- Advice for your Everyday Life
Section: work, manners 

Dear Ann Landers,
I am sure you get many letters complaining about rude, crude and abusive sales clerks. I would like to say a word in their defense. My job is to evaluate clerks. I have a long list of people I observe, interact with and rate according to 30 factors. They have no idea who I am. I've been doing this work for five years and have visited more than 400 "installations," from small convenience stores to large department stores. I have demanded services to which I was not entitled and asked for "extras" the stores were under no obligation to provide. I have been deliberately antagonistic and sometimes downright nasty. I once tried to return an item that had been purchased at another store. The clerk took it and gave me a full credit. I have yet to find a sales clerk who was crude, rude or unpleasant. When you get letters complaining about sales clerks, I would bet they are from people who have tried to return merchandise that has obviously been used or for which they have no receipt, or the customer insisted the clerk take a credit card that had expired or been maxed out. Please don't print my name or city, Ann. It is essential that my identity not be revealed. Sign me -- Mystery Shopper in the USA

Dear Mystery,
It appears from your incognito research that the vast majority of sales clerks have the patience of Job. While a few may be surly and unpleasant, most people would agree with your assessment that sales clerks live by the motto "the customer is always right," even when he isn't.

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"At every party there are two kinds of people - those who want to go home and those who don't. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other."
-Ann Landers