Posts Tagged ‘denim’

Whereabouts Are These?

July 8, 2010

I greet a woman, telling her about our sales and promotions. She bends over to look at a pile of denim. She picks up one of these denim, from this pile. She stands there and looks at it for a moment, considering who knows what. Then, she turns to me, showing me the denim, and asks, “Whereabouts are these?”
I look at her curiously, thinking she’s asking me a trick question. But I sense no comedy in her tone, so I tell her, “Uh, it’s right here, you’re looking at them right now.” I pat the pile of denim ‘whereabouts’ she lifted it from.
She looks at me, expressionless, putting the pants down, and walks away.
What just happened?

Customer Type: The Blind, Capitalist, The Dumb, Guessing Game

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Wrong Color… Nevermind.

July 2, 2010

I do so love customers who will shout and yell at you like you’re dumb, but when they realize they’re totally wrong, they don’t even apologize, but continue to somehow act like it’s still your fault.

I’m helping customers with denim, and a girl says she wants this certain pair, but she can’t find it on the floor. I walk up to look at it, and it’s a gray denim–right next to it, folded are a pile of the same pants. This is an example of the miracle of merchandising, because wouldn’t you expect to find clothes from an outfit within viewing or grabbing distance of a mannequin or display? Of course, if you come from a world where everything seems to go wrong, and nothing works your way, then sure, you’d think the denim is somewhere else, taunting you, hiding from your grubby fingers, laughing mightily at your dismay; but this ain’t crazy-land.

I point at the stack, and say, “This is the denim you’re looking for.”
“No, it’s not.” She pauses, and I don’t say anything to refute her–I just have a face that says, ‘Oh really? Sure, whatever you say, I totally believe you.’ She makes a perturbed face, “It’s not! It’s a different color. It’s not the same color. Look!” She lifts it, shoving it next to the mannequin, with all the fury of a child. There are several moments of silence, as if we were remembering the departing of a loved one, or watching her pride shrivel up and dry like a tomato trapped in equatorial, noonday sunshine–but in that case, sun-dried tomato might actually taste much better.

“Nevermind,” is all that escapes her bitter lips, as she holds onto the denim and walks away, as if she were triumphant in some sort of one-sided gladiatorial match between herself and her shadow.

Anyway, I move on to something else, like instantly reciting the story to the closest co-worker for them to laugh and roll their eyes, to say, “Wow, the nerve of some people!”

Customer Type: The Blind, Unapologetic

Sizes to Diet For

June 22, 2010

There is this older woman, who comes in, she doesn’t really say hello, but she comes in the same time, the same day of every week, trying on the same pants. Whenever I knock on her door and ask how she’s doing, she doesn’t say much more than, “I’m okay.” Week after week, she tries on a denim sized 26-inches.  Every time, she says she’s okay, she puts it back and then she leaves. I wonder if she’s waiting for it to go on sale, or waiting to find the perfect fit–even though she’s only trying on one size. It never makes sense. I think it would be weird to walk up to her and say, “Hey, I watch you every week trying on the same pant, in the same size, why are you doing this?” I’m bold, but even that seems weird and creepy.

So I ask a co-worker about this woman, telling her the story. And my co-worker says, “Maybe she’s trying to lose weight, and she keeps trying to fit into that smaller size.”

Amazingly enough, I had a good reply, since I tried to help that woman recently. “Oh, her diet isn’t working out, because she’s trying size 28-inches now.” We both laugh, yet I have yet to solve her curious, curious fitting room ritual.

Flare is So Wide!

June 8, 2010

I’m helping an older woman who asks for a mid-rise denim with straight legs. I tell her we have skinny jeans that are mid-rise, but all of our straight legs are lower rise. (I mean, have you seen high-rise straight leg denim? It’s like a long tube.) She doesn’t want skinny. She doesn’t want low-rise. I offer her the next option, which are boot cut. Instead, she goes back to looking at the denim when I first approached her–a mid-rise flared denim. I tell her it’s flare, which is three-inches wider than boot and six-inches wider than straight. I tell her it like a bell-bottom. I tell her it’s the widest we have.

She stares at me blankly. “Well I just want to see it,” she tells me as she opens it. Then she gasps, “It’s so wide!”

Customer Types: The Deaf, The Dumb

Shoplifter Exam: What Doesn’t Belong?

June 5, 2010

Here is an exam to test your ability to spot shoplifters, by naming the multiple things these people did wrong:

I am standing at the front door greeting. I am very loud, and I also throw my voice–which is useful when I target ears. Haha. So I greet a couple that walks in, and I get no response–not even the look-away, where I’m purposely ignored (A). They stop and look at each other, speaking with eyes (B). The man and woman are very clean-looking, dressed slightly stylish (C). The man is wearing dark shades, and he lifts his hand to give her the bag he’s holding. She’s initially hesitant, but takes it (D). The bag is a large, huge, titanic surf-store bag which is very much empty; at best, it holds a few shirts (E). They continue to ignore me as I approach them and greet them again (F).

As the woman walks away, she passes someone who grazes the large surf-bag; she turns with a face full of anger, glaring at the other person (G). They go to the women’s department, and immediately find the first corner they can, between a table and a wall–there is little visibility here (H). I greet another customer, and continue to talk to this person as I pass from behind the couple to in front of them–they have already grabbed denim shorts and are holding it (I). I continue to speak, but there is actually no one else there–I’m talking to myself (J). My fake conversation takes me right next to the couple, as I point out clothes they are looking at; they have yet to acknowledge my presence (K). I also help a woman in that area, keeping myself there longer.

By this time, I have a coworker who can see them, but they cannot see her. I move with my back turned obviously, so they have time to look at me, and try to steal something while my coworker is watching (L). Then I turn around and continue helping people who aren’t there. The couple is intent on examining the denim shorts inside and out, down to the minutest details–literally–then they put it down and both leave (M). Nothing is stolen.

So, what were their mistakes?
A) Being ignored attracts attention, but it does not mean suspicion.
B) If you do ignore me when I speak English, yet you do not speak a foreign language to each other while trying to communicate–you do begin to arouse suspicion.
C) Nothing wrong here.
D) The awkward exchange with no speaking does arouse suspicion, but only slightly begging, “Why don’t you just say, ‘Take the bag’?”
E) The huge bag was the first, dead giveaway. The fact this bag is not even filled with enough clothes to merit a bag that size is also a giveaway.
F) The second time I am ignored is important, as they have aroused suspicion, even foreign language speakers cannot pretend to ignore me when I get this close and loud. Thus, they are trying to avoid detection acting invisible, yet making themselves glaringly obvious.
G) Her surprise, showed a highly defensive nature toward a bag which was not even filled with anything. Using the sunlight outside, I could only see a few shirts in there. Her surprise was a second huge giveaway. Plus, this isn’t a high-end shopping bag.

H) The important part here is they go to the women’s side, but in (D) he gave his bag away–generally, the woman gives her bag to the man when she shops in the women’s department. When couples shop together in the women’s department, men also carry the bag, because women to the shopping. Secondly, yes, the tight corner with little visibility is another giveaway as it is the best spot to steal.
I) In itself, no suspicion here.
J) They are trying very hard to be invisible, which means they will only look at me when they are prepared to steal.
K) By this time, even the most hard-headed of customers make eye-contact with me. So yes, it is suspicious.
L) My coworker wasn’t trained in the Art of War in Retail, so she didn’t get my hint I gave her, because I gave them 180-degrees of freedom behind my back. As they could not see her, but she could see them, it was a good opportunity to catch them stealing–but they didn’t know when I’d turn around, so that is also a deterrent.
M) Their examination of the shorts is excruciating. They spent too much time looking at it, and also examining the lining on the inside, which was actually where we place hard sensors. Their remarkable interest in the seam was lame and boring and far too long, they were obviously waiting for me to leave so they could steal. When I did not leave, they left instead.

I had wanted a better challenge than this, within the first five seconds they already gave themselves away as shoplifters and dug themselves deeper and deeper. You need to do a balance of normal customer and rude customer in order to steal properly–if you offend a salesperson, you have a better chance of making them go away. Think about it. Ignoring someone is not nearly as effective. Trust me.

I See It’s On Sale

June 4, 2010

I’m standing near a table folding, and a woman comes up to me asking, “Everything here, it’s on sale, right?”

Usually such a question is rhetorical, but here she points at a sign on a bench, then waves at a table near it. (Just so you can understand, there is a larger table where the main product is placed, and then there are lower benches near or around the table–like satellites, or moons around a planet.) One bench has a sale sign, and it’s half-hidden by the higher, larger table–so all you can see is the top of the sign, which says, “Sale”. You can see 3/4ths of the word.

I try to tell her the bench is on sale, but the table is not, otherwise a sign would be on the bench and the table. I show her what I mean by placing the sign on the table (which also says, “Sale, Select items”), saying, “This would mean the table is on sale.” Then I put it back down on the bench and say, “This means the bench is on sale. And it says select items anyway.” She keeps arguing with me, saying, “But I can see the sale sign from here! I can see the sale sign from here, that means everything is on sale.”

First, while her jaw is going ‘blah-blah-blah’, I’m thinking, “Okay, the sign is a little big, but it isn’t even on the same table. Well, actually, it’s been there for a while now, and she’s the first person to get confused in over a week, making problems, and getting weird about it. You know, some people live their lives causing this kind of trouble for themselves. They just create stupidity.”

Then, I’m thinking, “If a wall nearby says sale, it doesn’t mean everything in the area is on sale. You can’t point and say, ‘Well I can see the sale sign, that means everything is on sale.’ Who says that, other than this woman? Even when a window says sale, it doesn’t mean everything in the store is on sale.” We’re just arguing semantics, and a customer’s ability to demand stupidity. I tell her everything on top of the table is going to ring up full-price, because it is full-price, but the sale items on the bench, they’ll ring up on sale. It’s not like I can change that fact.

Yet, she goes on about being able to see the sale sign; that it’s misleading marketing; that I was trying to trick her into buying something that’s not even on sale; that now she doesn’t want to buy anything at all. I’m sorry, you caught me in my dirty tricks; I wanted you to take something to the register and think its on sale, as if you would not whine and cry when you get there saying, “I can see the sign!” I am left to assume such threats and insults work to scare someone into changing their mind, saying everything is on sale? I just shrug and say, “Okay, but if you change your mind all this stuff on the back bench is REALLY cheap.”

I remember telling my boss about the dumb, fat woman, saying she’s a size-12 and she wanted a new pair of denim on sale, because she could see the top of a sign nearby. My manager replies, “She’s not that fat!”
“Well, because she’s so dumb,” I tell her, “That makes her fat-ter.”

Customer Types: Big Baby, The Blind, Capitalist, Don’t Kill the Messenger, The Dumb

Under Denim Pants

June 2, 2010

I’m at the cash register and a woman is doing the ‘help-me dance’ right behind another customer–which is generally rapid back and forth movements right behind someone else, while ignoring the line and staring at me, waiting for eye-contact. So I lean forward and ask, “Do you need help?”

“Yes. I put something on hold.”
So I call over a coworker, while asking her, “What name is it under?”
“Denim pants.”
The guy comes up to me, and I tell him there is a hold, so he asks, “What name?”
“Denim pants.” The guy looks at me skeptically, so I turn toward the woman, and ask again, “Right? That’s the name it’s under?”
“Yes, denim pants.”
“Yes, denim pants,” I reply, “Go look.” I hear other co-workers nearby snickering, as I ask again, “Did you find it under Denim Pants?”

Eventually, he just finds her denim pants for her, and I tell him, “See, I don’t make this stuff up.”

Customer Types: The Deaf, The Dumb

For Shame!

May 19, 2010

As a testament to my statement that I can ‘Act More Korean Than a Korean’ I have a story to tell. It was the end of a long, irritating day, part of a long and irritating week. I already had two bad happenings, which I’ll write about later. Two Korean women come up to me asking if this ‘discount on denim’ works on their chambray shirt and denim shorts. And I tell them, “No, it only works on the full-length jeans. The computer doesn’t accept shorts or shirts. Only full-length.” After making sure they were clear, I went along on my way.

Several minutes later, I am in the fitting room, and I hear on the walkie-talkie, “Hey, does the discount work on a shirt or denim shorts?”
“No, only regular jeans.”
“Well they said someone told them it works.” I turned my head faster than the world spins; I’m quite sure the earth stood still for a moment in consideration.

I stalked out of the fitting room, straight to the cash registers; nay, I stomped, bashing floor tiles as I walked. I turned the corner, and there they were, the two Korean women, playing tricks. I go up to them, shaking my head.
“For shame, you lie. You know I told you it doesn’t work. For shame!”
The cashier turns to me, “Are you speaking to me?” She has just given them the discounts, which they know they should not have gotten.
“No,” I point at the women, “They asked me, and I told them it doesn’t count. They lied. For shame. Shame on you! How embarrassing you have to lie. For shame!” I continued to speak to them as children, shaking my head, and their only response was to turn away, looking down, because they couldn’t make eye contact with me. I also made the ‘tsk, tsk’ sound, just for emphasis. I will explain all of this later. I kept saying “Shame, for shame!” as they took their ‘deals’ and walked away. I will not be forgetting people who lie, especially using me for that cause.

So what just happened? Shall we explore it?
You see, many Asiatic cultures, especially around Vietnam, China, Japan, and Korea have ancestor worship. They live as examples of honor and respect for their family and those who came before them, this often includes anyone of their culture whom is older than they. My words were chosen correctly, because if I challenged them, if I said they lied in a different fashion, then they would have and could have yelled back. When have you not seen a Korean being lectured, who yells back and get obnoxiously loud? When they are wrong.

I spoke to them as a child, as they too have spoken to their children who lie, who do bad things, telling them to be ashamed of themselves. They have made their parents, their parents-parents, and all their ancestors who no longer live bear a sign of shame because of their actions. This I reminded them, by saying “For shame,” over and over, so they knew, they would get their discount, but at what cost? They lied to save a few dollars, that is embarrassing, it is disrespectful to me, and brings shame to them and their houses. All the spirits of their family will look down on them as they carry their disrespect and shame. All to save a few dollars. For shame. For shame!

They could not get mad or yell at me, as they have done. They cannot have long discussions and questions challenging this rule or that rule, as many do every single day. They knew they were wrong, and admission of this fact was their inability to look at me, or speak. They knew who was right and who was wrong.

As my coworkers gasped in amazement, I just shook my head. The older Korean women looked down, not making eye contact with me and walked away with their discounts and their pride broken. They’ll know better next time than to lie, especially to me or about me. I told my coworkers, those women will need to put out some extra oranges in their shrine tonight for the deals they got.

Customer Types: Capitalist, The Liar

Shoplifter: Tag Team Torn

May 18, 2010

A new shoplifter came into the store, but he was about as obvious as any of them. He walks around with his backpack open. He won’t make eye-contact, but he will constantly look around and check out where every salesperson is in the store. He often puts his bag down right under a pile of clothes he’s looking through. For him, he is a bigger man, not in very good shape. He is dressed sloppy, with an over-sized, dirty shirt, tattoos, and sunglasses with a hat. He’s entirely ready to change his look, while failing all the while. If they did have a guild of shoplifters, they’d need a different look requirement.

A week before, one of my co-workers was furious, because a tag-team hit her. She was told to watch the man, and literally, right behind her, the woman was loading her bags. This is the effective tactic of the tag-team–one distracts and one attacks. Read the Art of War if you wish for more insight. Actually, I used to train all my co-workers from the Art of War tactics to deal with customers as well as shoplifters effectively, but I haven’t trained anyone in nearly a year.

So I’m standing helping him, actually my manager has put us all on alert saying to keep our eyes on him and watch him. A woman walks by, dressed decently, warmly, and actually looks like she’s a visitor from South America, since she doesn’t reply when I speak to her, only with a shy, polite nod. I think nothing of her, until someone says, “That’s the other one!” Now, their tactic is complete–she doesn’t dress or act like a shoplifter of lore. If I were a warrior looking for a dangerous monster, and I see a tiny white rabbit, I don’t think danger; yes, I admit looks can be deceiving. Caerbannong!

I immediately realize she has the actions of a shoplifter, but a new one. When I approach her again, I realize she does speak English. I do several of my surprise tactics, rounding corners to say, “Hello!” which admittedly makes her jump. I also appear out of thin air when she tries to run into a fitting room, and I count her items–one, two pieces of denim.

To make herself obvious, she puts her bag down, open, facing the door, so you can ‘obviously’ see she isn’t stealing. What makes it curious is that she is trying to steal; the fact of this is revealed later. Putting her bag like this just puts a stamp on her guilt, it just means she’s being tricky about it.

She emerges with her two pairs and says she wants them, and then quickly walks away. Using mirrors, as I always do, I track her movements until she’s about to disappear–and I point in her direction to another co-worker. This time I make an err, as my vantage point is actually her vantage point, yet one rarely used–she saw me pointing at her in the mirror. Now, it’s cat and mouse.

Remember all those poor customers we ignore when we’re dealing with shoplifters? Woe is them. I refused to leave my area to follow her, which the manager was mad about, but  don’t give me sop stories about customers needing help, then expect me to ignore them to follow a lady around the store. Of course, she disappears, but out of sheer luck, another coworker passes her near the exit asking if we can put the denim at the counter for her. The shoplifter turns, and the plastic sensors drop out of the pockets. The woman shoves the denim at my coworker then runs out.

There we find two huge, torn holes in the denim where the sensors used to be. She had ripped them through the pants, basically ruining them–including one which was denim short-shorts. Yes, she was an amateur. They also said by the time she left she was shaking and trembling. Congratulations, I don’t think she’ll be coming in any time soon. At least, she refreshed my views on watching how people look and how people act.

Shoplifter: I Know You

May 7, 2010

One time, my previous store manager was walking next to a shoplifter. She told me to watch the woman, but decided to handle the situation herself.

“Hey, you. Yeah, I’m talking to you. I know you, don’t I? Yeah, I’m sure I know you.” And the woman keeps saying, no, she doesn’t recognize my manager. “Where are you from?” My manager starts naming different places, “Yeah, I’m sure I know you, I got friends all over. I’m sure they know you, too. I know your face, I don’t forget a face.”

I was standing there totally amazed, but my manager was quite protective of her store and her employees. She didn’t stop, until the woman stepped by the door, and pulling a pile of denim out of her bag, throws it on the floor–it was our denim she tried to steal. The shoplifter leaves, but after the door closes behind her, she sticks her middle fingers at my manager and starts to swear up a storm. I was thoroughly impressed. I have never gotten the chance to do this, but one can only dream, right?

So my manager casually picks up the denim, handing them to me, asking me to put them back where they belong. She smiles and then she walks away.