A new report last week said that consumer spending was down again. It said consumers are skittish about the economy and inflation. Although I’m just one consumer, I know my spending is down. But it’s not because of the economy. I’m fed up with retail clerks.

For one thing, they’re an endangered species. You can count more condors in the sky than clerks on the floor at Macy’s. And when you do find one, it’s obvious they’re on the sales floor by mistake because they’re clearly not there to help you. The last time I asked a clerk at Home Depot to look for something in the back because it wasn’t on the sales floor, he snickered, “Sure, dude,” and sauntered off, never to be seen again.

How long would it take a manager to tell all incoming clerks they must smile at customers, ask if they can help, say “thank you”? Would it take a minute to give that little speech? Thirty seconds even? I mean, we went to the moon and everything. You’d think a little speech like that could be told to all clerks before the end of the decade.

Honestly, I’m curious. Retail managers, please tell me, why can’t you hire a few more clerks and give them that little “be helpful” speech? What am I missing here? If enough explain, I’ll include some of the responses in a future column.