Posts Tagged ‘confusion’

32×30 versus 32×29

July 22, 2010

I am helping a customer. He is a man, and his male-partner is standing idly by letting him shop. The man shopping is wearing a pair of denim–waist 32″ and length 30″. He came out of the fitting room noting that it was just a tiny-bit too long. He asks his boyfriend what he thinks, but the man shrugs–obviously, he’s been through this before.  The boyfriend responds with, “You should get what feels right.”
“Oh, I don’t know, it’s just a little too long, don’t you think?” Turning to me, he asks, “Don’t you have anything just a little shorter?” I tell him we do offer both 28″ and 29″ inseams online. If he wishes, he can order them.
He turns back to his boyfriend, “Should I get the 29″?”
“If you think you need it.”
“Don’t you think this is too long?”
“It looks fine to me.”
“But,” he pauses, “What if I wash it and it shrinks? I don’t want it too short.” He turns back to me asking it if will shrink. I reply that it may shrink by a quarter-of-an-inch–mind you, this is 0.25″. “Oh,” his face is full of surprise, “That may be too short! I don’t want it to look like high-waters!” Because a quarter-of-an-inch is roughly a dollar’s worth of quarters, right?
He looks down at his feet again. The pants seem to be at the perfect length, and I tell him so. I even say, if he wears shoes with a higher heel, the length will make a positive difference.
“That is true, too.” He sighs. “I just don’t know. If I get the 29″ and it shrinks, then it will be too short. But I don’t want my pants too long, they don’t look right.” So, he pulls out his cellphone and he starts dialing. I’m not sure if he’s calling online or what. “Hello? Hello, are you busy? Good. I have a question. I’m wearing a 30″ inseam and it’s just a little too long, and I’m thinking about ordering a 29″ inseam, but it might shrink, then it will be too short. What do you think I should do? Should I order it online or should I just get what I’m wearing now and hope it shrinks to the right length?”
I look at his boyfriend and I shrug. The boyfriend rolls his eyes, smiling, as I walk away.

I return several minutes later, and either he’s talking to someone new, or the same person, saying he just can’t decide, it’s so hard! He hangs up, telling me, “I just can’t make up my mind. I’m not going to get any of them. Thanks for your help, bye.” He hands me several pairs of denim, and then they leave. Now, that was exciting.

Customer Type: Agreeing to Disagree, ESP, The Rambler, The Riddler, Tailor-Made

Shoplifter: How to Spot Them

June 1, 2010

Recently, some have challenged me, questioning how I can point out shoplifters–especially professionals. There are certain things you need to be a good shoplifter, partly I get this from observation, understanding, and my background in Psychology.

One of the most important things you need is a bag. You cannot steal unless you have a bag. I often give these people the opportunity to take off the clothes, mentioning it isn’t in the fitting room anymore, so I’ll save the room for them to finish changing. (Although there are some who will put on clothes and then walk out, but if you are aware in a fitting room, even on the sales floor, it isn’t hard to notice something isn’t right. I have also seen shoplifters walk out with entire piles of clothing. Once, a District Manager found her staff being lazy, so she actually moved an entire table out of the store, hiding it, then asked them, “What’s going on here? Why is there a table missing?”) I do not say people steal only with bags, but regardless, it is far easier to walk out of a store with stolen merchandise in a bag–unless it is a holiday or the salespeople are lazy, ignorant, or partially blind. I actually would think it’s disgraceful to steal from a blind person, but that’s my personal feelings.

As for bag-people, if they ask for a bag, you have zero-obligation to give them a bag unless they’ve made a purchase. Yes, I’ve made a shoplifter buy a pair of socks for a bag, just ensuring that he use his bag to steal from other stores than my own. A majority are left with the bags they have, which are generally easy to access with wide openings. Backpacks, yes, are left unzipped. Yet, others use shopping bags which are used and recycled far more than they should be. Others purchase special purses and bags for this purpose. Regardless, they should have a wide opening for easy access.

Secondly, a shoplifter has to know where you are. This is more crucial. If a salesperson is standing right next to a shoplifter, they can’t steal–and they can’t steal if they don’t know where all the salespeople are. (Once more we do have the blindness aspect, but that’s just crude.) This is one reason I move so quickly and randomly on the sales floor–you never know where I am or where I’ll appear. As some have told me, “You think there are people who generally don’t steal, but when they see no one is around, they are tempted to steal?” If no one is around, it’s our fault–or the fault of the staff on hand.

Shoplifters must pay as much attention to the salespeople as they do to the clothes, most often, they’ll spend more time finding out who works here and where they are located, before they can start stealing. Most customers don’t even see me coming, since I approach them from behind, surprising them with a greeting. Even shoplifters who are professionals, and know only to look for salespeople right before they steal something already catch the attention of a good salesperson–because that look almost always means, “I need help, where is a salesperson?” Giving the ‘look’, and then saying, “Oh, I’m just looking,” is already a warning-sign. If they are just looking, but not just looking at clothes, they have issues.

There are others who distract you by making you look away or get something for them. In this situation, it isn’t hard to ask someone else to get the item, while you wait with the shoplifter. I don’t know about everyone else, but I use my peripheral vision more than my center of gaze when looking at anything. One time shoplifters have distracted a coworker in order to walk out with a pile of clothing–literally, an entire pile walked right out of the store.

Shoplifters cannot help but act in a very particular fashion, even if they try to hide it. There are essential, basic needs they have in order to function, once you understand this, you understand the shoplifter. In the end, I still believe in the main idea–Treat Everyone Like Shoplifter. Give them good service, pay attention to them, watch them shop and help them by seeing what they look at, what interests them. Shoplifters can’t steal easily if you’re helping them the entire time.

The Art of War in Retail: Subterfuge

May 31, 2010

Chapter 7
Both side of the equation have their own sort of commandos, or ninjas, or assassins, who are specially trained to turn the tides effectively toward one side. These are often tricks of the trade, sometimes–with the Opposition–going into the real of illegal acts of war.

Opposition: Shoplifters- Some Champions are experts at waging war and devastation playing the “I want to speak to your manager!” games and “Well, they let me do it last time!”. Beyond these people are Shoplifters who are the assassins of the Opposition. Some Champions bend rules and break them thinking ‘The Customer is Always Right’, but Shoplifters always break rules and never in a way they can truly defend their actions. They can wipe out entire battalions without harming their army at the least–stealing entire tables of clothing if you don’t catch them in time. Although, a good General can generally distract and defend their armies from these assassins–most Shoplifters cannot act when facing a General, and a majority of them are powerless when they are not hidden. Weak Generals need training to be able to deal with these deadly warriors who don’t use traditional warfare in battle. Shoplifters have the ability to sneak in, under cover of anonymity, and slip out slaughtering numberless troops.

Salespeople: Jedi Techniques- The greatest Generals become Champions themselves using advanced techniques and tactics to ensure victory, even controlling the tide of battle. Some just use a force of will or coercion, sounding like Used Car Salesmen. Those of the female-gender seem to have an advantage against most genders–as females will trust the advice of other females, and males obviously prefer the attention of a female. Whereas females don’t trust the opinion of other males, and other men would rather have a female helping them. The worst of these men can take heavy, heavy losses from females trained in the Jedi arts–a movement, a glance, or a comment can force a man into a ravine, losing possibly hundreds of troops. I have trained females to use the weakness of men to their advantage–for if men wish to use women as eye-candy, ogling their bodies, then women should make men pay back. Even a prolonged look, or a look back while walking away can open a man’s pockets. Just grazing his shoulder while you help him, can leave him off-guard. I have had men tell them, “Whatever you want me to buy, I’ll get it.” That is a truly skilled warrior. Never underestimate a General with Jedi techniques, they know and understand the Art of War.

Shoplifter- Caution, Keep Clear

May 13, 2010

I’m walking near the front of the store and I see two women who look like shoplifters–and coworkers have said previously, “Don’t judge people like that!” and right after this a manager of another store said, “Did you see those two women, they just stole from my store!” I eventually found the stolen shorts thrown under a rack. I don’t know what’s worse–that I can spot a shoplifter or that they make themselves so obvious.

Okay, so, the shoplifters outside walk into a store right across from us, and I notice how they have this big, colorful shopping bag. When they leave, they aren’t carrying it anymore. Soon, I see another man leaving carrying that colorful bag–they’re tag-teaming! (Tag-team is when one shoplifter goes in to distract everyone, and then another less obvious shoplifter–who generally doesn’t dress the same–enters and steals while everyone else is distracted.) I watch the two women enter the next store as all the employees converge on them–I assume the women are loud and obnoxious. Either way, the man proceeds to enter the store and starts to throw things into his bag, and me and my coworkers are standing there watching, since I don’t know what to do really. Customers outside that store are just standing and watching as he leaves with his bags full of clothes.

Later, my manager says, “And all the customers in our store didn’t have anyone to help them.” As I think to myself, “Seriously?” If that were in our store, and has previously happened, she drags me out and tells me to follow them around and not let them out of my sight–what happens to the customers there?

I get off work soon after this debacle. I know the direction the shoplifters went, and I think about which stores would be the best to hit, considering the type of stores they visit. So I walk up, and lo-and-behold, there they are in a kitchen store ‘browsing’. Nearby is another clothing store where a previous coworker is managing, so I go in, and tell him about the women as they walk by. And I’m standing there pointing at them as they look at us, and they walk away.

I tell the same manager this story, and I get the reply, “I knew someone who was trying to be brave like that and he got stabbed.” Thanks? All I could really reply was, “I’m also packing.” Just don’t tell anyone.

Angry Panties

December 21, 2009

Today, I had a customer come to the register with a pile of panties. I tell her a sale started this morning, which she’s utterly happy about. We get along just fine, until I scan all of her panties. There are promotions: buy ‘X of full-priced panties’ for Y dollars (3 for $25, 4 for $30, etc.), and she only needed one more for that promotional price. I tell her this.
“But they’re all on the same table,” she states.
“Oh, I guess we marked some on sale, but they didn’t remove the sale from the table. Did you want to get one more of the full-priced panties to get the discount?”
“But they’re on the same table, it says I get them for that price! They’re all on sale, right?”
I’m looking at the sale panties which are cheaper than the promotional price. I push the button on my walkie-talkie headset, and I speak into it, “Can the person in the panty section make sure to remove the sale items from the promotional table immediately?”
“I don’t know why there are sale panties on that table.”
“Don’t worry miss, I just told them to remove the sale panties, it’s all being handled. Do you want to get one more of the regular priced panties for the discount?”
She agrees and heads back there. I tell the person back there to help to woman with the panties. Sadly, this was only partly effective considering my coworker didn’t hear me, nor understood what was going on. I only hear a faint, “What did you say?” on the walkie-talkie.
So the woman returns with another pair of sale panties, which doesn’t activate the promotion. (You need four panties for promotion, or the register won’t accept it.)
“Oh, you grabbed another sale panty, I’m sorry–”
“What? What are you talking about? She said they are all on sale! You aren’t making any sense at all!”
And my coworker from the panty section says, “No, these are on sale,” she points first at the sale panties, then at the regular priced panties, “But these are full-priced, but also on sale.”
I gasp inside my head, because now I’m trapped between a confused customer, and a co-worker that is just as confusing. I try to tell the woman she’s picked several sale panties, and a few full-priced panties. For the discount, she needs one more full-priced panty.
She starts to yell, saying I’m not making any sense.
Another cashier comes up to me saying, “What’s going on here?!?”
I’m already over it, and I say, “Okay. Fine. I will give them all for the discount price.”
And the customer says, “Good.”
“So I’ll mark them all up to the discount price, because the sale panties are cheaper. Okay?”
That seemed clearer than anything else I said, because the woman suddenly didn’t want me to give her the discount, nor was I willing to bend at this point since I don’t like being yelled at.
“Wait, these sale panties are cheaper than the promotion price? Oh! So you’re saying I just need one more full-priced panty and those will be cheaper?”
“Yes.” I think to myself, “It says four for X dollars.”
“Oh, I get it now.”
I ask her if she just wants one more black, since those colors don’t generally go on sale. I decide to run and get the full-priced panty myself. The woman leaves happily saying she’s sorry about the confusion and wishes me happy holidays.

Epilogue: So another cashier comes up to me after the transaction and says, “So when you were talking on the walkie-talkie saying you’re handling the problem, I didn’t hear anything. You weren’t even pressing the button.”
I smirk a little.
“That’s a veteran move,” he says.
I nod, and quickly run to take all the sale panties away from the promotional panties.

Customer Type: Agreeing to Disagree, Big Baby, The Deaf