Posts Tagged ‘ask’

Navy Ts.

February 23, 2012

I’m in the process of putting away clothes, and a woman stops me. She’s dressed in a basic T-shirt–and by basic, I mean one of those free shirts you get from volunteering at activities, not one you’d pay for as athletic and comfort-wear. She is also wearing an aged, khaki short, and dirty tennis shoes. I am telling you this because as a salesperson, you can get an idea of what your customer might be looking for based on their ‘wardrobe’–because many people come to shop in what they feel comfortable in. Some people will dress beautifully to shop, because they feel ‘comfortable’ looking good when they go out; the same with people who wear Ts, old shorts, and dirty tennis shoes. With this information aside…

“Excuse me, do you have any navy blue T-shirts?”
I stand for a second thinking about her question, and observing what she’s wearing, as I look around me. I answer her, matter-of-factly, “No, I’m sorry. We mostly have these shades of light blue, and these other shades, but no navy blue.” I point out the styles of T-shirts nearby, and the color assortment we carry. I tell her how the season is currently vibrant colors–and for those who know Spring, this includes pastels, etc.
She just looks at me, and turns, maybe 45-degrees. She doesn’t even take a step away from me, and asks the nearest coworker, “Excuse me, do you have navy blue T-shirts?”
Seriously, what the hell? I’m standing right here, I can still hear you. So my coworker takes her on a ‘journey’ around the store to show her all the shirts she ‘won’t’ want. By ‘won’t want’, I mean literally, I just explained her outfit, and my coworker is showing this woman all these frilly navy blue tops, and other tops which don’t match this woman and she wouldn’t even appreciate. Even worse, my coworker turns and asks, “Hey, this is navy blue, right?” Because the woman is arguing that it’s not navy blue. Seriously, if she doesn’t even know what color ‘navy blue’ is, why is she looking for it?
I answer distantly, “Sure, if you think so. Yeah.” I just walk away.

You see, as a customer, when I’m looking for something specific, I hate when salespeople give me the run-around and ‘try’ to push a sale on me showing me ‘other options’. If I ask for a silver cardigan, I don’t want to be shown red, white, or blue cardigans. I don’t want to be shown a mock-turtle neck. I don’t want to see polos, nor do I care about your specials or sales. I’m looking for a silver cardigan, if you don’t have one–say you don’t have one. Don’t waste my time. Let me look for what I need, and if anything, tell me where I can find my cardigan. Thus, I tell people if we have or do not have what they are looking for, and I give them advice where to look–if I know anyplace. I would not be like a coworker trying to show ‘other options’ which aren’t even what I asked for.

Customer Types: The Dumb

Advertisements

Extra-small! We Don’t Have Any!

November 5, 2011

This is definitely a short, yet telling-tale about day-to-day life in retail. I’m rushing back to the fitting-room with clothes a customer wanted, when a Korean couple stops me. They point at a tank top, telling me they want an extra-small. I point at the pile, all that we have left.
They look at me, and not in unison, say again, “Extra-small.”
“That’s all I have left.”
Again, not in unison, this time, yelling, “Extra-small!”
“We don’t have anymore,” I raise my voice a little, as I’ve learned it’s only fair and some people actually appreciate being talked to in the same tone they talk to you. Either that, or they give you some respect for keeping your dignity intact, I can’t tell.
“Extra-small!” They yell louder.
“There is no more!” I reply, but this time, I’ve learned to give that look, the one that crosses languages, the one that makes me a master of non-verbal communication, the one that says stop asking a stupid question, and stop demanding like you’re a child.
They reply more softly, “Okay,” letting me continue my journey back to the safety of the fitting room. Sometimes I feel like a fish trying to breathe outside of water, rushing to get back in.

Customer Types: Learn the Language

What Are You Going To Do About It?

October 31, 2011

There is a mother-son duo who often come in to shop. The son never wants help, and acts as brusquely as possible. Read this as destroying piles of clothes, ignoring any greetings, and leaving piles of clothes when he’s done trying on. Oh, and he also speaks to you like you’re worth about as much as dog feces. Yes, one of those people. His mother is some shy, quiet, awkward thing which sort of shadows him as he walks around being some dominant male. Oddly enough, from his stature and his face, you can tell he really isn’t dominant anything. If he weren’t so rude, I might actually feel pity for him because of short comings, yet the fact he comes into my workplace and acts like a beast is sad and irritating.

Either way, I’m in the fitting room helping customers, and he comes out of no where, demanding, “I need you to get something for me.” No, not, “Are you busy,” or “Can you help me, please?” He just glares at me, demanding help, because everyone else is cashiering. I decide to humor him, and ask what he needs. “I put clothes on hold, I want you to get them.” Alright, so he tells me his name, and I look in the holding area. There is nothing. I look twice, but there is definitely nothing. He’s standing nearby with his arms crossed, watching my every move, nearly glaring at me. I tell him I can’t find the clothes, it’s not there.

“What are you going to do about it?” He yells at me, and purses his lips, as if I’m supposed to suddenly grovel at his feet, beg for his forgiveness for my mistake–or my coworkers, or his mistake, and do what? Magically wave my hands in the air and make the clothes appear? I was tempted to do just that, and say, “Poof! Darn, it usually works, too! Sorry.”

Since I’ve worked out how to streamline my thoughts, we glare at each other for a few seconds. While my mind races, “Who do you think you are? I’m going to laugh, because they probably knew how much of a jerk you were when you called and decided not to even put your clothes on hold. Maybe they lost it on purpose, too. Or maybe you called several days ago and the clothes was duly put out as we are supposed to do. Of course, if someone puts it on hold here, most coworkers never put it out, so it must have been put on hold a long, long time ago.”

“Nothing,” I finally reply, and give him a blank, emotionless gaze, waiting for his reply. Instead, he acts like a little girl and gives some sort of deep sigh, moan, and groan, and throws his fists down, stomping out of the store as his mother follows closely behind. Oh that poor old lady, I’m quite sure he’s going to take it out on her after they leave, and she’ll probably have to buy him some ice cream, with a cherry on top. You know, sometimes, manners actually get you somewhere. There is actual truth in “The Right to Refuse Service”, but there are a lot of coworkers who would gladly slave and be treated like dirt, but in this case, I didn’t want to put anyone in such a position.

Customer Types: Big Baby, Micromanagement

Can You Speak Slower?

July 12, 2011

A customer approaches the cash register. He’s holding a large pile of clothes, and I ask, simply, “Ready?” Sometimes I can’t tell if people speak English, and he looked quite iffy. He didn’t look at me and walked by my register, then stopped and turned back to face me. “Are you ready?” What comes from his mouth in the next few seconds bewilders me.

He replies, slightly confused and slightly irritated, “Can you speak slower?”
Okay, so I tell myself, he’s just visiting and doesn’t speak English–although normally, people who don’t speak English can’t say, “Can you speak slower,” usually they say, “I don’t understand,” or “No English.”
So I repeat myself, this time, much, much slower, “You ready?”
He casually places his pile down, and replies, “Yes, my wife is still shopping. I’m going to pay now, and wait for her outside.”

Wait, what? Yes, what just happened? So he doesn’t understand, “Are you ready?”, but can spit out an entire on-going sentence about himself and his wife? Yes. So where did he need me to slow down? Was it the are, the you, or the ready?

Some people make no sense at all.

Customer Types: The Deaf, The Dumb, Learn the Language

When can I Return a Non-Returnable?

July 11, 2011

A woman comes to the cash register carrying three tops, all of which are on sale.
“Can I return sale items?”
This is a popular question and rather reasonable. So I look through her three shirts, and one says, “Final Sale.” I tell her, “This one is final sale, so you can’t return it.”
“I know that!” She snaps at me, “I’m talking about the other shirts!” She states this in a tone of my ignorance and the fact I obviously don’t grasp her firm understanding of logic.

Let me pose this question, “If a final sale item is not returnable, and a regular sale item is not returnable, what differentiates the two items?” Because this is the ridiculousness of her question, if she ‘knows’ final sale is final. So I ask you, “What does she think non-final-sale sale items are?” Perhaps they are non-returnable sale, unlike final sale, which are also non-returnable. Wait, that doesn’t make any sense!

I lift the two normal ‘sale’ items, and say, “You can return these.” I wanted to say, “I’m sorry, you can’t return sale items, but you can never, ever return final sale items.”

Customer Types: Don’t Kill the Messenger, The Dumb, Rhetorical, The Riddler

The Shorts on Sale

April 26, 2011

As usual, I’m minding my own business, and a woman comes up to me asking about our sale shorts. (You see, a sign says all shorts on sale 25%-off. All shorts on sale 25%-off. Do you follow? Good.)

“Excuse me,” she already has a stern, unhappy tone, “Which of your shorts are on sale?” She looks around at different styles. We have several.
“All shorts on sale.”
“All of them? Even those?” She points at a huge wall at the front of the store packed with shorts.
Hmm, obviously not the shorts at the entrance, what kind of marketing strategy would that be? Who in their right mind would have a shorts sale and put shorts on sale at the entrance? Silly people. “Yes, all shorts in the store are on sale.”
“So they’re all on sale for 25%-off?”
“Yes.”
“All of them?”
“Yes.”
“So how much are they on sale for?”
“25%-off.”
“Is it just 25%-off or an additional 25%-off?”
I don’t know what she even just asked, it’s like asking if the sun rises when the moon sets or the moon rises when the sun sets. I can think of a dozen ridiculous comparisons. So I just say, “An additional 25%-off.”
“Off of what?”
I’m starting to look around, because I swear, sometimes I think this is a game, and someone is recording my life for future comedy shows. “Off the price on the tag.” I give her a look like she’s totally confusing me.
“Oh,” she states, then leaves the store.

Customer Types: The Questioner, The Rambler

I Wear It While Fishing

March 31, 2011

I’m minding my own business, meaning I’m doing something, and a couple comes up to me asking if I work here.

“Yes, can I help you?”
“We are looking for a cap.”
Obviously, my first consideration is a baseball cap, as it is the most general.
“No, we are looking for a fisherman’s cap.”
I obviously know what a fisherman’s cap looks like, as I work in the fashion industry. “I’m sorry, we don’t carry hats like that.”
“You do!” She yells at me suddenly.
“Yes, we used to, like two years ago.”
“You have them now! They bought one yesterday from your store!”
“We don’t carry anything like that. Are you sure it was our store?” Just great, I’m working with hearsay from people who may or may not know what a fisherman’s cap is.
“You have them! It is a wide-brimmed cap…”
“I know what a fisherman’s cap is.” I also know I don’t like being yelled at for no particular reason. I consider, perhaps they don’t know what such a hat is. So I show them fedoras, and no, they yell, a fisherman’s cap, glaring at me as if I don’t know what it is. Seriously? This issue of customers thinking they know more about fashion than people who work with it every day is getting a little taxing. Also, customers who suddenly know more about the product we carry than the people who work there is a little daunting, and excessive. I just tell them that no we don’t carry it.

So to prove me wrong, obviously, they get their cell phones and call their friends. By now I am left to assume they didn’t go to this store, but another one of our stores. After getting off the phone, they instead decide to ask for the same hat from another, much newer coworker. At the same time, I ask our merchandising people if they know of any ‘fisherman’s hats’ that are supposed to be here or coming in soon. No one has any idea what they are talking about. And for some reason it turns back upon me to call another store to see if they carry this elusive hat. As the couple is standing there staring at us, I decide to go into the back of the store to make my phone call.

So I dial the number.
“Hello, thank you for calling, how can I help you?”
“Hello, I’m calling from another store. I was wondering if you could find an item for me.”
“Okay, what are you looking for?”
“A fisherman’s cap.”
“Excuse me?”
“A fisherman’s cap. It has a wide-brim.”
“We don’t carry that.”
“I know. This couple is here saying they bought one from your store yesterday. They said it was wide-brimmed. I showed them everything we have, like fedoras, baseball caps, military caps…”
“That’s the same things we have. We don’t carry anything like that. I’m sorry.” We both laugh a little, awkwardly.
I thank her for her time, saying I kind of expected this. She says to try the children’s department, which is where we have wide-brimmed hats for kids.

I find the merchandising person again, and we locate the children’s version of a safari hat, which is as close as you can get to a fisherman’s cap in our store. I try to tell the woman this is the only hat we have, but she only looks at me and walks away. So I have the merchandising person find her and show her the hat, since she’s obviously ignoring me now. So they talk, and the merchandiser comes to me.
“You know what she said?”
“What?”
“She said she’s looking for a beanie.”
Okay, sure. Because obviously, whenever I go fishing, I wear my fishing beanie–the wide-brimmed style. You know it’s all the rage among sports fishermen. I’m sure it was featured in a fashion magazine recently. Thank you very much. Shall we top it all off? Yes? She also signed up for a credit card! I swear to you, we promote the most irritating of customers to keep coming back to our stores.

Customer Types: Don’t Kill the Messenger, The Dumb, FashioNOTstas, Guessing Game, Lowered Expectations, The Riddler, Unapologetic

What Are You Wearing?

April 20, 2010

Once, I encountered a customer with a scent which was amazing. I like cologne, and I like finding a unique scent. I was caught following this customer, trying to discern what was it about this scent; he just smiled at me and walked away. Still, I floated nearby, trying to guess it. It was floral, yet it was like the air; like the ozone I smell sometimes. I know I’ve smelled it before. This wasn’t the normal cologne I’ve smelled at the beauty store. I couldn’t think how to ask appropriately, until I was at the register. It was now or never.

“What are you wearing, it smells good.”
“What? I’m not wearing anything.”

My face went blank for a moment, I didn’t know what to say. At first, I thought he was joking. The more I thought about it, I did remember smelling this scent before. Some people have a more pungent version of it, which is like bleach. His was aromatic. This made me wonder what people eat or if it’s just their ethnicity that makes them smell certain ways. I kind of wished more customers smelled like this when they want to be natural and wear nothing, even though they are sweaty.

Friends, Family, Countrymen…

February 19, 2010

I can’t handle people who are rude, dumb, or senseless, coming into the workplace of one of their friends (or family members), acting like they own the place, saying, “Is my friend working today? I want to complain!” Now, if a friend comes into the store and is courteous, sensible, and acts totally respectable, then some coworker is rude to them, I totally understand–complain away and get them fired. But when a friend walks in acting like a jackass and then complains because people aren’t bowing down to them just because they ‘know a manager’, then they have issues. I’m speaking of ‘Big Baby’, ‘Capitalism’, and ‘Modern-Day Slavery’ issues.

I tell people, if my own mother came in and acted rude to my co-workers, I would yell at her in front of everyone.  If I have a friend that’s a jackass, my friend is never allowed to come in. I even warn my friends, “If you are coming in today, behave yourself, or I will kick you out.” We have enough rude, obnoxious customers, we don’t need more–especially if they’re going to make a bad impression on someone who works there. You degrade the status of your friendship, and your worth as a human being. I expect more from people who are my friends, they aren’t my friends because of pity or circumstance–at least you can choose friends, you no power to choose family members who ‘aren’t embarrassing’, like the aunt who tried to use her nephew’s employee discount, “I am a customer! I can do what I want!” Not really.

In all of this, I’m often told how nice and courteous I am when I’m shopping at other stores. Because I really believe there are certain social graces you should have when you walk into a place of business. There is a certain level of respect and dignity you should give and take.  My friends are surprised I’m not rude or sarcastic when I’m shopping. Yet, the moment I run into a rude customer anywhere, I pounce. Rude customers think they’re better than salespeople. What does a rude customer do when they meet their ‘equal’? From my experience, they gasp in surprise, and then walk away with their tail between their legs–just like bullies in high school who have self-esteem issues. Think about that for a moment. Go on, think.

The bottom line is this, all of my friends and family know, you do not walk into the place I work and act like you’re god’s gift to mankind. I don’t except other people’s friends or family to walk in acting like they’re special. If you want to feel like you’re better than someone else or own them, I recommend a spa-package somewhere where they must treat you like a princess, or perhaps a time-machine to older days that no longer exist which involved whips and plantations.


What Size Do You Wear?

February 19, 2010

It’s a busy day, there are a lot of customers asking for help. I’ve learned to avoid co-workers that have questions from customers and try to ask me for either help or opinions. Suddenly, a co-worker waves me over, because they’ve been trying to decide on her husband’s size–saying I am the same size as her husband. I have no stands or walls or fixtures to duck behind. I’m caught!

“What size do you wear?”
“Small.”
The woman looks at me in disbelief and shakes her head at me, “No, you don’t.”
And I look at her, while holding clothes for another customer who is waiting for me nearby, and I make a face with fiery eyes.
“You can’t be wearing small,” she says.
And I’m thinking, “Am I fat? Do I look fat? Are you telling me I’m fat? Because that’s really rude.”
“My husband wears medium. There’s no way a small would fit him,  but he’s your size,” she gestures at me.
And I”m thinking, “Then why are you asking me what size I am, if you already know what size your husband is?” Is it my responsibility to make your husband grow up and stop dressing like a kid, wearing clothes that actually fits him because he’s no longer going through growth spurts–which is generally why parents buy slightly bigger clothing. Or perhaps they were hoping he’d keep growing since he’s only a small, but after twenty years, you’d think it would sink in. And this woman definitely doesn’t look like she’s married to a rapper or a baller, whom over-exaggerate the idea of wearing big clothes which actually make you look smaller.

Listen, if the seam on the shoulder of your shirt is hanging more than two-inches over your shoulder, you’re probably wearing your clothes too big. Sure, you want to be comfortable, but did you know different companies make different widths and lengths of the same size for different target markets? A lot of what people consider ‘thug’ clothing will have larger than average sizes (either wider or longer, while still being correct at the seam), just as much as athletic stores will make more slim-fitting clothes for their athletic styles. It’s called fashion sense. Think about your shoes, even if you need a narrow or wide fit, do you get it two-inches longer than your foot?

“If you know what size he is, you should get him the size he usually wears.” And I turn to my co-worker, “You don’t need me here if she knows what size she wants.” Then I walk away. I hear the woman asking to for one of her manager friends–who is away on vacation–so she can complain about me.

There are sensible people who ask me what size I wear, and they see my clothes fits perfectly fine (it fits as it should fit), and they ask what size I wear, and they accept my answer–seriously people, it’s the size I wear. I’m not some baboon working at a retail store, lacking fashion sense–it’s generally the people who don’t work around fashion or avoid going near retail stores whom lack this sense the most, like her husband. Then there are those people who ask what size I wear, and look at me like I’m lying to them, then buy a size larger. That’s why I’ve learned to just point at a mannequin and say, “He’s wearing medium.” It keeps me out of the equation of insults.

Customer Types: ESP, The Riddler