Working retail means you see a whole side of human nature that I never realized existed. People are often cheap, rude and stupid.
The owner of the company makes the rules, and the rules for closing are that we are not allowed to tell the customer that we are closing. We are not supposed to hurry them, but just let them shop. My manager does not stand for that, and within 10 minutes of closing, lets new customers know. 15 minutes after closing, we often helpfully hint that they wrap up their shopping.
It gets old. Most people do not read the sign stating the hours on the door. Even when they are aware of the closing time, they are not aware of how quickly those minutes fly by when they want to leisurely browse.
I often get "I know you want to go home, and I will go fast!" but they are some of the worst offenders, taking their time and contradicting what they said to me.
Having to wait to close gets old fast. At the end of the day, I am tired, hungry and cranky. Those minutes are often precious, especially if I have a meeting to attend, or a movie that is starting, or just a dinner date with my husband.
By staying open even five extra minutes means expenses go up, which indirectly means prices of merchandise goes up as well. Heat, electricity, and overtime wages all add up very quickly.
Some customers assume that we get to go home right after we lock the doors. Not so. There is cleanup to do, reconciling the till, etc. And if the till is off, we get to stay until the problem is solved.
The other issue is when these customers purchase nothing, or a small item, like a 25 cent post card. That does not pay for our wasted time, sorry.
Tonight, I had a mother and daughter browsing the store for nearly an hour before closing. They were the last people in the store, and after closing, they still wandered around. Finally, at ten after, they purchased a $20 item and left, but not before announcing that they were "killing time before the 8:30 movie :)"
Most places don't appreciate loitering, especially after the store is closed.
I could go on and on about the countless times I have had to stay later at work, and how I feel about it, but that is not very constructive. Basically, always try to be aware of when a place closes. If you can't find a sign, ask. Be courteous to the workers, and if you are in a restaurant, leave a big tip :).