Posts Tagged ‘invisible’

Fire Alarm Fibbers!

August 9, 2010

I’m walking through the store, and it’s a bit crowded. I see three children examining our fire alarm. The settings are in reach and public view in case of an emergency. They see me approach them and they scatter. So I walk around, and within ten seconds, we all know what they’ve done. I can hear the alarm signal, it sounds like a bio-hazard siren. My manager looks up, saying, “Is that what I think it is?” Yes, it’s the fire alarm.

I go right back to the children, finding them standing there lost and confused. I know their parents are nearby, but hiding for some reason. Some parents would smack their children–which is generally not advised, but in this situation, something would have been beneficial. I’ve run into this problem before, with curious children, doing what they are not supposed to. I quickly press the silence button, but I warn the manager, “Mall security will be here in a minute.”

My manager approaches the terminal, and asks the children, “Did you push the button?” At the same time, I say, “Those kids pushed the button,” on the walkie-talkie. My manager replies, “You mean the same children that just told me they didn’t push it?” I roll my eyes and sigh, looking at the little liars. This is a time, I wish they had parents who taught them to say the dreaded social crutch, “Sorry!” Instead, I’m forced to utter, “Wow, that’s really bad parenting.” To which my manager tells me to hush and shakes her head.

As my manager walks away, the parents, hidden in plain view, tell their kids to be quiet and quickly ushers them out of the store, as if they were invisible burdens scurrying into the night like rats.

Actually, yes, they were, just like rats.

Customer Type: Capitalist, The Liar

Advertisements

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.

Shoplifter: You Got Schooled

June 15, 2010

This day, we had three groups of shoplifters. One group stopped outside as I stared at them, and a coworker who was leaving even came in to tell me, and I told her I alerted the whole store already–they did not come in, but I did watch them dump tags into the trash outside. The second group didn’t see me, and turned around, finding me standing there. I partake in small conversation with them, then they speak in Portuguese, laugh, and leave. I was both glad and irritated I was working, because no one else was around, and even when I asked for support–I got none, people didn’t hear me, or people came when it was already over. I wonder if it’s free season to steal when I’m not working.

Finally, the group from my Exam arrived. I instantly recognized the woman, saying I needed support in the front because we have a tag-team in the store. I go on to describe what she’s wearing as I approach her. Then I see the other man–they are heading to the same corner as last week. I’m already irritated with shoplifters and disappointed with my coworker’s apparent lack of care that when these people do steal, they steal from our work hours. Today, I’m not here to pretend I’m talking to fake customers, nor am I interested in them trying to pretend they don’t speak English. I take them on face-to-face.

“Oh, hello again. You’re in the same corner as last time. The denim shorts you were looking at last Tuesday are on sale now. You should check them out again.”
“Wow, you remember us? You’re good!” The man looks at me and laughs.
“Yes, I have an IQ of 150.”
“Really? I have an IQ of 285.”
My face is blank as I reply, “It doesn’t go that high. But I do have a photographic memory, so I remember you quite well.”
He changes the subject discussing a tank top hanging nearby. I can see sweat on his forehead. I tell him it’s not popular, so no one is buying it, because they can’t figure out what to wear it with. Then our conversation ends, as he and his cohort walk out and leave.

I actually can’t handle too many shoplifters in one day, because my heartbeat instantly rises, my gut turns and my adrenaline pumps; I’m like a lion seeing a pack of jackals in my territory. My body automatically tenses up and I hide nearby, ready to pounce. Three groups of shoplifters made my body feel very tired, since I only got to feast on one group. Sometimes my body knows there are shoplifters even before I know.

I wonder if the Exam shoplifters will come again or if they already came when I wasn’t working. I hope I was able to make them disinterested in coming into my store again to face me. Each time they successfully steal, they get bolder thinking they can do it again. Scaring them away before they come in, like some of my coworkers, is also useless, because it doesn’t directly deter them. What I do confronting them, discussing with them what we both know they are doing, without accusing them of anything, that is what works. If you can’t scare them or make them sweat, then you’re just delaying their inevitability–to walk in and steal when no one is around. They do have time on their hands. I rather they be afraid I’m going to appear out of thin air, and devour them.

Shoplifter: They Got Away

June 13, 2010

Yes, last night, they got away. It was one of the rare times I wasn’t patrolling the front, like a hawk scavenging for food. I rarely see these shoplifters come in. I’ve seen them in the mall, but I usually just stand there with my hands on my hips and they turn around.

This night, I was checking the cash register, since I was in the back, and I have often been relegated to back-up the register. Then, I see one of them. They have the entire look of a shoplifter, so I walk towards her. The moment she sees me, she clutches her large bag tightly under her arm, and I duck behind a pillar–noticing she tries to hide the fact she’s seen me. In the Fountainhead, Dominique says Roark, “When you first meet someone, you reveal everything about yourself by your reaction. In turn, the other reveals everything by their reaction to your reaction.” (Or something like that, I haven’t read the book for a decade.) Thus, I always use a shoplifter’s first reaction to give away if they are or aren’t one. It’s like of like being shocked by static, even if you try hard, most people give it away.

So I hide behind the pillar, and I watch her looking for me–I disappeared into thin air. She is obviously not trained in ‘the mirror’ arts. But, I know there is another somewhere, and as I’m looking, I see the other appear near the mirror–because our boxers are arranged there. I swear at myself knowing they already stole from us. Yet, I’m still unseen. I just know the first woman gave the signal that someone was coming, so the second left. Amusingly, the last one, a man, stuck around at our scents–probably interested in stealing some cologne.

As I walk by him, I make sure he can hear my walkie-talkie conversation, “One of them is right here, so if you can watch, I’ll take a look if there is another.” As I say that, a co-worker tells me, “No, he just left out the front door.” So I walk up to the door, and I see him looking around with the “where did they go?” face. Obviously, I know where they went, so I yell out to him, “They went towards the chocolate store!” Sadly, he did not thank me for my help. But, now he knows I know. I’ll have something interesting planned next time.

I still want to do the 3-point fade-away shot with a sensor in their bag, so they can beep everywhere.

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.

Teaching the Kids

February 16, 2010

Do parent’s know their children watch them, witnessing how they interact with other people in different situations thus developing an understanding of how they will eventually interact with the world when they grow up?

When parents walk into a store, ignoring a kind hello with a cold-shoulder, their children see this and they’re learning; when a sales person offers them help, when they are obviously looking for something, and they are rudely brushed off with “I’m just looking” even though they actually do need help; when parents treat salespeople as slaves, only existing when you need them, and essentially less than human, just mobile fixtures in a store, only useful when you acknowledge them and need something only a salesperson can ‘find’ for you–your children are there watching every moment, growing and understanding that is how they should act, that is how they should treat other people, acting like this is right not wrong. Treating another human being like garbage is fine, because mommy and daddy do it all the time. Yes, you are obviously a good parent. They say parenting doesn’t come with a book, well common-sense doesn’t grow on trees either.

One day, these children will be adults, pushing their strollers through stores treating sales people in the exact same way, passing on these valuable, unconscious lessons to their offspring so that your grandchildren will be rude, unconscionable human beings. Do you not think these lessons are passed on beyond the retail world? Do you not realize you set a bar for how people can be treated? You may not be hitting or abusing them, but treating them like they’re worthless is still terrible parenting. From what I know from social teachings to religious beliefs, human beings are important, special, unique, etc. but the way we have developed our meandering society which belittles being human based on ridiculous situations based entirely on monetary value, not human value.

This is a perpetuation of a lack of respect, a rudeness which makes no sense. You wouldn’t walk into a doctor’s office acting the same way, walking into a bank treating tellers like this, yet certain sectors of the ‘service’ industry have grown and developed into an accepted avenue where mistreatment and degradation is a norm, is accepted and expected–that treating someone like they don’t exist, that they are less than human, that they only exist to serve you–this is good, this is right, and this is okay.

The customer is always right. No, I’m just looking, can I shove my hand in your face? If I meet you outside the store, then you, salesperson, are an equal, a human being, you exist and you are real, but once you clock into work, you’re worthless, insignificant, invisible, and useless, unless I need you. If I meet you outside the store, how many of your rude, disgusting humans look away or pretend you don’t recognize me, when your reaction says you do? Compare this to kind, good, respectful customers who engage with sales people, talking to them. We actually recognize each other outside the store, wave, and say hello. This is a huge difference, almost a revelation of what it would be like if everyone treated people like human beings and not modern-day slaves.

Remember that son. Remember that daughter. Look both ways before you cross the street. Don’t talk to strangers. Salespeople are modern-day slaves, you don’t need to give them any respect.

Because you know, if you did give them respect, then the entire structure of sales and retail would be worthwhile, enjoyable, and not as much of a life-draining, self-esteem crushing, pride-absorbing industry that makes you feel so shitty inside. If you actually went into a retail store and treated people as human beings, what a difference you’d make; what a difference everyone would make.

Remember, it’s so simple to just say hello when someone greets you, your children are watching.