Posts Tagged ‘buy’

Retail: The Point

September 19, 2011

The Point is when customers come in, we don’t expect them to buy, we don’t force them–we hope they desire or want what we have to offer. That is our relationship. Somewhere along the line, stores started to add ‘benefits’ to attract the customer. Great customer-service is one thing, slavery is another, but when you add in things like commission, then you begin to enforce this erred system. If people know you areĀ benefitingĀ from their purchase, they know you are worth ‘money’ to them. They know you must cater to them, please them, and find them just what they want to purchase, so you make money off of this. Even in situations where there is no commission, but customers perceive you to be working off commission they treat you differently. They get offended when you’re too friendly, because they think it’s fake. They don’t want to feel like you’re forcing yourself to help them, and they often take genuine help as a sort of contrary–you can’t actually be helping them because you want to, can you? This is how far the simplicity of The Point has gone.

We no longer live in the purity of a system where we provide something you desire, and thus you purchase. We live in a system of competition, most often aganst other companies, but always against ourselves. With modern-technology, we question how many people have visited our stores day-to-day, week-to-week, and year-to-year. We scrutinize numbers, believing them to have the answers, like a Holy Grail. If in the age of mystery, legend, and magic, we could not find the often symbolic, mythical Holy Grail, we will definitely not find it in number crunching. Sure, we can contemplate how to get more customers into our stores. We can consider how to get more people to buy things, but in this process have we lost the Point? In all truth, have we lost the true Holy Grail, which was a simplicity of terms and ideals. It was not mystery and complexity, it was truth hidden before our very eyes. The magic is the fact its not hidden at all, its hidden in plain view.

The technological-age has given us and companies the idea that privacy no longer matters, that customers aren’t just customers while they are in the store, but anywhere and everywhere. We can argue our customers are wearing our clothes, and thus carrying our store with them–as conceited as that may sound. We can argue customers are thinking about our store, and having an online brand is essential to fulfill their needs at any time of the week, day or night. Are they our customers while they browse our websites? Maybe. Are they just our customers the moment they press the buy button? Surely.

The moment we ask customers to fill-out a survey, giving them our name, we lose the Point. If a customer deems our service so commendable to actually fill-out a survey, that should be entirely under their purview. In all honestly, our society and the people whom live within it have only learned to use surveys and reviews for personal uses, often as their own complain box. The impetus for a customer to write something positive is far smaller than it is to write a complain. If we could scale it, I’d say positives are worth pennies to customers, and complaints are worth dollars. They believe in the power of complaint and the smallest irritation is more reason to complain than great customer-service. Ask yourself, to you remember more the salesperson who finds everything you want, and gives you great customer-service or the one who doesn’t do it? Do you remember it because you expect this level of service, that you feel it should always be met and reached? And in all honestly, how often do you even receive this level of service anywhere you go? Yet, it persists in your mind. Yet, you still believe in this level of superior service, and don’t acknowledge the fact it happens far less than it should. Some people say we believe in luck as long as it happens at least once, even if it is one in every thousand. Do we believe in great customers service being the norm, too?

The moment we ask customers to sign-up for a credit card, we lose the Point. I can say any time a store asks me for a credit card, I can just reply with, “Do you have a credit card with this company?” Odds are, they will say no. Odds are, they’re trying to sell something they only ‘know’ about by reading and training. These people aren’t selling something they understand or use. This isn’t like clothing, where you can wear, relate, and communicate to customers to sell in something you believe in. On the rare occasion someone offers me a credit card and has on, we can have a real discussion. Otherwise, this is yet another conundrum retail has created for itself.

The moment we ask customers for an e-mail address, we lose the Point. Sure this is a new age, and a new step forward. We can now send receipts to customer e-mail addresses. Now they can never claim it has been lost–unless it’s a gift, which they’ll solve or have already solved. In the long-run, this will save more trees and create less trash in a world direly in need of eco-friendly methods and ideals. Yet, customers also know this is a step into the ‘privacy’ of their lives–will the receive unwanted e-mails now? Will your store intrude into their personal lives? Sure, you think they’ll think about your store more. Maybe you’ll get more customers to come in. Yet, do you have to ask them to give their e-mail to you? There are many ways to get e-mail addresses from customers, it is how and when you do so which makes a huge difference.

We do not ask for anything from customers, we never should. Our relationship is clear as water. We provide merchandise, we help them find what they want, we help them desire it, and we help them purchase it. The intimacy of that relationship ends then and there. Yes, customers become living advertisements for our clothes. Yes, they can use word of mouth. Yes, they are the power, the electricity that powers and keeps stores alive. Yet, they do so at their own feeling. They tell people because they want to. They’ll wear that perfect outfit when they feel like it. Do you not see, some companies will think of ways to force customers to share their ‘love’ with their friends, they’ll find ways to make customers wear their clothes. This is the greed, the want and the desire of the company, without putting into consideration the customer. This is where the clear water becomes muddied, thick, and filled with grease.

Those who truly understand the Point, these people carry the Holy Grail. This is the Galahad you want by your side. You want someone who understand to just help the customer find what they want. This salesperson will make the customer love what they want, because they love it, not because they have to. Not because they receive e-mails about discounts, not because their credit score is now under your influence, not because you give them the power to complain about your flaws. No, your Galahad will fulfill the needs of the customer and that is all you need. You don’t need to force-feed people to make them happy. Imagine a company whose entire wealth of popularity and fame is based on it’s customer-service–not slavery–but service. They don’t ask anything more form the customer than to see what they have, and to hopefully fall in love with it, and leave with bags of love. This is the company which will not fail. This is the company which shall survive. This is the company which desires to be reborn.

Advertisements

Coupon Literacy

October 28, 2010

I’m at the register, the bane of my existence, and we have special coupons, which give a pretty good discount on regular priced merchandise (You can read this as full-priced, non-sale items, etc. Yet, knowing society, people will choose the dumb options on how to interpret clear English. Because you know, they ask, “How long will this be on sale for?” And they could mean marked-down product–which never return to full price–or they could mean promotional items, which return to regular price eventually.) I got side-tracked, where was I? Oh yes.

A woman comes up with a bundle of items on promotion–read this as items on sale, because they aren’t regular priced if they’re not full-priced, right? (I mean today, I had to deal with cheap people who wanted me to mark items back to regular price, since they were on sale, in order to get the coupon savings, which amounted to roughly $1 savings. Congratulations for you! Big saver! Bring out a banner! I just love how special promotions bring out the sale-mongers who decide their I.Q. has dropped twenty points in order to shop.) Either way, I ring up the woman’s items, and I tell her, the register will remove the promotional price–thus the item becomes full-priced/regular priced; this is actually automatic–and then she’ll get the discount off the regular price. (This comes out to about $2 savings, lucky lady!) To which, the woman angrily yells at me, “How can you do that? Where does it say that? I want to read it!” (There really should be a test for people to be allowed to shop in person, with so many people lacking social skills. One question should be repeated twice, “Can you clearly read and understand your native language?” “Are you sure you can read English/native language?”) I point at the coupon, of all things, it isn’t even in the fine print, it says on the very top, ” Regular Priced Merchandise.” To which she complains, mumbling to me saying, “You should have made it clearer! I wouldn’t have even come in if that were the case. I wouldn’t have even bought this!” I love when it’s my fault.

If that is a threat, I don’t know if I care. Does it look like I have a thousand ripples of pleasure having to deal with your stupidity and lack of literacy where you can’t even read English? Do I really care if you’re trying to make me responsible for not only your greed and lack of intelligence, but also you pointing your finger at me as if it’s my fault? I didn’t teach you to read, nor did I teach you to use this lack of logic, nor did I make you come trying to money grub super-discounts and getting items for free. Some people actually do have to pay for their rent and feed themselves in this world, woman.

Of course, all I said was, “Please swipe your card.”

Customer Types: Big Baby, The Blind, Capitalist, The Dumb

What Size is that Mannequin Wearing?

September 10, 2010

A woman approaches me, because she wants a small-sized, purple shirt off a mannequin. I ask if she wants to look at the other colors, because we have several great colors to pick from.
“No, I don’t want another color. I want this color.”
I shrug, since she doesn’t want to even look at the other colors. I figure she really likes the purple color. So I strip the mannequin, putting the arms aside. I find the closest shirt right next to the woman, in small-size, and I place it on the mannequin. Mind you, it’s right next to her hanging. As I’m putting the arms on, the woman stops me.
“Wait, sorry, what size is that one?”
“Small.”
“I want that one, too.” She laughs. I chuckle a little with her, saying okay. I pull the arms off again, and hand her the shirt. She stands there watching me. So I get another shirt, small-sized, and I start to put it on.
“Excuse me, again, what size is that one?”
“It is small,” I sigh.
“Oh, can I have that one, too? Sorry, I’m being such a bother.” She laughs, and I just remind her there are several colors of these shirts right next to her. She just stands there watching me, and doesn’t move.
“Okay,” I whisper under my breath. So I get another shirt, I put it on, and guess what? Yes, she wants it. This time, I decide to just get a totally different shirt. Thankfully, she’s not interested in this shirt, and takes her collection away, as I finally slip the arms of the mannequin back into place.

Customer Type: The Blind, Micromanagement

You Don’t Work Here!

July 5, 2010

In my ears, I hear young people, teenagers, they are laughing. One of them audibly shouts, “You don’t work here!” They start laughing. I turn a corner to find them at a table of clothes, turning it upside down, and literally tossing it and flipping them around, while laughing. “It doesn’t matter, you don’t work here! You don’t need to clean it up.” All three of them are laughing. One of them, the one without his back turned towards me, looks at me and sees my gaze; it was more of a glare I use to melt ice in the winter. It is enough to stop his laughter and make him turn away suddenly. I walk away, and the laughter has ended by the time I walk by a second time.

One of them ends up in the fitting room, and I make sure to recite the story loudly in front of her room. My coworker gasps, insulted and hurt, saying who would say such a thing? What kind of people are like this? I tell her that’s just how society is raised, to insult and degrade each other whenever they can. People have no respect for each other and treat each other like dirt whenever they can. A vast majority are unevolved, and perpetuate this form of society, degrading people whenever they can.

Soon after, the girl came out of the fitting room, and bought everything she tried on. I made sure to pass the register and give her friend the same look he saw earlier.

Customer Types: Capitalist, The Dumb, Modern-Slave Owner, Unapologetic

I don’t want this anymore

January 29, 2010

This will possibly be one of my shortest stories of all, and then I’ll make it unnecessarily long. So we have a complex sale going on, which makes us take forever getting through transactions, especially when someone buys a lot of special items. Well, we had all our registers running, and trying to process people as fast as possible, and I tell the next person, “Hello, I can help you here!”

The customer comes up, and dumps a pair of super-sale items on the counter, scowling at me, “I waited so long, I don’t want this anymore.” And then she turns and leaves.

Oh. My… I’m devastated. I’m crushed! My world, my world is over! How could you do this to me? I can’t believe you’d hurt me so badly! *Rolls eyes*

Seriously, if you wanted to make a statement about the fact we were working as fast as we could, and that we’re losing out on your very important five-dollars, perhaps you could have asked for a manager? Even better, you could have grabbed at least some full-priced merchandise which cost a couple-hundred dollars, and then said, “I waited so long, I don’t want this anymore.”

Seriously? Even my mother will put a can of tomato sauce on the gum and candy shelf, leaving a grocery store instead of going to a cashier and saying, “I waited so long, I don’t want this anymore. Here is your can of $1.00 tomato sauce back!” Because you know, they’d do all they could to stifle their laughter and try to remain professional, saying, “I’m so sorry, please, please come back. Please buy this can of tomato sauce, because it really matters! Your purchase makes a difference! Please, I have children to feed!”

Seriously, get a life. You should have left after your first sigh, and saved yourself all those precious minutes waiting in line, to go outside and waste your life in other ways. Or, if you were smart, after waiting so long for your awesome deal, you could have… *gasp* bought the item! So at least you didn’t waste your time, genius. Wow, what a revelation! Seriously.

Customer types: Capitalist, The Dumb

But she gave it to us!

January 28, 2010

The cashier is away, and I decide to help these three women (against my better intuition), who hold about 18 different items in their arms. They give me a coupon that says, “Buy two get one free.” [In general, such coupons you get one set for each coupon, but also one per person, which it also says on the coupon.] So I give them their discount for their first three shirts. Then they push three more, without a coupon, and I ring them up. As I continue on, one of the woman stops me.

“Aren’t you going to give me a discount on those?!?”
“Do you have another coupon?”
“No.”
“The coupon is good for ‘buy two, get one free’, but for each set, you need another coupon.”
“No, JulyFrog gave it to me!” (JulyFrog is her nickname at work.)
“What?”
“JulyFrog let me buy as much as I wanted with just one coupon.”
“That’s not how the coupon works.”
“JulyFrog let me do it several times already! Each time I came, JulyFrog let me do it!”
So I call the manager over the walkie-talkie asking about the situation. And she says no, because the coupon says only one per three items. I tell the woman this, and again, she goes on about JulyFrog this, JulyFrog that. I see my manager speaking to a coworker in the distance, and I tell the woman:
“Yes, well JulyFrog doesn’t follow policy. The manager and I just returned from vacation, and we don’t break the rules. You should stop saying her name, because you’ll get her in trouble.”
The original cashier has returned. I explain the sitution, and she just shrugs, “I don’t know.” We all know I don’t break easily. So we continue to go back and forth, “JulyFrog let me. JulyFrog didn’t give me any problems. JulyFrog just let me do it!” JulyFrog, JulyFrog, JulyFrog!
So the manager comes in, and she says, “Well, I heard we were doing that, but after Saturday, we stopped.”
[I later found out, she was talking to a co-worker about the coupons, because other co-workers were giving people unlimited discounts. That is, until the store manager came along and said, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?! They need one coupon for each discount!” Then they stopped. I don’t know why my coworkers don’t understand–the more money we save, the more money we have for hours to pay their paychecks; the less money we make by giving things away for free, the less hours we all have–which essentially makes my coworkers upset in the first place.]
So I ask her, “Don’t you have more coupons?”
“I have a lot.”
Just great. Someone gave her a ton, so I might have to submit. I ask, “Where is it?”
“I left it at home.”
“We can put it on hold, and you can come back with your coupons.”
“No, JulyFrog let us use one, and we could buy as much as we wanted!”
So my manager tries to get them to pick the highest cost items to give the discount. Considering at this time, we are in super-discount mode, and they are carrying discontinued items that are practically worthless. Giving them away for free becomes a literal statement. I’m talking about $5 items here, that was once worth $50. I’m standing there thinking, “Do they want my co-workers starving? How cheap are we supposed to sell this stuff that we’re not making money?” I mean how far can you go with a discount? Seriously. How cheap and ridiculous can you get? Well you already know this answer.
“Well JulyFrog let us do it several times already! We didn’t have any problems!” As if JulyFrog is a manager. They couldn’t even ask to speak to the manager, because she was already standing in front of them saying no, she won’t bend policy.
Seriously, we should give you unlimited free items and then fire the cashier.
By this time, I do my usual, and I run away. In the distance, I still hear them arguing. I hear my manager saying again, “I’m sorry, after Saturday, they stopped doing it that way.”
“Sunday!” The woman screams, “Sunday! JulyFrog gave it to me on Sunday! Sunday, I bought everything I wanted, too! There was nothing different!” And even the manager asks them to stop saying her name, because they’re only getting my co-worker into more and more trouble. “But JulyFrog did it on Sunday!” Obviously this person doesn’t care about JulyFrog, only the discount–so in essence, she’s saying someone’s job is worth less than $5 shirts. Isn’t she great?
Several minutes later, I hear laughter. I find out that the manager let them have the discount–it’s one of her learned tricks, playing both bad cop and good cop at the same time. Just letting them off with a warning. And even then, the woman kept going, “JulyFrog was so nice. JulyFrog was so helpful.” And JulyFrog won’t be giving out free discounts like that anytime soon, thanks to you. Why don’t you tell the world to go to JulyFrog for free clothes. Dumb-ass.

Customer Types: Big Baby, The Dumb, Tattle Tale

Christmas is Over…

January 26, 2010

As of today, Christmas ended a month ago. People that come asking if we have more sizes of some random piece of Christmas clothing just need to stop. Seriously. I don’t have more XS women’s tops that are not price-killed. I don’t have more scarves. No, I don’t have that super-thick jacket anymore. Anything cool, cute or popular already sold out–some of them even before Christmas ended. I don’t feel like searching around, digging for some $3 item that you think you saw, that you hope we have hidden away somewhere. Give it up, I have a lot of that super ugly print Christmas sweater, you want one? For super cheap? You can let your dog pee on it as a blanket. No? I didn’t think so. Go away Christmas after-after-after-sale-bargain-hunters. (Or be like my manager, buying a lot of this super cheap clothes for people in Haiti that actually need it. Hello.)

Customer Types: Capitalist, The Dumb