Posts Tagged ‘question’

Navy Ts.

February 23, 2012

I’m in the process of putting away clothes, and a woman stops me. She’s dressed in a basic T-shirt–and by basic, I mean one of those free shirts you get from volunteering at activities, not one you’d pay for as athletic and comfort-wear. She is also wearing an aged, khaki short, and dirty tennis shoes. I am telling you this because as a salesperson, you can get an idea of what your customer might be looking for based on their ‘wardrobe’–because many people come to shop in what they feel comfortable in. Some people will dress beautifully to shop, because they feel ‘comfortable’ looking good when they go out; the same with people who wear Ts, old shorts, and dirty tennis shoes. With this information aside…

“Excuse me, do you have any navy blue T-shirts?”
I stand for a second thinking about her question, and observing what she’s wearing, as I look around me. I answer her, matter-of-factly, “No, I’m sorry. We mostly have these shades of light blue, and these other shades, but no navy blue.” I point out the styles of T-shirts nearby, and the color assortment we carry. I tell her how the season is currently vibrant colors–and for those who know Spring, this includes pastels, etc.
She just looks at me, and turns, maybe 45-degrees. She doesn’t even take a step away from me, and asks the nearest coworker, “Excuse me, do you have navy blue T-shirts?”
Seriously, what the hell? I’m standing right here, I can still hear you. So my coworker takes her on a ‘journey’ around the store to show her all the shirts she ‘won’t’ want. By ‘won’t want’, I mean literally, I just explained her outfit, and my coworker is showing this woman all these frilly navy blue tops, and other tops which don’t match this woman and she wouldn’t even appreciate. Even worse, my coworker turns and asks, “Hey, this is navy blue, right?” Because the woman is arguing that it’s not navy blue. Seriously, if she doesn’t even know what color ‘navy blue’ is, why is she looking for it?
I answer distantly, “Sure, if you think so. Yeah.” I just walk away.

You see, as a customer, when I’m looking for something specific, I hate when salespeople give me the run-around and ‘try’ to push a sale on me showing me ‘other options’. If I ask for a silver cardigan, I don’t want to be shown red, white, or blue cardigans. I don’t want to be shown a mock-turtle neck. I don’t want to see polos, nor do I care about your specials or sales. I’m looking for a silver cardigan, if you don’t have one–say you don’t have one. Don’t waste my time. Let me look for what I need, and if anything, tell me where I can find my cardigan. Thus, I tell people if we have or do not have what they are looking for, and I give them advice where to look–if I know anyplace. I would not be like a coworker trying to show ‘other options’ which aren’t even what I asked for.

Customer Types: The Dumb

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Divide and Conquer!

November 18, 2011

Two interesting customers enter the store. I hear someone say, “They were here for three days already!” Well, we’ve also had a sale going on. Basically, the sale is everything is on sale, 25% off the entire store. Hopefully, you understand how this works, you get 25% off everything. This discount is advertised throughout the store, in the windows, and of course, for the last three days.

So one of the two women comes up to me and asks, “Excuse me, how does the sale work? Do I get 25% off one item, or do I split it between everything I buy?”
I stare at her blankly for a moment. This must be a stare I give several times a week, to a variety of different customers, with an array of bewildering questions thrown randomly at my head. “You get 25% off everything you buy.”
“Oh, okay.” She turns and walks away.

Okay, pause, what just happened? It took me several minutes to even deduce what she asked me and what her brain was thinking. In the end, I convinced myself, for whatever reason, she believed the discount would be split between all the items she buys. Thus, I would give her 10% off one item, 5% off another, and we’ll say 10% off another, reaching a grand total of–wait for it–yes, 25% off! Okay, sure. Wow, that’s just borderline not-intelligent-at-all.

Customer Types: The Dumb, Lowered Expectations,  The Riddler

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

When can I Return a Non-Returnable?

July 11, 2011

A woman comes to the cash register carrying three tops, all of which are on sale.
“Can I return sale items?”
This is a popular question and rather reasonable. So I look through her three shirts, and one says, “Final Sale.” I tell her, “This one is final sale, so you can’t return it.”
“I know that!” She snaps at me, “I’m talking about the other shirts!” She states this in a tone of my ignorance and the fact I obviously don’t grasp her firm understanding of logic.

Let me pose this question, “If a final sale item is not returnable, and a regular sale item is not returnable, what differentiates the two items?” Because this is the ridiculousness of her question, if she ‘knows’ final sale is final. So I ask you, “What does she think non-final-sale sale items are?” Perhaps they are non-returnable sale, unlike final sale, which are also non-returnable. Wait, that doesn’t make any sense!

I lift the two normal ‘sale’ items, and say, “You can return these.” I wanted to say, “I’m sorry, you can’t return sale items, but you can never, ever return final sale items.”

Customer Types: Don’t Kill the Messenger, The Dumb, Rhetorical, The Riddler

The Shorts on Sale

April 26, 2011

As usual, I’m minding my own business, and a woman comes up to me asking about our sale shorts. (You see, a sign says all shorts on sale 25%-off. All shorts on sale 25%-off. Do you follow? Good.)

“Excuse me,” she already has a stern, unhappy tone, “Which of your shorts are on sale?” She looks around at different styles. We have several.
“All shorts on sale.”
“All of them? Even those?” She points at a huge wall at the front of the store packed with shorts.
Hmm, obviously not the shorts at the entrance, what kind of marketing strategy would that be? Who in their right mind would have a shorts sale and put shorts on sale at the entrance? Silly people. “Yes, all shorts in the store are on sale.”
“So they’re all on sale for 25%-off?”
“Yes.”
“All of them?”
“Yes.”
“So how much are they on sale for?”
“25%-off.”
“Is it just 25%-off or an additional 25%-off?”
I don’t know what she even just asked, it’s like asking if the sun rises when the moon sets or the moon rises when the sun sets. I can think of a dozen ridiculous comparisons. So I just say, “An additional 25%-off.”
“Off of what?”
I’m starting to look around, because I swear, sometimes I think this is a game, and someone is recording my life for future comedy shows. “Off the price on the tag.” I give her a look like she’s totally confusing me.
“Oh,” she states, then leaves the store.

Customer Types: The Questioner, The Rambler

Not Black Enough

September 8, 2010

I’m minding my own business when a guy with a skateboard approaches me.
“I’m looking for black jeans.”
“We have black jeans in boot fit and slim-straight styles.”
“I’m looking for straight.”
So I take him to the denim area with the straight-leg and I show him our black jeans.
“Here it is.”
“This isn’t black.”
“Oh, okay. Sorry.” I shrug and I walk away, beginning to fold a polo. He has followed me and stands behind me. I turn wondering what he wants.
“You don’t have any more black jeans?”
Okay, sure, I don’t know how many companies make several black jeans of the same cut, and call them black, then display them together as, “Real Black, True Black, Blacker Than Black, and Ultimate Armageddon Black,” but I certainly haven’t found that place. Instead, I just say, “Yeah, that’s all we got.” I reach for my second polo to fold as he walks away.

Customer Type: Tailor-made

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

What Are You Wearing?

April 20, 2010

Once, I encountered a customer with a scent which was amazing. I like cologne, and I like finding a unique scent. I was caught following this customer, trying to discern what was it about this scent; he just smiled at me and walked away. Still, I floated nearby, trying to guess it. It was floral, yet it was like the air; like the ozone I smell sometimes. I know I’ve smelled it before. This wasn’t the normal cologne I’ve smelled at the beauty store. I couldn’t think how to ask appropriately, until I was at the register. It was now or never.

“What are you wearing, it smells good.”
“What? I’m not wearing anything.”

My face went blank for a moment, I didn’t know what to say. At first, I thought he was joking. The more I thought about it, I did remember smelling this scent before. Some people have a more pungent version of it, which is like bleach. His was aromatic. This made me wonder what people eat or if it’s just their ethnicity that makes them smell certain ways. I kind of wished more customers smelled like this when they want to be natural and wear nothing, even though they are sweaty.

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