’t have any narky shop assistants, is booming with a 20% rise in online sales over the last year.
The best businesses go the extra mile for their customers and I’m glad that Sainsbury’s apologised to the customer and offered her a voucher.
Maybe a shop where customers are encouraged to pay while tweeting about their experience, telling their friends about it over the phone or filming the whole process on their Google glasses would be a hit. You can do all those things while shopping on the Internet after all.