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Retail Rant (Part 2)

April 2, 2010

Part 1 is here. More complaining:

The other day I had the experience where the store employee kept asking me how I’m doing. This is something that annoys me, as I prefer to be left alone when I shop. What I’d like is for the sales associates (or whatever you might call them) to be available (within eyeshot) and helpful when I ask, but not stalking me when I don’t.

So this is how it all went down: I walked into the store and was asked, “What brings you here today?” Dumb question. I said, “I’m shopping for clothes.” What else would I be doing in a clothing store? She then asked if there was something specific I was looking for. (I love being questioned like this before I can move past the entrance.) It’s rare that I will go into a clothing store with an exact vision of what I’m looking for, and even more rare that the store might have such a thing. What did she want me to say? “Yes, I’m looking for a cute, springy shirt–maybe in a dark shade of turquoise, with buttons. No puffy sleeves, not too long or short, and nothing I have to iron.” Will she then go find that item for me? Even if she would look, I don’t want her to. I’m a girl, not a guy–I prefer to go find my own clothes without someone going, “What about this? Or this? How about this?” And chances are, that’s not what she was willing to do anyway (not at this particular store), so then what is the point of the question? To guide me in the right direction? It’s not a big store–I can see where everything is right from the front door. What I wanted was for her to actually let me shop.

Paragraph two. I mumbled something about how I was “just looking” and she finally set me free to shop. But a few minutes later, she asked me how I was doing. Fine, except for the woman who keeps checking on me. Then she asked me again. Still okay! Then a third time she approached while I was holding items and perusing the clearance racks. She said, “How are you doing? Find anything?” No, I just caught these jeans as they were falling from the sky. Goodness! Why did she need a status report?

For the record, I’m sure she’s a very nice person. And maybe add to the record that I’m glad she and I don’t work together.

Then my shopping experience ended with a final weirdness. I’ll skip the part about how long I stood in line at the register, and how the cashier tended to other things (that the “helpful” girl could’ve done) instead of handling my transaction. (Oh hey, I guess I didn’t skip it!) So my receipt prints, and the otherwise friendly-enough cashier just says, “Okay,” and puts my receipt in the bag and turns and walks away. It was bizarre–she didn’t ask if I wanted the receipt in the bag, nor did she hand me the bag or even so much as nudge it toward me. She just turned her back and went to something else. I stood confused for a second, thinking she was maybe grabbing something and going to come right back, but she didn’t. So I reached across the counter to take my bag and left. Whatevs.

Experiences like these make me wonder if I seem suspicious or odd, causing people to treat me strangely. ?? I don’t think so–I’m pretty harmless–but maybe I give off a vibe. Or maybe people are just weird.


From → everyday life

  1. Maybe it's a symptom of smaller stores. Say what you will about the huge evil chain retail establishments, but at least they're all about training and getting a consistent experience whenever you shop there (same applies to big restaurant chains; you may or may not like McDonald's but you know exactly what you're going to get every time you walk into one no matter where it is). Smaller stores, not so much.

    I went to a small specialty clothing store a few months ago and has a similar experience at the register that you did. It seems like basic customer service, but apparently it's not so basic. It's sad because poor or mediocre customer service doesn't really stand out to us very much; it's when someone is good that you take notice, except for certain places that are known for it, like Starbucks.

  2. Yeah, I don't know.. I feel the service at larger stores varies. But yeah, at least they do have regular training and think more about customer service (even if they don't deliver). There are lots of small places that don't seem to consider whether they're offering good service or not.

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