Shop advert sparks anger by telling applicants they can abuse customers

Shop adverts sparks anger by telling applicants they can abuse customers

Shop adverts sparks anger by telling applicants they can abuse customers

First published in News
Last updated

A village store in Hampshire has sparked outrage with its frank job advert that tells potential applicants they can verbally abuse customers.

Candidates are told they must have the ability to "feign interest" in hearing the same boring stories every day.

And they are informed: "Don't worry about a customer service background - here we assume the customer is usually wrong."

The humorous advert for a part-time shop assistant has been placed beside the till at Dever Stores, in Sutton Scotney, near Winchester.

Daily Echo:

But it has offended some customers who believe owner Ian Forsythe, 51, and his wife Hayley, 49, are taking a personal dig at them.

The multi-purpose store is a post office, cafe, newsagent, off-licence, and grocery shop.

The advert for the £6.31 an hour role says applicants will "need" a good sense of humour.

And the successful candidate must have: "The ability to feign genuine interest in hearing the same customer story every day, six days a week."

It adds: "We offer a genuinely fun working environment and the opportunity to verbally abuse the general public."

Mr Forsythe became frustrated working with an HR department when writing "politically correct" adverts during a 20 year career with international firms.

And he said now he is his own boss he can "cut out the jargon and tell it straight".

The shopkeeper, who has owned the business for six years, still expects applicants to be experienced and competent.

His advert says: "The part-time shop assistant MUST HAVE five years work history in any field (note that a prison term does not count as work history).

"Reliable and local (ideally walking distance).

"Articulate, literate, and numerate (confused? - you can stop reading now)."

It continues: "Fit and healthy (constant lifting of heavy items).

"Not too proud to clean the toilet, floor, window, etc.

"Strong work ethic.

"If you don't have ALL of the above, PLEASE... DON'T EVEN BOTHER!

"Haven't scared you off yet? - Great! Ask to speak to Hayley now."

The advert is in stark contrast to the image the store portrays on its website.

Daily Echo:

On the home page, the shop says it combines the "traditional values of personal service and quality".

And it adds: "Our driving force is to be seen by our customers as a model business for the village community of the 21st century."

Mr Forsythe, from Sutton Scotney, said he has already received a couple of applications but will keep the advert up for a few more weeks.

He said: "I spent 20 years working in the corporate world where I worked with an HR team writing politically correct adverts.

"Now I am able to inject a bit of humour into them, adopt a light-hearted approach, and tell it straight.

"We have placed the sign right beside the till, so our customer's can't miss it.

"Most people find it hilarious and enjoy the frankness of the advert but it has offended some people.

"Nobody has had the courage to tell me that it has upset them personally but I have heard from other customers that there are a few people who think the remarks are aimed at them."

He added: "It is proving quite difficult finding somebody with the experience to take the job.

"I'm not averse to offering a youngster the chance to secure a job, but I don't have the time to tell them the importance of making eye contact or the art of making conversation.

"These are skills they need to have developed already."

Conservative councillor Stephen Godfrey, who represents the village on Winchester City Council, said: "It's a very successful business, which has been built up over a number of years.

"Ten years ago it was under threat of closure but it is now thriving, and at the heart of the village. The owner should be commended.
"There may well be a few people who are offended by the advert but it should be taken in jest.

"I've been in the store many times and have never been abused. I just hope I'm not the customer who bores them with the same story every time."

Comments (22)

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11:51am Sat 26 Apr 14

wizard says...

Whoever complained get a life!
Whoever complained get a life! wizard
  • Score: 43

12:01pm Sat 26 Apr 14

Zexagon says...

I notice the people who complained didn't leave their names. Bet they're stuck right up their own behinds. Good on ya mr shopkeeper
I notice the people who complained didn't leave their names. Bet they're stuck right up their own behinds. Good on ya mr shopkeeper Zexagon
  • Score: 33

12:04pm Sat 26 Apr 14

sburman says...

Some people have absolutely no sense of humour
Some people have absolutely no sense of humour sburman
  • Score: 30

12:26pm Sat 26 Apr 14

userds5050 says...

I see they're discriminating against ex cons too. Disgraceful.
I see they're discriminating against ex cons too. Disgraceful. userds5050
  • Score: 6

12:26pm Sat 26 Apr 14

SOULJACKER says...

I heard bout this on Radio 4 this morning & good on them!
I reckon some members of the public are so dam rude (especially the ones who carry on their telephone convo's whilst being served) that they deserve to be abused & quite honestly a quick punch & a kick wouldn't hurt some of them either......well done to them :)
I heard bout this on Radio 4 this morning & good on them! I reckon some members of the public are so dam rude (especially the ones who carry on their telephone convo's whilst being served) that they deserve to be abused & quite honestly a quick punch & a kick wouldn't hurt some of them either......well done to them :) SOULJACKER
  • Score: 22

12:32pm Sat 26 Apr 14

Geoff Paddock says...

Councillor Godfrey is absolutely right. This is a very successful business, and nobody does that by annoying their customers. The ad is meant to attract the right kind of applicants by being written in a jokey way. And it has received an amazing amount of national media coverage today. But journalists always look for conflict, even when none is there.Any sensible customer will realise no disrespect is meant !
Councillor Godfrey is absolutely right. This is a very successful business, and nobody does that by annoying their customers. The ad is meant to attract the right kind of applicants by being written in a jokey way. And it has received an amazing amount of national media coverage today. But journalists always look for conflict, even when none is there.Any sensible customer will realise no disrespect is meant ! Geoff Paddock
  • Score: 29

12:47pm Sat 26 Apr 14

befriendly says...

If the people who complained think it refers to them, it probably does, as they have no sense of humour by not being able to see the fun side of the advert.
If the people who complained think it refers to them, it probably does, as they have no sense of humour by not being able to see the fun side of the advert. befriendly
  • Score: 19

12:56pm Sat 26 Apr 14

sue1956 says...

Very refreshing
Very refreshing sue1956
  • Score: 16

1:06pm Sat 26 Apr 14

itsnotjustice says...

HAHAHAHAA.... this is tooo funny.

Anybody who cant take this as a bit of a joke is a fool....
HAHAHAHAA.... this is tooo funny. Anybody who cant take this as a bit of a joke is a fool.... itsnotjustice
  • Score: 19

1:49pm Sat 26 Apr 14

sainttappy says...

Very funny
Very funny sainttappy
  • Score: 11

3:20pm Sat 26 Apr 14

Charlie Bucket says...

befriendly wrote:
If the people who complained think it refers to them, it probably does, as they have no sense of humour by not being able to see the fun side of the advert.
Bingo. What a brilliant story.
[quote][p][bold]befriendly[/bold] wrote: If the people who complained think it refers to them, it probably does, as they have no sense of humour by not being able to see the fun side of the advert.[/p][/quote]Bingo. What a brilliant story. Charlie Bucket
  • Score: 6

3:37pm Sat 26 Apr 14

kiz.bartlett says...

Well, we all know who wont be applying then
Well, we all know who wont be applying then kiz.bartlett
  • Score: 2

3:46pm Sat 26 Apr 14

forest hump says...

What a pleasant change from all the nonsense from the PC brigade/race card players/continual whiners. Whoever was offended by this smart, light hearted notice....GOOD! Go back to your lily-livered liberal eco friendly caves, rub 2 sticks together and put the kettle on.
What a pleasant change from all the nonsense from the PC brigade/race card players/continual whiners. Whoever was offended by this smart, light hearted notice....GOOD! Go back to your lily-livered liberal eco friendly caves, rub 2 sticks together and put the kettle on. forest hump
  • Score: 6

3:54pm Sat 26 Apr 14

Glen Wiffen says...

Fair play to shop keeper! An excellent story. Good to see the great British homour is still out there at work. Thought we lost that when the poll tax was introduced lol.
Fair play to shop keeper! An excellent story. Good to see the great British homour is still out there at work. Thought we lost that when the poll tax was introduced lol. Glen Wiffen
  • Score: 6

4:02pm Sat 26 Apr 14

Suntanned Snowman says...

"But it has offended some customers who believe owner Ian Forsythe, 51, and his wife Hayley, 49, are taking a personal dig at them."

If the cap fits
"But it has offended some customers who believe owner Ian Forsythe, 51, and his wife Hayley, 49, are taking a personal dig at them." If the cap fits Suntanned Snowman
  • Score: 7

5:03pm Sat 26 Apr 14

Penitha says...

I live in the village and go into the shop several times a day. Ian and Hayley have an amazing sense of humour, and are great. I love the ad it's hilarious obviously as some people don't understand the humour of the ad they need not apply (isn't that the point).....
I live in the village and go into the shop several times a day. Ian and Hayley have an amazing sense of humour, and are great. I love the ad it's hilarious obviously as some people don't understand the humour of the ad they need not apply (isn't that the point)..... Penitha
  • Score: 12

6:23pm Sat 26 Apr 14

meme4021 says...

I use the shop on a daily basis and ian and haley and all staff are always polite and friendly. The people who have complained really need to grow a pair and say to their faces. Have people really lost a sense of humour? Get a life and take it the way its intended . Tongue in cheek. Keep up the gd work :-)
I use the shop on a daily basis and ian and haley and all staff are always polite and friendly. The people who have complained really need to grow a pair and say to their faces. Have people really lost a sense of humour? Get a life and take it the way its intended . Tongue in cheek. Keep up the gd work :-) meme4021
  • Score: 8

6:52pm Sat 26 Apr 14

mickey01 says...

if i lived closer i would love to work there
if i lived closer i would love to work there mickey01
  • Score: 2

7:07pm Sat 26 Apr 14

sparkster says...

what a refreshing change, humour. Ive worked for some moody oiks in the past, you try to inject some humour and they just scowl. I think it's great to have a laugh, i learned long ago to laugh at myself. Good on them both, I'd like to work there too if I lived nearer
what a refreshing change, humour. Ive worked for some moody oiks in the past, you try to inject some humour and they just scowl. I think it's great to have a laugh, i learned long ago to laugh at myself. Good on them both, I'd like to work there too if I lived nearer sparkster
  • Score: 5

10:27pm Sat 26 Apr 14

funchal says...

Customers nowadays are extremely badly outspoken! Ban them for life from every shop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Customers nowadays are extremely badly outspoken! Ban them for life from every shop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! funchal
  • Score: -2

10:18am Sun 27 Apr 14

Cupid-saint says...

5 years work experiance for a minimum wage, part time job in a newsagent........
5 years work experiance for a minimum wage, part time job in a newsagent........ Cupid-saint
  • Score: 0

11:10am Sun 27 Apr 14

Service-defender says...

Bit over exaggerated Daily Echo, It doesn't actually say applicants can abuse customers.

I like it personally, customer service is listening to their stories and putting up with their nonsense.

and contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right, you just treat them as if they are until you can prove either way.
Bit over exaggerated Daily Echo, It doesn't actually say applicants can abuse customers. I like it personally, customer service is listening to their stories and putting up with their nonsense. and contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right, you just treat them as if they are until you can prove either way. Service-defender
  • Score: 1

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