A new trend taking over TikTok shows what the people working retail really think when they're smiling and handing customers their change. The blunt, unapologetic videos have gone viral and migrated to other social media networks, including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The idea may have started with comedian Scott Seiss.
Seiss has amassed over 216,000 followers on TikTok with his retail worker meme format, wherein he delivers a scathing response to a complaint or comment he hears commonly from a customer. Seiss' videos all take place in a fictional IKEA, with a green screen background and an IKEA lanyard to set the scene. His videos have gotten so huge that even LeBron James weighed in on one on Monday with a string of crying-laughing emojis.
"Dude's spitting but I have the feeling IKEA is going to merk his a— once they see these vids," one person commented. Another added: "Customers do not understand how close we are to snapping while workign in retail from nonsense like this," and a third wrote: "This is all the shit that goes through my head working with the public. Especially the threats of going somewhere else. I'm like let me get the door for you."
According to Seiss' website, he is originally from Baltimore, Maryland but now lives in New York City. He has an extensive resume as a writer and comedian, but his retail sketches made the cut in his bio, since the viewership is so notably high. He is also a member of an improv group called The Ruse, which performs at the Peoples Improv Theater.
YO!!!!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. I’m literally shedding tears right now. https://t.co/peRJNP8Wq1— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 19, 2021
Whether Seiss started this trend or not, it has not gone way beyond his followers. Others are now sharing versions of their own experiences on TikTok as well, with subtle nods to the stores where they were mistreated by customers.
Retail has always been a stressful job, but these cathartic monologues might be needed now more than ever after over a year of the coronavirus pandemic rocked the whole industry. In the U.S., employees have watched their "essential worker" status change as their employers struggle to stay afloat and their jobs have been in constant jeopardy. Now, according to a report by The Boston Globe, retailers are preparing for a new stressful shopping season in which they hope to catch up on some of their pandemic losses.
One of my favorites, along with pic.twitter.com/1IykvbNrV9— Elliott ☔ HR7 Bow Main (@SharkSatan) April 19, 2021
"This recession has been very different from historical patterns. It's highly unusual for households to come out of a recession with an enormous accumulation of savings," economics professor Eric Hilt told the outlet. Now, with a whole class of customers dying to get out of the house for the first time in over a year, retailers are scrambling to figure out what they will want to buy the most. Hopefully, they won't have to argue with Seiss about it.