I went in, found a dress that I was delighted with however it was several hundred dollars above my usual threshold for buying dresses. I told both the owner and the assistant, who up till that point, had been extremely courteous, that 'I'd sleep on it' and went back into the changing rooms (there's no door, just curtains) to change back into my work clothes. There wasn't anyone else in the store at the time so I could hear their conversation. They were talking about me and how stingy I was not to buy the dress immediately given how happy I was with it and how if they'd ever found a dress that fit so perfectly, they'd get it on the spot. I didn't say anything to them because I didn't find it particularly derogatory but it was rather rude and unwise given how small the store was. I gave them the dress back and kept shopping.
5 minutes later, another customer walked in and she'd also found a dress she'd liked the look off, but it was little tight. She requested a bigger size which was given to her and she went back inside the change rooms to try it on. Again, as soon as she was out of sight, the two started belittling her for not picking out the right size i.e. "What was she thinking, trying to squeeze into that, is she delusional?". I felt extremely uncomfortable because I knew from experience, that the customer would be able to hear. Sure enough, about half a minute later, she walked up and threw the dresses on to the counter. The owner and assistant went back to being polite and asked her how she liked it. She replied with: "It was a great dress but two stupid, gossiping idiots in retail who couldn't keep comments about customers to themselves have ruined it for me" and marched out.
I was still in the store at that point and they gave me this bemused, 'what's her problem?' look. I told them, it was extremely unprofessional and rude of them to be making comments about customers, especially when they were in the store. I left with that comment but I couldn't help thinking how stupid both the owner and the assistant were.
I know retail is an incredibly hard job and I don't expect politeness 24/7 and I definitely don't expect people not to talk about their customers, but seriously, this was a bit much. If they really couldn't suppress the need to be so judgmental, couldn't they at least wait till the customer had left the store?
While they were really polite, helpful and friendly to the customer's face, I think it's poor form to talk about them when they are still in the store.