Posts Tagged ‘glare’

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

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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

NOT M-SIZE!

October 3, 2010

I’m trapped at the cash registers again, and there is a couple visiting from another country, as I find out, Korea.

There was a long line, and I call the next customers over, but the man is standing there staring at me. Other people behind him are staring at the back of his head. Then he starts yelling in Korean with an angry face. He’s looking at me, but I realize he’s yelling at the woman nearby, who is rummaging through a pile of shirts. He yells again, this time at her, tugging on her arm. I just stand there. Finally, she puts the shirts she was looking at, down, and they approach the register.

The woman comes, shaking a shirt, “I like this color!” But, her face is angry, mad. “I like this color!”
“Okay, that’s nice.”
“No, I like this color, but the size is wrong!”
“What size do you..”
“I like the color, but the size is wrong!”
“What size do you need?”
“It is the wrong size! I like the color!”
“Okay, what size do you…”
“I like the color, but the size is wrong! I don’t want M-size!”
“What size do you need?”
“I don’t want M-size!” She shakes the shirt at me, pointing at the Medium sticker printed on the shirt. “I like the color, but the size is wrong!”
I look at the husband, who is also yelling, but at her. I don’t understand what they’re saying, but I’m sure it makes as much sense as I’m hearing.
“This is the wrong size,” she continues, “I don’t want M-size!”
I just stand there, with my hands on my hips. “I know.”
“I don’t want M-size.”
“Yes.”
Then the husband finally cuts in, “No M-size, she needs S-size.”
“Small?”
“S-size!”
“M is medium, and S is small. She needs a smaller size?”
“Yes, she doesn’t want M-size, she wants S-size.”
So I go rummage through the pile, while asking for a stock check. I find an S-size in the same color, but it’s a crew neck, not a v-neck. I leave them behind me, so they can stop staring at me, and instead stare at the counter, or each other, or a nice wall, or whatever. I go into the stock room, restating our ‘conversation’, while a manager on break says, “Breathe!”
I just reply, “They can wait for me to come back, they want the S-size so bad.”

Customer Type: Guessing Game, Learn the Language

The Art of War in Retail: Flags and Signals

May 26, 2010

Chapter 3
Walkie-talkies- The best weapon of any General in battle. Walkie-talkies with headsets instantly send messages to others on the battlefield. Headsets help to keep communication private, and allows you to speak more clearly. Without a headset, you must develop more complex Codes in case the Opposition is listening. You can easily and quickly get others in motion to deal with situations and problems on the sales floor and registers by use of walkie-talkies.

Looks and Gestures- When engaged in battle, a General may need to rely on other ways of communication when speaking openly is not reasonable–most often when faced with the Opposition. Making eye-contact with another General on the field can help bring more reinforcements or supplies to ensure success. These looks must be understood beforehand, or a General may be left stranded and helpless, drowned by the Opposition. A strong, wide-eyed glare can often alert other Generals to the status of their colleague. Even using your eyes to point out something is useful. Gestures can also be used instead of Looks, although they are oftentimes more revealing in your intent; especially if you point, which is not often a good tactic to use. Many gestures can mean, “Save me! Bad customer!  or to say, ‘We don’t have any!’.” This includes a beckoning wave, a glare with a point, and shaking your hands in exasperation. Although this needs more training then walkie-talkie exercises, oftentimes this method is needed when engaging the Opposition.

Code-words- Many armies are prepared before battles with Code-words to mean anything from sales and discounts, to pointing out troublesome situations, such as shoplifters and unreasonable customers. Code-words are essential to verbal communication, as they only reveal a certain amount of information to the Opposition; yet they still provide more detailed information than gestures and looks. “The Benefit of the Doubt” can be one such code-word. “Can I get a manager to the cash register” is always a danger-sign, challenging the strongest Generals to come to battle. “Our friends are back,” can alert people to shoplifters. “These people need help,” when stressed differently can just mean they need help or mean they’re going to be a handful of trouble, so watch out!

Often, using a mixture of all of these techniques can create a streamlined cooperative system to deal with all situations like a well-trained army, which you are. You don’t ever want to end up in a situation, where you’re giving a Look, using a Code-word, and the other person is looking at you, asking, “What’s wrong with you?”

That’s Nice to Know, You Must Be Very Proud of Yourself.

April 5, 2010

I must try to contain myself as I write this, since today was one of those customers that make me question why I’m still in retail and why I put up with people, who in all truth, I would go up to and tell them what’s what. I’m not someone who would whisper to a friend, “Wow, she’s being awfully rude, don’t you think?” I point, and exclaim so others can see, since that’s what rude people want, right? An audience? I say, “You are being really rude.” There are people, like today, that make me want to be able to just quit, and do what I really need to do–put them in their place.

So this old, white woman asks me for capri-pants, the kind that go to your knee. As a fashion person, that description is… Do you know? Bermuda shorts. Those are longer shorts, that usually end around the knee. So I showed them to her, and she glared at me, “No, that’s not it!” As I try to explain what she asked for, she moves me aside saying, “Nevermind, I’ll ask her.” One, I hate gender discrimination, I don’t care how old you are, you learn to live with the times. The fact society moves in such slow periods is the fault of people like this, those people who ‘liked the old days better’. They have villages for you people who want to live your own way, capturing moments in time, but then, there sometimes they smother you with a pillow. Second, as I turned, I prayed, I prayed on Easter Sunday, that this woman wasn’t heading towards the only white female working on the sales-floor–because we have a diverse and multi-ethnic staff, and we live in a culture that is equally diverse and complex. Of course it was the white girl, and that makes it gender and racial discrimination.

So she walks to the girl, who is obviously busy helping other customers, and doing stock checks. I tell her, this girl knows panties and bras–without her turning to look at me, I get the response, “That’s nice.” I tell her, “I am the person that puts out the merchandise here.” And she turns to me, and says in the most sarcastic, sardonic, and rude tone, “That’s NICE to know, you must be VERY PROUD of yourself.” Then turns away again. Anything I say from that point is met with a, “That’s nice.” I hear her telling the girl as I walked away, “I used to shop at the old store before it closed…” With customers like you, it’s quite obvious why it shut down.

I have been dismissed. So I tell the girl, and everyone on the walkie-talkie, “If that woman needs any help, I have suddenly forgotten everything I know.” I was also so irritated, I was shaking, so I went into the back to breathe. But it didn’t help. I couldn’t work in that part of the store, so they switched me for over an hour. After which, the girl comes to me saying, “What was up with that woman? She was crazy, and she was a real b—-.” She went on to explain how the woman kept asking for things that don’t exist, like shorts that are tight at the top and wide at the bottom, know the name? I’m done handing out clothing titles for today.

This is the sort of person, I see as holding society back–making it backwards. The fact she has lived this long without someone correcting her–if I did not work there and I witnessed that, you can be sure I would have corrected her–this is more than the fault of her parents raising her incorrectly, unintelligibly, and narrow-minded, but also society for allowing her to grow and mature and be a ‘human being’.

My recent visit to New York showed me that I have been slightly naive in dealing with rude people. Some people are smart enough to know they’re rude. I consciously know when I am being rude, so don’t think it’s a mistake when I am. Nor am I that much of a buffoon to try ‘acting’ like it was a mistake when it wasn’t. Yet, it is a conscious choice. We make a choice, like in those awful Armageddon movies where the world is ending so we ‘unite together’. We know we can. We could do it this very day, this very moment, uniting as a civilization, but we don’t. We don’t see a reason to. And as much as we can act ignorant to this fact, we know we make that choice to be rude, stubborn, irresponsible, ignorant, and ungrateful as human beings. Each time we do it, we know we are in effect creating, prolonging, and nurturing the unevolved world and society that we live in. Each person we allow, each friend and family we allow to continue being this malevolent human being, is another candle that needs to me smothered so that one day, we can be a true and real world of human beings.

Customer Types: The Deaf, The Dumb, FashioNOTsta, Guessing Game, Lowered Expectations, Micromanagement, Modern Slave-Owner, The Racist, Sexual Discriminator, Tailor-Made