A woman who recently went shopping at an Ulta location launched into a diatribe against retail executives for purportedly "ruining" the shopping experience for customers by fostering a sentiment of in-authenticity that they force employees to adopt in an attempt to shortcut their ways to quick sales.
A TikTok user who posts under the handle @awalmartparkinglot said that a recent interaction she had with an Ulta manager while their co-worker was ringing her up left her with a bad taste in her mouth, and it mostly had to do with the "script" that she is sure retail executives forced its employees to rehearse to customers in the hopes of getting them to sign up for a rewards points program.
As a result of these corporate initiatives, the TikToker states that she, the cashier, and the manager were forced into a conversation under the imaginary watchful eye of "corporate overlords" forcing everyone into a conversation they don't want to have. She says it's because of these policies that folks would much rather perform their shopping online.
"I hate how retail executives have made the shopping experience absolutely f----- insufferable. And this is why everyone shops online instead of you getting foot traffic in your little stores."
She then delves into what appears to be the root of her grievance: "Because I was just at Ulta I never really go to Ulta but someone gave me a gift card and I was like cool I'll go here and just re-up on things that I'd normally buy at the grocery store."
She continued, "Like Cetaphil, and lotion, and stuff like that but I was like whatever I have a gift card I'll go here. Naturally, my $25 gift card did turn into a $130 purchase but anyway, I digress."
The amount of money that she ended up spending at the Ulta store wasn't the issue, according to the TikToker, but it was the shopping experience itself.
"Girl's like, immediately when I was up, can I get a phone number? And I was like no thanks I'm good. Like, no shade, it's fine, you don't, just, no thanks I'm good. And she goes okay, and starts ringing me up. Perfect, perfect approach, I'm mad that your corporate overlords made you start with can I get a phone number...companies, just let humans have normal interactions."
That was strike one for the retail store experience that seemed to upset the TikToker, "Stop forcing your employees into a script if they want to say hi how are you, just stop giving people a script it never works, it always comes off as disingenuous. Anyway, she's ringing me up being a normal human being, you know, her manager, is behind her and she goes so you don't want any points today?"
Still trying to keep the interaction generally pleasant, the TikToker said that she informed the manager that she was "okay" and not interested in getting any rewards points with her transaction. "And she was like you do it's no charge to sign up and you would get a free birthday gift and literally went into the longest script I've ever heard in my life it was so f---- awkward."
Strike two was that the Ulta manager felt the need to jump in and try to speak with her in an attempt to convince her to sign up for the store's rewards program: "Like I was just looking at the girl that was ringing me up and like, no one wanted to be there. It was just so awkward and then, she just ended her little script."
After being forced to listen to the manager's monologue about the benefits of signing up for Ulta's rewards points system, the TikToker said that she replied to the employee and informed them that they don't really shop at Ulta all that much and only decided to come in and check the place out because they had a gift card.
"And she was like if you ever change your mind..." and it's here where she expressed her exasperation into the camera highlighting how ridiculous and insensitive it was for the employee to push her for the rewards program.
She sighed loudly and launched into a rant, "I'm already spending $100 in your establishment does that not satisfy the corporate overlords enough? Do you also need my contact information? Like there's nothing that Ulta has to say that I need to hear right now and I'm mad because executives are...so f------ out of touch with what's in the store."
Her rant went on, "I know that the manager, and that girl probably know that that's a bad idea it is actually driving customers away but some little f---- named Craig in a navy pin-striped suit is sitting at his desk cheating on his wife being so proud of his new plan to increase customer whatever the f---"
Numerous commenters who responded to the TikToker's post seemed to agree with her assessment of the brick-and-mortar retail store experience. Like one person who likened having to listen to the "rewards points monologue" as a "real life unskippable ad."
Someone else who said that they work in retail corroborated that scripts they're forced to relay to shoppers is their biggest gripe with their job: "the script bit is exactly one of the things I HATE in my retail job. customers HATE it, WE hate it, no one is having a good time."
Someone else echoed the same thing, writing: "From someone who was on the other side. The manager use to stand and watch me and force me to annoy ppl. It’s horrible for us too"
There were some folks who offered up their own strategies for stopping retail employee pitches in their tracks, and it was by making the interactions even more awkward than they needed to be.
"'No thanks I don’t have a birthday' is usually my response," one said.
While someone else wrote: "when they get too pushy I occasionally go 'my husband doesn't let me have a phone' or smth equally uncomfortable. shuts it right down"