Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

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

Advertisements

I Pick APEC of Zippers

November 14, 2011

My coworkers and I are helping an interesting couple, they’re European, at least by accent and attire. At one point, the husband comes up to me asking for help. He needs some sweaters, so I am glad to oblige. I search the floor where I’ve seen extra pairs–as sometimes they end up where they aren’t supposed to be. Seeing none, I ask for someone to check the back, as I double-check our inventory at our register.

The man comes up to me, “Well?”
“They’re checking in the back.” I search the computer, and I see him come behind the register to stand behind me looking over my shoulder. “Oh,I’m sorry, I need some space, sir.” I take a few steps away from him walking through the register area to get away. Finally, they find the sweater, well I actually go into the back to get farther away.

Later, he’s in the fitting room trying on the zip jacket, and unzips it, walking to me. I wonder if he’s going to ask for another size.
“You know, where I come from, the zipper is on this side,” he points to the right, while shaking the hanging end, “for men. For women, it is on this side.” He shakes the end of the zipper, where our zipper also ends. I stare at him blankly. “It’s backwards. Your zipper is backwards. The females have it on one side, the men have it on the other.” I stare at him blankly, because I suddenly think he’s crazy. “It’s okay, it fits good. I am just letting you know, it’s backwards.” He walks away, seeming almost proud to have informed me of this great wealth of knowledge.” I leave the fitting room behind, and leave him in the hands of other people.

I examine every single zipper in the entire store. Every single one connects on the left side. There is no ‘male-side’ or ‘female-side’ for these zippers. Sure, I know buttons are on the left for men, right for women. I tell one of my coworkers this ‘revelation’, noting, perhaps, in his country men’s pants and women’s pants must button on different sides. (Go ahead and look, your button should be on the left side.) So I begin to wonder what kind of country he’s from.

I see the couple approach the register as I go back to the fitting room, free of their backward zippers. Then I hear the cashier ask, “How do I do a Tax Exemption? These people are from APEC.” (APEC stands for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, they have conventions–The Greatest Convention in the Pacific; people from around the world take part in it, hammering out trade-agreements and forward visions of future financial status.)

Either way, I am suddenly stunned that my financial future is in the hands of guys like this. (Even though a coworker has pointed out, some people are very knowledgeable about one thing, and absolutely clueless about every thing else.) I don’t know how far they had to travel from Kazakhstan, but I can tell they sent their best delegates from the Kazakh Ministry of Finance this time around.

Customer Types: The Dumb, Lowered Expectations

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

Where is your Flare Jeans?

November 13, 2010

We’re utterly busy and a woman comes up to me, with a tone of attitude, “Where is your flare jeans, I can’t find it anywhere.”
“Oh, they might have moved it.” So I walk her to where it used to be, and there it is, still in the same area. “Here it is.”
“That is not flare jeans!” I’m taken aback by how sure and how arrogantly she states this.
I bend over, picking up the jeans, turn over the tag and show it to her–it reads, “Flare jeans.””
Why question the people who work there, about the product they work with? And why does no one apologize when they’re so totally wrong? Is it that sales people are either wrong or invisible, but never right?
And, she signed up for a credit card, which means we’ll be seeing her again, real soon! There is no end to the feeling of thrill.

Customer Type: The Blind, The Dumb, Unapologetic

Coupon Literacy

October 28, 2010

I’m at the register, the bane of my existence, and we have special coupons, which give a pretty good discount on regular priced merchandise (You can read this as full-priced, non-sale items, etc. Yet, knowing society, people will choose the dumb options on how to interpret clear English. Because you know, they ask, “How long will this be on sale for?” And they could mean marked-down product–which never return to full price–or they could mean promotional items, which return to regular price eventually.) I got side-tracked, where was I? Oh yes.

A woman comes up with a bundle of items on promotion–read this as items on sale, because they aren’t regular priced if they’re not full-priced, right? (I mean today, I had to deal with cheap people who wanted me to mark items back to regular price, since they were on sale, in order to get the coupon savings, which amounted to roughly $1 savings. Congratulations for you! Big saver! Bring out a banner! I just love how special promotions bring out the sale-mongers who decide their I.Q. has dropped twenty points in order to shop.) Either way, I ring up the woman’s items, and I tell her, the register will remove the promotional price–thus the item becomes full-priced/regular priced; this is actually automatic–and then she’ll get the discount off the regular price. (This comes out to about $2 savings, lucky lady!) To which, the woman angrily yells at me, “How can you do that? Where does it say that? I want to read it!” (There really should be a test for people to be allowed to shop in person, with so many people lacking social skills. One question should be repeated twice, “Can you clearly read and understand your native language?” “Are you sure you can read English/native language?”) I point at the coupon, of all things, it isn’t even in the fine print, it says on the very top, ” Regular Priced Merchandise.” To which she complains, mumbling to me saying, “You should have made it clearer! I wouldn’t have even come in if that were the case. I wouldn’t have even bought this!” I love when it’s my fault.

If that is a threat, I don’t know if I care. Does it look like I have a thousand ripples of pleasure having to deal with your stupidity and lack of literacy where you can’t even read English? Do I really care if you’re trying to make me responsible for not only your greed and lack of intelligence, but also you pointing your finger at me as if it’s my fault? I didn’t teach you to read, nor did I teach you to use this lack of logic, nor did I make you come trying to money grub super-discounts and getting items for free. Some people actually do have to pay for their rent and feed themselves in this world, woman.

Of course, all I said was, “Please swipe your card.”

Customer Types: Big Baby, The Blind, Capitalist, The Dumb

The Art of War in Retail: Distraction (Marketing and Selling)

May 28, 2010

Chapter 4
Distraction is the art of stalling, even redirecting Opposition as they enter the battlefield, often slowing them down, confusing them, and making them less wary of your advances.

Sale Signs- A great way to distract the Opposition, especially before and just as they enter the battlefield. These are visual aids prepared on the battlefield to move the flow of traffic in a certain direction, they can catch the eye, catch the interest and turn the Opposition’s attention in that direction. In this way, you can also fortify your troops in those locations before the Opposition arrives–because you are expecting their arrival. With knowledge of Terrain and Streams, you will also know where best to place Sale Signs. Many times this can turn a dead-zone into a place which says, “Hey, attack here!”

Sale Shouts- You can also ensure you win a battle by announcing a sale at the right time, depending on the skill-level of the Opposition such a tactic is very useful. Many cannot resist the lure of a sale. One of the best Code-words, or statements is, “This is very popular, we only have a few left, you better get it now, or it will be sold out later!” “I see you looking at these shorts, you should check out these, too, because they’re very popular and they just went on sale!” You give urgency and attention to the products you want, thus moving the flow of traffic. You may even bring one item to show them, like bait, attracting them elsewhere.

Displays and Mannequins- Visual displays are supposed to present the Opposition with a battle-plan which you are prepared for. Perfect outfits encourage the Opposition to attack where you want them to and what you want them to. In this way, you always want to make sure the best Soldiers are presented–troops you have a lot of and have trust they will sell–and when they are defeated and taken away, another Soldier must be ready and worthy of the replacement.

“Have you seen?” Homework- Often, when troops are devastated or their numbers are dwindling, a General must redirect traffic, altering the stream when possible. In this way, a General can take note of which Soldier is being attacked, and other possible troops who can take similar damage–is one cardigan running out, find the next best cardigan, and send the Opposition to battle against it. “Have you seen?” works very well at redirecting traffic. You are the General, and you should know best what Soldiers you have available, and when you should send those Soldiers into battle.

The art of distraction also comes down to noticing what the Opposition is wearing–their style, the colors–and pointing out similar options as a way to expand their wardrobe. Many people enter the battlefield revealing everything about themselves before they even speak–use their information to your advantage.

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.

Shoplifter- Caution, Keep Clear

May 13, 2010

I’m walking near the front of the store and I see two women who look like shoplifters–and coworkers have said previously, “Don’t judge people like that!” and right after this a manager of another store said, “Did you see those two women, they just stole from my store!” I eventually found the stolen shorts thrown under a rack. I don’t know what’s worse–that I can spot a shoplifter or that they make themselves so obvious.

Okay, so, the shoplifters outside walk into a store right across from us, and I notice how they have this big, colorful shopping bag. When they leave, they aren’t carrying it anymore. Soon, I see another man leaving carrying that colorful bag–they’re tag-teaming! (Tag-team is when one shoplifter goes in to distract everyone, and then another less obvious shoplifter–who generally doesn’t dress the same–enters and steals while everyone else is distracted.) I watch the two women enter the next store as all the employees converge on them–I assume the women are loud and obnoxious. Either way, the man proceeds to enter the store and starts to throw things into his bag, and me and my coworkers are standing there watching, since I don’t know what to do really. Customers outside that store are just standing and watching as he leaves with his bags full of clothes.

Later, my manager says, “And all the customers in our store didn’t have anyone to help them.” As I think to myself, “Seriously?” If that were in our store, and has previously happened, she drags me out and tells me to follow them around and not let them out of my sight–what happens to the customers there?

I get off work soon after this debacle. I know the direction the shoplifters went, and I think about which stores would be the best to hit, considering the type of stores they visit. So I walk up, and lo-and-behold, there they are in a kitchen store ‘browsing’. Nearby is another clothing store where a previous coworker is managing, so I go in, and tell him about the women as they walk by. And I’m standing there pointing at them as they look at us, and they walk away.

I tell the same manager this story, and I get the reply, “I knew someone who was trying to be brave like that and he got stabbed.” Thanks? All I could really reply was, “I’m also packing.” Just don’t tell anyone.

You Need a Card to Enter Here

May 11, 2010

I was having a discussion/idea the other day. There are tests for many things, like driving, vision-tests, drunk-driving tests, even tests for viruses and medical conditions–and you are left labeled and categorized, sometimes with stamps on various cards signifying your results. I was thinking, we should have a test for rating your mental acuity and your social-interaction skills. If you rate too low on mental acuity (intelligence) or social-interaction (how well you deal with other people), you will not be allowed into retail or shopping environments. You’d be like a 20 year-old trying to get into a bar, “I’m sorry, you aren’t old enough to enter here; go home and get someone to buy you some beer.” In this situation, you keep out the dumb and the socially inept and just tell them, “Go home, order online, and let some automated system deal with your inadequacies, okay? Next in line!”

Because some people just shouldn’t be allowed out in public interacting with other people.

A Cart, like a Donkey

April 21, 2010

Rarely, and I mean rarely, do I see a customer with a full-sized shopping cart walking through the mall. I don’t know where they find these things, who lets them borrow it, or if they are such shopping enthusiasts that they had to buy their own. I imagine some people buy so much stuff, they just can’t carry it. Yet, this still isn’t necessarily a socially ‘okay’ thing to do. Their shopping cart becomes like a donkey. And like a donkey, I’m sure certain stores would turn them away. *Ahem* High-end. The poor donkey-cart has to carry all those bags, being pushed around, laughed at, and stared at all day long. Really, who takes a shopping cart into retail stores? Its one thing being required to make space for wheelchair accessibility, but these things are like Hummer in a world of wheelchairs. They bang things, they move fixtures, and once they stop moving, there is no way around them–not that any cart pusher has moved very fast anyway, right?

Walking around pushing their donkey-cart, I don’t know why, but these people always have a certain look to them. Like today, the woman with her donkey-cart had it full of thrift shop and cheap-shop bags–a good thing to flaunt, right? I mean everyone is staring anyway. Let everyone know, since they’re already looking at you and your donkey-cart, “Hey, not only am I classless, but I am cheap, too!” In the fitting room, she had to announce her arrival by yelling at me three times. Because of her precious cheap clothes, she had to change with the fitting room door open–and believe me, she was trying on everything, so everything was coming off. Horrid, absolutely horrid. Thankfully she was wearing what was left of a bra. So after she was done trying on her intimate apparel, yes, intimate apparel! I walked into the room and was suddenly thrust into my childhood.

I imagined sitting with a blank sheet of colored craft paper, grabbing at my coloring tools. When you open the box, and inhale the smell of crayons–you know where I am taken back to. The entire room reeked of that crayon smell, the bad kind. It was like someone broke little pieces of crayon and left it everywhere, aging for fifty years, rubbing it into the walls. All the clothes were covered with that scent, and everywhere she went, there it was–like a bad habit we try to lose, it just follows you. It is ironic, considering her cart smelled nothing like a donkey, but she just had to smell something awful. Needless to say, I let someone else grab her clothes out of the fitting room, fold them, and put them away.

Customer Types: Lowered Expectations, Piggies