Posts Tagged ‘look’

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

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

Inconsistent Sizes

July 29, 2011

I’m nearby a couple looking at graphic shirts. I’m folding and they don’t seem to want my help. Of course, this doesn’t mean I can’t listen in, right?

“Look at all these shirts! The sizes are so inconsistent.” He shows her two shirts, “This is a large, but this is also a large, but it’s not large. Can you see that? All the sizes are wrong.”

If he had included me in the conversation, I would have told him these are shirts brought into the company from other brands and companies, to help promote their shirts. I personally noticed some are longer, and some slimmer depending on who made them and what customers they made each shirt for–because you know, some customers prefer longer, slimmer, wider, and shorter, etc. I was particularly surprised about the sizing of these shirts, but I just find the one that fits best and move on. Either way, I just keep folding.

“Well that one is the right size, it would fit you,” his girlfriend says with encouragement.
“It doesn’t matter, I wouldn’t wear it anyway.” He grabs the pile of shirts he was looking at, and shoves them back onto the shelf and walks away.

Now, that’s an outstanding man, and I must commend his girlfriend for her outstanding taste in men. I am so glad that not only did he waste my time by looking at all the shirts just to complain they were inconsistent in sizes, but even when he did find the right size, it didn’t matter, because he wouldn’t wear it anyway–awesome, spectacular, awe-inspiring. This man is definitely management material, here. Someone, hire him immediately!

Customer Types: Big Baby

No Medium Anywhere

December 27, 2010

Well, today my friend was called a racist, and the customer went to complain to the manager–only because they expect him to deal with every single Japanese customer and my coworkers have stopped trying to put effort and use their brains. I don’t even speak real Japanese, but I can communicate with all but the most confusing, detailed customers. Actually, I’ve been called a f-ing bitch, I’ve had my intelligence insulted, had my folding mocked, been personally degraded, and even once been told, “You should get off the island more often.” I have yet to be called a racist–yet, I can tell you, I judge every customer by race, gender, and actions. So I’m basically a humanist, right?

Either way, my story was a bit simpler. It’s busy, I’m trying to help a lot of customers, because either everyone is at the cash register, their face is buried in a pile of clothes they’re folding (because they don’t realize it will get looked at a minute later and they end up refolding the same pile ten times, without even acknowledging a single customer, thanks a lot coworkers!), or they are otherwise preoccupied in casual conversations with each other. So basically, less than 10% of my coworkers directly contribute to the paychecks of the entire store, and the rest just mooch off of us like fat leeches.

So a customer comes to me, angry, disgruntled and gay. I saw him a few minutes ago, sprawled on our pile of clothes, leaning on it with his full body weight, probably spreading his sweat all over it. He tells me, “We want that dark gray shirt! We looked everywhere!” Sure, from the spot you were standing for several minutes? “There’s no medium anywhere! Except, there is one up there! Can you bring it down for us?” He points to a shelf out of reach–a visual display. And I start looking at the table where he was standing, and he says, “No, we looked everywhere! It isn’t here! We need the size that’s up there–.”

At the same time, I point to a pile of this ‘hard-to-find, gray top’, it’s been sitting there right under him the entire time he was standing around like a pile of blank. I just ask, “Do you still need me?” And then I walk away. Seriously, from lazy coworkers who can’t even try to deal with Japanese customers to customers who can’t even move their fat asses, what is this world we live in?

Customer Type: Big Baby, The Blind, The Complainer

Shoplifter: Too Good To Be A Shoplifter

June 10, 2010

There is one guy who always comes in, no one suspects him to be a shoplifter. He actually dresses nicely, is clean-cut, and acts politely–if you consider ‘ignoring salespeople who trying to help you’ as polite. Yet, he has many of the traits of a shoplifter.

He comes in with a large, empty shopping bag from other prominent retail stores–I walk by and glance inside just after he passes me. I also use mirrors to my advantage, never underestimate mirrors–shoplifters watch you and you can watch them. As much as he tries not to, he pays too much attention to the salespeople. Simple glances say too much, when glances usually mean you need help–as I said, he ignores people who try to help him; so obviously he isn’t looking to us for help. Then, he goes to corners where no one can see him, and stands there. He never shops out in the open. Everyone says he doesn’t look like a shoplifter, but once you know how they act–you know he acts like a shoplifter.

One day, I was watching him casually grabbing clothes making a pretty large stack. I usually look away as he turns toward me, because if you are a good shoplifter you don’t get caught watching salespeople–that’s a freebie for you shoplifters! If he ever caught me watching, he wouldn’t try to steal–and that’s half the fun, right? He casually places the clothes at the base of a mannequin, which no one notices. I even ask a coworker to get the clothes, and they walk right by it. Eventually, I point it out to her when he isn’t looking, and she grabs it, asking loudly, “Is this anyone’s clothes? Anyone? If it is, I’m putting it at the cash register for you on hold, okay?” He’s standing right there, walking in a circle around the mannequin, but he says nothing. He just puts down the clothes he’s holding, and casually walks out.

From that point on, I have never taken my eyes off of him. I am disappointed whenever he comes in wearing our clothes like a trophy, because I have never seen him buy anything, nor has anyone else in my store. Of course, I can’t work 24/7. He never, ever leaves with clothing when I’m at work. What worries me more is the fact I see him sitting with other guys at a coffee shop in the mall. Are they part of a shoplifter’s guild?

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.

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?”

Not a Box of Crayons, but…

February 16, 2010

A customer shows me a mannequin asking me where a T-shirt is. Easy enough, I take him nearby to a table filled with that T-shirt style, surrounded by a huge variety of different colors to pick from. There are at least twelve different colors available. I point at the color he asked for, in the very middle of the table; awash in a sea of colors.

He looks at me and asks, “There’s only one color?”

Customer Types: The Blind, The Dumb