Is it OK to Chew Gum on the Sales Floor?

What do you think? Is it ok for a store associate to chew gum while working on the sales floor? Or drink soda? Or maybe have a burger stashed under the counter to nibble on?

Surprisingly, there are people who think it is ok, and you may be one of them. Fair enough. And there are others who will be thinking…

what a silly question, of course you can’t allow gum chewing or eating on the sales floor!

Let’s look at this issue from the point of view of the customer. First of all, many people do not chew gum nicely and that, alone, can put a customer off. With all the cracking and popping and extra saliva produced, it can really be quite disturbing. And then there is the inevitable – gum stuck on the floor and, possibly even, gum stuck on the counters, fixtures and merchandise! As for the soda and burgers, you can imagine how nice it would be to be served by someone who is eating and drinking while they’re talking to you! Oh, and the mess when something gets knocked over.

Is there an upside, or a benefit, to the customer by allowing associates to chew gum, eat and drink on the sales floor?

No, there isn’t. Some may say the associates will be happier because they are allowed to do these things while they’re working; that they would like not having so many rules to abide by. Really? Is chewing gum such a big part of life that it can’t be stopped for a few hours? Couldn’t we eat lunch before we got to work?

Anyway, none of this should be of concern to your customer.

At this point, we need to say a word about staffing levels and wage cost reduction measures. There are many retail store associates out there who are not able to leave the sales floor for a break; not even for a lunch or dinner break. And the reason is that the employer is not adequately staffing the store – clearly, not the fault of the associates. These are entirely different circumstances. In these cases, the retailer is not showing care or concern for the employees, or the customers, and the retail organization will probably not be in existance for a long time.  

Getting back to the point, chewing gum, eating and drinking on the sales floor is like many other things – like coming to work with your work clothes crumpled up in the bottom of your backpack. Or, forgetting to brush your teeth and comb your hair and, basically, looking like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards!

Standards need to be met. If not for you, as the Manager, at least ensure they are met for the sake of your customers.

There are different styles of management and many different ways of doing just about everything. But, in the interest of your customer (and your sales) perhaps having some hard and fast rules or standards would be a very good thing. If there are good business reasons for having a rule in place, then it should be in place.

While we’re on the subject of standards and rules, let’s think about our sales performance standards as well.

If you relax standards in one area of your business, perhaps you will send the message that standards don’t really have to be that high in any area. Once you lose the principles and the disciplines, it’s difficult to recover.

In a perfect world, everyone we hire would have the highest standards, morals, principles and ethics and we would not ever need to put a single rule or standard in place. They would all just naturally do the right things and would behave impeccably.

But, we are not there yet.

We’re aware that some new wisdom says that what we’re suggesting is old school and no longer appropriate for a new generation. Certainly, we must always look ahead; change and update as we go forward; stay current and on top of trends and manage accordingly. But we should never lose sight of what is important and which standards help us to improve our business; which standards absolutely must be in place to ensure our customers get the respect and courtesy they deserve.

Relaxing standards and expectations for the sake of not being old school just doesn’t make good business sense.  

All the Success!

DMSRetail Inc.

PS: If you still want to approach your business with your customers in mind, there is a great deal of information to help you do that, and much, much more, in the Super Retail Success Bundle, which you can check out here:

PPS: Check us out on Facebook and ‘Like’ us if you do:


0 Responses to “Is it OK to Chew Gum on the Sales Floor?”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Retail Management Success

Ultimate Retail Success Collection

Retail Business Academy

Retail Business Academy


Sales & Influence Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

%d bloggers like this: