Posts Tagged ‘sales’

Treating the Human Being

September 17, 2011

For my 200th entry, I want to switch gears a little, to get back to the roots of my stories, of why I tell these tales, sometimes of horror, sometimes of jocularity, because there is always some sort of rhyme to the reason–even chaos has order. One of the greatest problems I have with humans and humanity is our utter disregard for each other. It is the way we walk through the streets every day of our lives, and you know how it goes–you don’t care about the other people you walk by, drive by or pass by–they are totally anonymous until they get in your way, until you are forced to interact with them. Honestly, the most conscious I am of people is my want and need not to get in people’s way, not to disrupt the flow of their day, and to allow them to continue on without interacting with me. I digress.

I know it is how we are, how we’ve been trained, it’s been instilled into the essence of how we are–when we walk into a retail store, or any place where we make a purchase, we look at the people whom serve us and we don’t see humans. At least a majority of us act in this way. They see, they act like there is an object, something worth a monetary Capitalist value standing in front of them, something they potentially own or control. The customer is always right, right? Consumer confidence is the power that rules the economy, right? Is it really right, or like time, have we forgotten we created this concept and now we allow it to control us as if it were a spiritual conception outside realm of reality.

You see, there are many people who walk into a retail store and they automatically believe we belong to them, we are their servants. There are people who believe they can act however they wish, because we are just there to serve them, their money makes us less-than-human. They will yell and insult, they will demean and act rudely to the full extent of their abilities because they believe it is their right to do so as customers. And somewhere, somehow, someone empowered them to believe this, someone allowed this thought to emerge and become reality, as much as drinking beer and eating solves problems, as much as the belief that low self-esteem is normal. None of this is, we created it, we can control it, we can let it continue or we can make it stop. That is in our power as human beings.

So what do we do? Obviously, we can’t break people’s habits. If you grew up thinking smoking is cool, you aren’t going to suddenly stop. If you grew up watching television which gives so many wrong answers to problems, yet you believe they’re all correct, what is there to do? The only thing we can do is take a step back and remember we are dealing with human beings. During this age of dehumanization, desensitization, where we don’t even touch other human beings, let alone hear their voices in person, we have an obviously growing separation. Yet, I believe the future of our species, our people is based on learning to treat each other with respect, with dignity, by learning to treat everyone else as human beings. We’ve spent decades, centuries learning how to stop treating humans as different categories, different levels, redefining what it is to be a part of society. We’ve spent so little time focusing on being human, on seeing each other as human beings.

The future of our society is as human beings, together as human beings, treating each other as human beings. It shouldn’t be a hard fight, or a hard ideal to live for, but I can promise you the kind of people who live in this world will fight as hard as they can to not treat other people as people. Because they’ve only learned to see other people as objects, as a worth, not as human beings.

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The Company Divorce

August 29, 2011

I was sitting with an older employee, at least one who has been with the company for far longer than I have. She was telling us about one of the worst customers she ever knew. This customer is a woman who they would always help, always give the best service to, and always ended with a smile. Then the woman would leave the store, and call the customer support line to complain about the store. She’d say how rude the employees were, how they didn’t help her, and how she felt so ridiculed and insulted by the service, and she didn’t want to ever shop there again. In response, the company would compensate her with gift cards, free purchases, or some other form of compensation for her terrible experience. Then the store would be called by the corporate-level and spoken to about how they treat their customers, get the sales training workshops, etc.

Eventually, the store manager caught onto this little game. The next time the woman came in, they gave her the absolute best service imaginable. They found everything she was searching for. They did all they could to please her. Then she left, and the store manager called the customer support line to tell them exactly what just happened, and the experience the woman had. Soon after, the woman called to complain about the service, and was caught red-handed. Because of all the ‘gifts’ she had received, she also left a paper-trail of all her ‘complaints’, which were unfounded. The company officially divorced her, and told her she was not welcome back to their stores ever again, and they would not appreciate her business any longer.

It is at least nice to know the customer isn’t always right.

Customer Types: The Complainer, Capitalist

What is California?

August 26, 2011

I wander up to a customer rummaging through a pile of pants. I ask if she needs a size.
“Yes, I need two zeroes.”
“Double-zero?” This is an American-size, roughly meaning really tiny, or smaller than small. I’m sure triple-zero exists.
“Yes, two zeroes.”
“So you need size double-zero or two zeroes?”
She looks at me curiously. I point at the pants she has, which is a zero, “You want one more? Or you want a smaller size?”
“Oh, this size is fine. I want two zeroes.”
Obviously, clarity is lacking here, but I get the point and search if we have any more size zero pants.
“I’m sorry, you have the last size zero at our store. The next closest location is in California. They still have some left.”
“California? What’s that?” The way it’s stated, it sounds like she’s referring to California like a cardigan or cropped pants, or perhaps a color of the rainbow.
“California,” I show her the screen on our register and point at the address listed, “It’s a state.”
“What? What is California?”
Obviously, when someone taught this woman English, they left out certain things. So I just say, “We don’t have any here.”
Then she points back at the table, “I wanted to get two, because they’re ten-dollars each!”
I follow her bony fingers leading to the sign on the table, which says, “Tank tops $10.” Well, we’ve got a winner here. I am uncertain how much English she has learned, or how much she can read, but I’m sure she didn’t graduate at the top of her class. I inform her that the tank tops are, well, tank tops, not Californias nor pants. The pants are full-priced.
“Oh.”
I don’t stick around to find out if she buys the pants or not.

Customer Types: Agreeing to Disagree,  Learn the Language

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

Two-Week-Old Cardigan

July 17, 2011

A customer enters the store, she has a crumpled up bag with our name on it. You know what that means. Yes, it’s a return and/or exchange. Excitement! Generally, these people ignore my existence when I greet them, as if they were superstars or the ultra-wealthy, as they walk straight to the register.

I greet her, and she looks at me with a blank, careless expression and opens the bag. She pulls out a cardigan. I instantly know it’s sold out, also it’s old, and that it is on such a reduced clearance, I highly doubt anyone in existence has any–I mean, we were selling it for that cheap. I hold my breath waiting for the inevitable.
“I’m looking for a smaller size in this,” she states flatly, a mix of a command, an order, and well, just plain rudeness.
So I tell her, we used to carry it, but we’re absolutely, totally sold out. It has been weeks since I’ve seen it in our store.

“I know,” she replies. Well that’s a relief, right? At least she’s omniscient. “But your other store called here two weeks ago, and they said you have it.”
Really, two weeks ago? Only two weeks? Now she’s a time-traveler, too. Well, two weeks is just seconds ago to a tree, too bad we aren’t trees. Two weeks in a retail store is two sales cycles, thousands of customers, enough time to put out an entirely new line of clothing, and I can tell you, two weeks ago, we had a huge holiday sale–which we sold those cardigans like ice cream cones on a hot and sunny day. I assure her we don’t have it now, but we did have it two weeks ago when they called.

“Just look for it,” she commands, this time more sternly, as if I’m supposed to shudder in her might and grandeur. Let me tell you, she was fat, middle-aged, and roughly a foot shorter than me. She was approximately as scary as a toad after a rainstorm just before it’s run over by in-coming traffic–and I’m the one in the car. I tell her there is none, and suggested maybe she should have come in two weeks ago when the other store called and confirmed we had it–because we actually had it. We are only a few miles away, it doesn’t even take two weeks to walk here. I see no point in coming in two weeks later looking for a super-duper sale item, demanding people find it. So I go with Plan B–the treasure-hunter.

I take her around the store to confirm, with her own beady, little eyes that we are indeed out of this cardigan. I offer her a plethora of different cardigans, many in the same color–which is an odd mint-chocolate ice cream shade. Either way, she’s resolute in the fact she wants the cardigan she has, but in a smaller size. No other cardigan will equal the greatness and beauty of her super-sale cardigan, the one she wants so badly that she was unwilling to come in two weeks earlier to pick it up when she knew we had it. Bravo, little lady, you are an exclamation point in the evolution of reasonable, logical thought. Well, actually more like a period. After a thorough journey through the store, with every cardigan being rejected, I am left to give up and move along–as she said she’ll look for herself now.

Eventually, she asks another coworker to find a sweater for her. She asks if they are on sale, to which my coworker tells her, “No, it’s still new.” They are actually on promotion for half-price, but since the woman ‘asked so rudely’, my coworker declined to inform her of this. Of course, my coworker didn’t yet know this woman annoyed me earlier, we later found out together.

It seems for rude people what goes around comes around. Sadly, I had to see her leave with her two sons carrying large boxes of pizza. At least they shall feast like kings tonight! Even if she won’t get to wear her magical cardigan while doing so.

Customer Types: Micromanagement

Can You Speak Slower?

July 12, 2011

A customer approaches the cash register. He’s holding a large pile of clothes, and I ask, simply, “Ready?” Sometimes I can’t tell if people speak English, and he looked quite iffy. He didn’t look at me and walked by my register, then stopped and turned back to face me. “Are you ready?”¬†What comes from his mouth in the next few seconds bewilders me.

He replies, slightly confused and slightly irritated, “Can you speak slower?”
Okay, so I tell myself, he’s just visiting and doesn’t speak English–although normally, people who don’t speak English can’t say, “Can you speak slower,” usually they say, “I don’t understand,” or “No English.”
So I repeat myself, this time, much, much slower, “You ready?”
He casually places his pile down, and replies, “Yes, my wife is still shopping. I’m going to pay now, and wait for her outside.”

Wait, what? Yes, what just happened? So he doesn’t understand, “Are you ready?”, but can spit out an entire on-going sentence about himself and his wife? Yes. So where did he need me to slow down? Was it the are, the you, or the ready?

Some people make no sense at all.

Customer Types: The Deaf, The Dumb, 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

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,

Blah!

July 3, 2011

I’m wandering around in a sale-section looking for good deals and I see a man who looks homeless–big, hairy, fat, huge beard, wearing drab mustard colors with a backpack. I think he’s a shop-lifter at first, so I stay around the area–my mistake!

“Excuse me,” he says with an accent. “I am looking for a specific item. It has stripes, and on the inside the tag says, ‘Blah’.”
Wait, what? Yes, I said the same thing. “What?”
“Blah!”
“I have never, ever heard of this before. I’ve been working here for a while.”
“It’s blah. It says blah.”
I just stand and stare at him for a while.
He lifts a piece of clothing, and pulls out the tag, “On the inside it says, ‘Blah’. B-L-A. Blah.”
I’m just standing there in awe, and I tell him, I have never heard of this, and I don’t know if this is from a different country or something.
“No, no, my daughter bought them last week from your other store. It says Blah, and is made in India. It has stripes.”
Okay. I am totally unaware of this new ‘brand’ or name, or have any idea what store or company he’s talking about, so I call the store he mentioned.

“Hello, thank you for calling.”
“Hi,” I tell her my name, “I’m looking for a piece of clothing. My customer said his daughter was in your store last week, and it’s an item that says Blah on tag, and comes in stripes, and it’s made in India. Have you heard of this before?”
“Excuse me?”
“Blah. B-L-A. He said it’s on the tag.”
The woman on the other end pauses and laughs, “I’m sorry, I don’t think your customer knows how to spell. We don’t carry anything like that.”
I laugh, too, “I know, that’s what I thought, but I just wanted to make sure, in case this was something new.”
So I get off the phone, and the man is excited, “So, do they have it?”
“No, I’m sorry,” and we both laugh a little, as he walks away in search of his Blah clothing somewhere in our store, with stripes.

Customer Types: ESP, Guessing Game, Lowered Expectations

Darker Than Black

May 8, 2011

A customer walks up to me and asks me, “Excuse me, I’m looking for polos.”

So I walk him over to our large polo selection, and ask what size he is. He tells me he wears small. So I hand him one, “Here is a small black polo.”

He looks at it and decides he likes it, so he asks me, “Do you have anything darker?”

“Darker than black?”

“Oh, nevermind.”

Customer Types: The Blind, The Riddler