Posts Tagged ‘clothing’

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

Step on that Ruched!

December 3, 2010

I answer a phone call, and the person on the line says, “Hello? I’m looking for the roach top.”
I stand there for a second, and repeat “Hello?”
“Hello?”
“Are you looking for kids clothes?” I mean, I can’t think of any roaches, maybe grasshoppers or ladybugs.
“No, I’m looking for a womens top. It’s a roach top. Mine is too small, I need a medium or large one, preferably black, but I’ll take red, too.”
I pause for another second. “Okay, let me put you on hold.” I ask around, “Hey, there is a customer looking for a roach top. Does anyone know what that is?”
“Do you mean ruched?” When an item of clothing is ruched generally the top is folded over onto itself creating a look similar to curtains or pleats, some people would consider it ruffles or petals.
I take another moment, and realize, “Oh!” At this point, we all laugh, and start to make roach comments. “I need help finding a big roach. No, that’s not big enough. I need a medium or large black roach. Did you find my roach yet? My customer needs a roach now!”
After the laughter has died down, I pick up the phone, “Yes, I have your roach top. I found some gray, too, just in case.”
“Oh, thank you!”
No, no, thank you.

Customer Type: The Dumb, FashioNOTstas

Turtle Pull

November 5, 2010

Once again, I find myself stuck helping a snobby duo–two women who are dressed like they want to impress, but just look excessive in the act. Can you guess they aren’t pleasant, they’re demanding, and treat you like you’re just there to serve? Very good, then you may proceed.

I help find a turtleneck sweater, after she lists a laundry list of requirements which it passes. Is it wool? Is it cotton? How heavy is it, I don’t want it too heavy. I don’t want it too thin either. Do you have a lot of colors? How much does it cost? Is it expensive? No, yes, light, not too light, lots of colors, on sale, not expensive.

So finally, she tries on the sweater, with her friend giving positive and negative comments–which is always useful, don’t we always want friends like that? “It looks good, not great, just good, do you like it? It looks like it will keep you warm enough, but are you going to be cold wearing it?”

Either way, the woman grabs the neck of the sweater saying it’s too tight. As I watch, she starts to pull on it as hard as she can, pulling, stretching, yanking, tugging. I can hear threads breaking from where I stand. “It’s too tight! It’s so tight, don’t you have a looser one?” I think to myself, “If it’s looser, it isn’t a turtle neck.” I say, “I only have cowl necks,” which I gesture, too. These look like stretched out turtle necks–just like what she’s doing to my new sweater! “No, no, that’s too wide!” So after stretching it out, breaking the threading, she hands it back saying she doesn’t want it, and they leave saying, “It’s just so hard to find what I’m looking for. This place usually has it.”

What, we have what dreams are made of? Once you’re actually rich enough to act like that, you can buy your own tailor.

Customer Types: Capitalist, The Questioner, Tailor-Made

Inner Beauty, Ugly Folding

October 31, 2010

As I watch people shop, I get an idea or a glimpse of who they are inside. There are some people with perhaps compassion or sympathy, understanding or wisdom, whatever it may be, it affects how they shop in a retail store. Some customers browse throwing everything up into the air, destroying neatly folded piles, acting like clothing grenades. There are other people who carefully lift piles to find their size, and they attempt to put back the clothes the same way they found it–even if they don’t do it perfectly, they do try.

The beautiful folders may have worked in retail, often saying they used to and they totally understand how frustrating it is, and how chaotic it can be, especially with customers. Then there are those people who have no idea. Either they were born with a total disregard for the world of retail. Some people use shopping as an outlet for their irritation and stress. Some people see it as revenge for their time working in retail–now they don’t need to be the one folding. Others see it as the benefit of modern day slavery–these people are here to serve you, even if you buy nothing, so you might as well belittle them and use them to the extent of your money’s worth, you don’t need to give a damn.

This shows the depth of one’s inner beauty, which is often reflected in so many other places and ways. We watch all those television programs with people who try to look beautiful but in the end, you pity them, you hate them, you wish no good to them–they are jokes, because they don’t even know they are. As I walk around the store, and I watch the people throwing clothes around mercilessly, as if they were giants on a battlefield of gnomes, I kind of pity them for their lack of understanding–being able to see outside that one-foot shell that surrounds their ‘reality’. There is no guarantee those kinds of customers will buy more or less. Just as much as there is no guarantee a customer who is kind and nice will buy more. Yet, one customer will be far more enjoyable to work with, because you already know on the inside if they’re beautiful or not. The ugly ones are rarely the nicest people you’ll meet. The ugly ones really show how ugly they can be, once you start to help them.

One time, I left a fitting room with clothes I didn’t want, and the salesperson was amazed, saying, “Wow, you even folded it perfectly!” Yes, because maybe I’m beautiful on the inside. Or maybe I’m not some selfish moron who adds ever so slightly to the chagrin and nastiness, the bitterness and irritation of the world. Every one of us, every moment, has an opportunity or a chance to stop negativity, even in the smallest of ways. Very few of us realize this.

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

Department-Sized Table

October 27, 2010

A customer is lost, and I approach her and her daughter. “Are you looking for something?” She tells me she’s looking for the children section. I point in the direction where it is, only twelve-feet away. There is a huge doorway, where you can obviously see children mannequins and kid’s themed items. First, she goes toward a mirror, which I find odd. I tell her, “No, it’s straight, keep going.” So she walks, stopping one-foot away from the kid’s department and looks curiously at a cabinet of adult merchandise. She has a surprised, confused look as if, “What? This doesn’t look like kid’s clothes.” I’m standing there thinking, “Yes, the entire department fits in one fixture.” She looks back at me with a face saying, “This isn’t kid’s clothes.” Then her daughter proves to be the one with the brains, pointing at the kid’s department only a foot away. “Oh!” The mother exclaims, turning back to thank me. She waves as her daughter pulls her away. I roll my eyes without rolling my eyes and tell her, “You’re welcome.” Then I go back about my business.

Customer Service: The Blind, 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

The Art of War in Retail: Tactics- Good, Better, Best

May 30, 2010

Chapter 6
As with any battle, you can make decisions and choices which have an impact on your plan of attack–we can call it good, better, and best. A good attack is taking the Opposition by surprise. A better tactic is to do so under the cover of night. The best strategy would be doing so from higher ground.

Salesfloor- I say, on the battlefield, bad tactics involve ignoring the Opposition, allowing them to devastate your battlefield and your troops without mercy. A good General will at least meet the Opposition in honorable greeting as they enter the battlefield, so they know who you are. Better Generals will offer a parlay, using their skills to lower the cost of battle, and ensuring as much of a victory as possible; you do this by offering suggestions, using techniques and distractions to keep devastation to a minimum. Some of the best Generals directly engage the Opposition, cutting their loses extraordinarily, giving great customer service, building sales, putting clothes directly into the Opposition’s hands–by doing so, you pick your battles, and limit excess waste.

Fitting Room- The fitting room is often where one-on-one battles take place against Opposition Generals. It is like a battle in a valley full of caves. Many times, there are many casualties, and these casualties are often damaged beyond repair, never again to see the battlefield. Bad actions in the fitting room include ignoring the Opposition as they creep in, ignored, and they rape your Soldiers, leaving them battered, a wreck. Good is just acknowledging the Opposition as they enter the valley, and then pointing at an available cave–without seeing what the Opposition is carrying with them, or ways to win. Better is taking the Opposition and leading them to a particular cave and noting the Troops who are about to enter battle–by seeing what clothes they are carrying, you have an idea how to help them, what they are looking for, and other options that may be available to them; knowing what size they have is also an advantage to give you greater control over the situation. The best General will do this, and notice the troops, supplying reinforcements and other troops to enter the battle in order that you survive and win the battle–these people engage heavily, finding out as much as they can. Such wars may leave many Soldiers defeated, yet also helps to ensure that the Opposition doesn’t walk away empty-handed for their troubles. By finding out what you can about the Opposition, you find their weaknesses, how to defeat them, and triumph over their armies of cash and credit.

Any good General will observe closely the Opposition Generals as they enter the battlefield. This includes what they are wearing, how they dress, what they look at. This can also include direct engagement finding out what they are looking for, whom they are fighting-shopping for, and any other pertinent information, especially sizes. Such information is crucial and important as a way to outmaneuver and win successfully with as few losses as possible.

The Art of War: Tactics- Good, Better, Best

Chapter 6
Salesfloor- I say, on the battlefield, bad tactics involve ignoring the

Opposition, allowing them to devastate your battlefield and your troops

without mercy. A good General will at least meet the Opposition in

honorable greeting as they enter the battlefield. Better Generals will

offer a parlay, using their skills to lower the cost of battle, and

ensuring as much of a victory as possible. Some of the best Generals can

face the Opposition and have complete control over the battle, cutting

their loses extraordinarily, giving great customer service, and even

hand-picking which Soldiers must battle.

Fitting Room- The fitting room is often where one-on-one battles take

place against Opposition Generals. Many times, there are many casualties,

and these casualties are often damaged beyond repair, never again to see

the battlefield. Bad actions in the fitting room include ignoring the

Opposition as they essentially rape your soldiers and leave them battered,

a wreck. Good is just acknowledging the Opposition and pointing at the

battlefields that are available. Better is taking the Opposition and

leading them to a particular battlefield and noting the troops who are

about to enter battle. The best General will do this, and notice the

troops, supplying reinforcements and other troops to enter the battle in

order that you survive and win the battle. Such wars may leave many

Soldiers defeated, yet also helps to ensure that the Opposition doensn’t

walk away empty handed for their troubles. We too can attack their green

army.

The Art of War in Retail: The Opposition

May 28, 2010

Chapter 5
The Generals- The primary opposition is other Generals who lead their armies–cold cash, credit cards, and debit cards–into battle against your armies of clothes. It is critical that you use all your tactics and your terrain to your advantage. Your troops must be well folded, sized, and prepared for battle. Some Generals are easier to defeat, but some will cut up and defeat entire battalions of Soldiers–it is up to you to distract and move these Generals into new battlefields against Soldiers who can take more damage. Your primary goal is to take as few losses as possible before you capture their army of money–thus the greatest sales Generals engage in direct contact.

The Champions- These are key Generals, ones you can automatically notice as they walk into the battlefield. Some of these Champions have huge armies, with a fat wallet lined with designer accessories–they will buy up handfuls of clothes. Some of these Champions used the dirtiest tactics to defeat as many of your soldiers as they can, with as little damage to their armies as possible–these people search for super sales. Champions are often seen on the same battlefield many times, and many sales Generals can point them out in battle. The very worst Champions are the ones who come the most, and bring devastation in their wake, time and time again. These bad Champions confuse multiple sales Generals, destroy entire battlefields, and wreak havoc on the self-esteem and psyche of all who challenge them.

Siege or Parlay? Yet, even in this, there are some Generals and Champions that only come for parlay, they wish no siege, no prolonged wars. Some Generals will come with organized battle in mind–often called a shopping list–willing to trade equally in their army with your army. They are like Valkyries of Valhalla, taking your Soldiers to a better place, with the honorable death of battle on their breath.

The Opposition must be known and understood. Often, the best advice is to put yourself in their shoes, even if they rarely ever place themselves in your shoes. If you understand the Opposition, you can understand your place in the battlefield even better.

The Art of War in Retail: Distraction (Marketing and Selling)

May 28, 2010

Chapter 4
Distraction is the art of stalling, even redirecting Opposition as they enter the battlefield, often slowing them down, confusing them, and making them less wary of your advances.

Sale Signs- A great way to distract the Opposition, especially before and just as they enter the battlefield. These are visual aids prepared on the battlefield to move the flow of traffic in a certain direction, they can catch the eye, catch the interest and turn the Opposition’s attention in that direction. In this way, you can also fortify your troops in those locations before the Opposition arrives–because you are expecting their arrival. With knowledge of Terrain and Streams, you will also know where best to place Sale Signs. Many times this can turn a dead-zone into a place which says, “Hey, attack here!”

Sale Shouts- You can also ensure you win a battle by announcing a sale at the right time, depending on the skill-level of the Opposition such a tactic is very useful. Many cannot resist the lure of a sale. One of the best Code-words, or statements is, “This is very popular, we only have a few left, you better get it now, or it will be sold out later!” “I see you looking at these shorts, you should check out these, too, because they’re very popular and they just went on sale!” You give urgency and attention to the products you want, thus moving the flow of traffic. You may even bring one item to show them, like bait, attracting them elsewhere.

Displays and Mannequins- Visual displays are supposed to present the Opposition with a battle-plan which you are prepared for. Perfect outfits encourage the Opposition to attack where you want them to and what you want them to. In this way, you always want to make sure the best Soldiers are presented–troops you have a lot of and have trust they will sell–and when they are defeated and taken away, another Soldier must be ready and worthy of the replacement.

“Have you seen?” Homework- Often, when troops are devastated or their numbers are dwindling, a General must redirect traffic, altering the stream when possible. In this way, a General can take note of which Soldier is being attacked, and other possible troops who can take similar damage–is one cardigan running out, find the next best cardigan, and send the Opposition to battle against it. “Have you seen?” works very well at redirecting traffic. You are the General, and you should know best what Soldiers you have available, and when you should send those Soldiers into battle.

The art of distraction also comes down to noticing what the Opposition is wearing–their style, the colors–and pointing out similar options as a way to expand their wardrobe. Many people enter the battlefield revealing everything about themselves before they even speak–use their information to your advantage.