Monday, December 14, 2009

Whistle While You Work

Yet another Sister-in-Law Shopathon is complete. Another year without tears, bloodshed, or declined credit cards, so I think it was a very good year indeed. We spent a grand total of 20 hours shopping and talked to a multitude of clerks in a variety of stores, and as always, we hit every turn on the bell curve of sales staff helpfulness.

Let me make something very clear – I do not believe the customer is always right. I worked in retail. I know customers are slow, stupid, inept creatures put on this earth to make life hell for those who really want a pristine store filled with carefully folded and placed merchandise. However, what I also know is that a store without customers is a closed store. A closed store does not need employees. So yes, while it sucks monkey testicles that you had to be in at 4am on a Saturday so that you could open at 6am for idiots like me and my SILs, actually attempting to shoot laser beams out of your eyes at us isn’t very good business sense. You know it is too damn early to shop, we know it is too damn early to shop – the fact of the matter is, you are open and we are shopping.

On the flip side, let’s talk about Brian at Lady Foot Locker. My happy foursome walked in looking to buy one pair of sneakers for under $100. We walked out an hour later with two pairs of sneakers (both much more expensive than originally planned) and four pairs of shoe inserts for a grand total of almost $250. Why? Well, because Brian took excellent care of us. He made sure we had our feet measured. He knew, off the top of his head, which exact shoe was best and which inserts, brands, and sizes were best for each of us. He was no-nonsense, kept us amused and entertained, juggled us and at least three other parties of equal size without batting an eye, and never once seemed less than pleased to be at work and helping us. Was he happy to be at work and waiting on four women punch-drunk with caffeine? Doubtful. But he never acted anything less than kind and professional. Kudos to you Brian and I’m sure all four will be back to your store in the future.

On the other hand, the list of stores we now avoid due to inept and rude sales staff grows every year. Last year Kate Spade got added to that list when their sales staff acted like handling a coupon was akin to touching rotting meat and argued with us over the validity of said coupon. This year, the staff at the Gap earned our ire by acting as if all the customers were getting in the way of their restocking. Um. Hi! Can you move your ridiculous sweater folding cart out of the way of the merchandise please? No? Really? Ok, well it looks like a bomb went off in your store – maybe you could say, put shit back where it belongs first, and then fold it all? No? Moron. Victoria’s Secret has been on my list for years. It only took one sales member to say to me, in the most degrading and obnoxious tone of voice you can imagine that, “we don’t carry (long pause while contemplating the absolute horror of my needed cup) that size.” Well thanks beyotch, but in a couple of years, when you are getting plastic surgery to try to make your rack even half my size, I’ll be the one laughing all the way to Cacique.

Work is a four letter word. But if too many customers walk out of your store saying “fuck” instead of “sold” then you really should find another form of employment.

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