Posts Tagged ‘help’

Smacked by a Customer

December 29, 2011

This isn’t a story of abuse, but one of indecency and a lack of social etiquette. Mind you, I have been clapped at like a dog, and waves to come like a dog; I have had someone pound their knuckles on the register demanding me to apologize for something I didn’t do; been mistaken for a skinny Chinese boy by an old woman who was obviously racist; been told the fact I have a penis means I can’t help them find clothing, I can go on about two-hundred times more. Either way, this is the first time I’ve actually been physically touched my a customer, which basically ruined the rest of my day.

I was calmly going through the crowd putting away clothes, greeting people and helping them. I wasn’t hiding, nor was I trying to be invisible. Out of nowhere, someone smacks my arm, and I’m thinking it’s some old friend. Instead, it’s a customer I don’t think I’ve seen before, but I’m sure isn’t a regular, yet also looked vaguely like ‘they all look the same to me’.

After she smacks me, I look at her, and she say, “I need the sweater in the window, there!” She points. I just stand there, speechless, as she walks to the front of the store. She looks back at me and waves me to follow. I had half-a-mind not to, but human decency and manners is something I’ve learned human beings don’t really learn, and when they do, they consider it something they can turn off and on when the situation befits them. She shows me a sweater, I don’t even look at. I tell her someone will get it, because I’m definitely not going to strain myself in the least to help someone who speaks English, and couldn’t just say, “Excuse me, I need help,” or the usual, “Do you work here?” Someone who can communicate in my own language, but their best form of transmission is by hitting you–this says a lot about her home situation and childhood, all wrapped up like a present to the world.

I get someone else to help her, so she can annoy and irritate them instead–which she does, because you can always tell when ‘they’ll be one of those people’.

As an added story, this automatically brings to mind a situation where a customer demanded to return an item which was old, with no tags, used, and no receipt. The cashier refused, saying it can’t be done. So the customer reached over and shoved the cashier. This was one of those 0.01% chance moments when a District Manager was standing nearby with the Store Manager. The DM rushed forward and said, “Excuse me! You are never allowed to touch my employees like that, ever! Who do you think you are? You are also no longer allowed in any of our stores. You are permanently banned and if I see you in a store, I will have you escorted out. Take your items and leave.” Or something to that point. If only, right?

Customer Types: Modern Slave Owner

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

Ice Cubes for Baby!

July 7, 2011

I’m standing with a coworker as we watch a customer with a crying baby in a stroller. The baby won’t stop crying, and I assume he’s thirsty, because his mother is trying to open a drink cup. Mind you, he looks about six-months old (and my coworker tells me babies that old shouldn’t be drinking water, soda or anything like this).

Well, don’t worry, there is no water left in this lady’s iced coffee cup. So instead she starts pouring ice cubes into her child’s mouth, nay make that toddler, nay make that infant-close-to-newborn baby’s mouth. So an ice cube drops in roughly the same size as the child’s mouth and disappears. We stand there watching in amazement. I don’t know if this woman expects her toothless son to chew on the ice, or to know how to suck an ice-cold cube. Of course, the expected happens, and the baby begins to choke–well actually, more like the child can’t breathe because the ice cube gets lodged in the back of his mouth.

So she quickly starts patting his chest. Then she frantically unbuckles the baby from the stroller. Then she turns him over in the air and starts slapping his back. I’m not entirely sure if an ice cube even pops out or if the child has already swallowed it. She continues to check her baby and looks inside his mouth. By now my coworker goes to offer the customer help.

The woman is Japanese and doesn’t speak English, so I look for a coworker who can offer her help–either telling her we have a drinking fountain in the back, and we have fitting rooms if she needs to nurse or something. Instead, the woman ignores all of us, and rushes away with her baby and disappears.

No further comment.

Customer Types: The Dumb,

Denim Complimentary

August 20, 2010

There was a time I was an excellent salesperson. There was a time when managers and coworkers asked what my secret was, how did I make sales so easily? As time moved on, as more horrible customers appeared and ripped pieces of my soul apart, I became more rigid and I wasn’t willing to be open, helpful, or caring. Why be an evolved salesperson if your customers don’t care?

Recently, we watched a training video with sales scenarios which made everyone laugh. Yet, watching it, I often thought how much each of my coworkers do this, every single day they work. My philosophy is clear with sales, I believe I need to sell so we each get hours to work–no sales, no hours, no coworkers. The greater influence I am in making people buy things, the more my coworkers get to work–and basically do the bad things presented in the video.

Yet, after the video, I was willing to try. I helped a couple, they were both heavy-set, and the woman wasn’t really open to help at first. So I helped her boyfriend first. We slowly took time finding denim for him, a cut that would work, then a wash that would be cool enough for him, and make her happy. We went on to find matching shirts for several different outfits. Along the way, I also got her back into the fitting rooms to try on several more pants, because her first attempts were failures. I was actually excited, thinking, this is selling again, reborn. They both found stuff they wanted.

I left the fitting room helping another customer, and I walked back in seeing them turning a corner. So I decided to check their rooms, and I found everything still there. They bought nothing. I was disappointed. Then, I hear the manager ask for me. She comes to tell me the couple I just  helped, they felt so bad, so sorry they didn’t find anything; they might come back, but they wanted to tell her how I went above and beyond trying to help them find the perfect outfits, how patient I was and how helpful I was. My manager gave them a survey to fill out. I guess that counts for something, right?

Where Is He?

August 11, 2010

Who? Me? Yes, me.

I was helping a male customer find some clothes, but he needed his partner to come make decisions for him. Soon, he returned with his girlfriend, and I helped him find good colors and fits for him to try. After this, I needed to go in the back to meet with a manager.

Then, I hear on the walkie-talkie, someone asking for me. I ask what they need, and they reply I was helping a customer, and he only wants my help and my opinion on the clothes he’s trying on. I laugh, as the manager asks what the guy’s problem is. I just tell her, I’m that good.

So I go out, and I help him with his clothes, especially one shirt which was giving him problems. He couldn’t decide between two sizes–one was fitted, and kind of showed his curves a bit too much; the other was a little looser, but still fit well. I told him to go with the larger size. Then, I ran back to my manager to finish my work, since I was on a deadline.

The funnier part, after I came back out, my coworker said he still picked the tighter size. Well, you can’t win them all, but it’s nice to be appreciated once in a while, right?

Customer Comment: Do I Just Go Into Any Room?

July 24, 2010

There are customer comments that irk me to no end. They seem like a social norm, as so many people say it to me so often from so many different cultures. They walk into the fitting room, walking by me as if I don’t exist, then they turn around and ask, “Do I just go into any room?” Well, you just walked by me like a wall, why stop now? What am I doing in here, being paid to be a statue? Of course, I enjoy standing around and all I do is clean after you people, like you’re grown children who have to return things inside out, with deodorant stains and lipstick marks.

You know, people in fitting rooms have different duties, and depending on how you actually treat them, you might find out what they are. Many fitting rooms with attendants aren’t just there like a restroom attendant handing out towels waiting for a tip, while thinking about topics for the next American novel. Workers in the fitting room can actually help you find sizes, help you build an outfit, offer you suggestions, and a multitude of other things. If the first thing you do when you walk into their work-area is ignore them, then ask, “Do I just go into any room?” you’re already losing many opportunities for real and actual help. Many times you create the world you live in–if you act like a jackass, people treat you like a jackass. Think about it. In the end, so many of my coworkers seem used to these “Do I just go into any room?” customers, that they stand there and waves vaguely at a wall of doors, while saying, “You can take any room.” In actuality, they should be helping you to a room, saying they’ll help you, already offering suggestions, and trying to help the store make money.

Maybe the next time you walk into a fitting room, you can ask to try the clothes on. It’s not like retail workers are already demeaned in so many other ways.

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?”

Someone’s Helping Me

May 23, 2010

I’m walking by a woman, while I’m holding a pile of clothes. She stands twenty-feet away and she’s staring at me. I stop. Usually people who give this look need help, but she doesn’t say anything, she just stands there–holding onto a cardigan on a mannequin, which also says she wants the item or wants to know where it is. Yet, she doesn’t say anything. She looks away, and as I start to walk away, she turns and stares at me again.
“Do you need help with something?”
She’s still tugging on the cardigan on the mannequin, and I think, “Just great, she can’t speak English.”
So I approach her, “Are you doing okay?”
She continues to stare at me.
“Can I find something for you?”
Finally she says, “Someone’s helping me.”
Well thanks you for getting to the point so quickly. Even worse, I end up at the cash register, and there she is as my next customer. Believe me, she was just as straight-to-the-point and irritating at the register as she was on the sales floor–and she speaks English.

They really need a test to give people cards which say they are legal to shop in public. Really.

Customer Types: The Dumb

Shoplifter- Rule #1

May 14, 2010

The first rule I tell anyone I train, “Treat everyone like a shoplifter.” Before you back away and gasp in surprise, you need to understand how we treat a shoplifter. We pay attention to them, we notice what they’re looking at, offering suggestions so they know we’re there, we’re available. No matter where they look, they can always see us. How is that not great customer service?

I don’t just say hello to customers that come in, I watch what they look at, this way I get an idea of what they want, what they are shopping for. I generally ask if they need another size, but I also offer other alternatives, too. Whenever they hold something, I ask if I can put it aside in a fitting room or at the registers for them.

Some customers are utterly amazed when they walk into the fitting room and I ask, “I saw you looking through the pants at the front of the store, I see you didn’t find your size, did you want me to check if we have it?”
“How did you even see from here?”
I laugh, “I see everything, it’s okay.”

This is how you should treat every customer, because anyone could be a shoplifter. This is how you should treat every shoplifter, because anyone could just be a customer.

Why Did You Marry Her?

April 27, 2010

There was a couple with beautiful children. The man had a Mediterranean look to him, his wife was white, short, and round. I’d explain her in more elegant detail, but she wasn’t that nice, nor was her husband.

She started with a few outfits, and her daughter kept taking out bad stuff and bringing in new stuff. Every time the wife would come out of the fitting room, her husband would look at her with disappointment and shake his head. “No, not flattering. Too long. Look how it’s cut at your waist. No, that won’t work. ” She came out several times with totally different looks and outfits, always with a stern, “No.” I mean, her basic outfit she wore when she came in wasn’t even that great–just a t-shirt and jeans that didn’t fit correctly. But, wow, what a husband! Somehow he let her leave the house dressed like that.

If everything looks bad on her, and if nothing makes her look cute or fit right, basically you’re saying she looks ugly to you or you’re implying she’s hopelessly ugly in all the different looks she tries. So why did you marry her? I just stood there, saying nothing, wondering if they wanted cute kids? Because he definitely got that, he could just divorce his tragically style-less wife who can’t look hot even if she tried. Seriously, everything she wore, he just shook his head and criticized it. She looked far better in those outfits than the one she walked in with, truth be told. I thought someone you marry is someone who looks beautiful to you, no matter what. I thought he’d help her out, find something sexy for her, but he was full-on, flat-out, “No, that won’t work either.” Just standing with his arms crossed, looking bored. Of course she got nothing, since none of the looks she tried could pass his inspection.

Still, I kept asking myself, “Why did you marry her?”

Customer Types: Guessing Game, Lowered Expectations