There are a lot of shopping blogs out there — but nothing like this.
Most of them focus on deals, shopping tips and latest trends. In The Bag will be more focused on the experience of shopping, whether that’s a pet peeve about customer service or finding the perfect gift for the dad who has everything. We may talk about the best deals we find — but the focus will be on more the finding and less on the deals.
In The Bag will feature stories by Nonstop writers and guest bloggers several times a week. Join the conversation!
Years ago I went to buy jeans at the Gap. I have a favorite pair that I always buy. So I grabbed one in my size and went up to the register to pay.
The cashier, sizing me up, asked if this was really the pair I had wanted. Uh, yes, I’m standing here with them and my credit card is out, I was thinking. But I smiled and nodded.
She smiled back — a bit more insincere than my smile at her — and asked if I had tried on this other style of jeans.
“You really should,” she said, that snarky tone in her voice. “They’re made for, you know, bigger hips.”
I continued to smile — thank God for that Cherry Blossom Festival training! — and said, as politely as humanly possible, thanks but I’m good. She rang me up and said, without making eye contact, “Have a great day” like you would to the dictator of North Korea.
There’s no reason for that kind of bitchiness, in a boutique or anywhere. I don’t care if you’ve spent the last 10 hours standing in your $15 shoes from Payless. You are getting paid to help customers with their purchases. Help. Not demean or ignore them. That kind of behavior, while thankfully rare, shouldn’t be tolerated.
People who have worked in retail are often the harshest critics of customer service.
And I’m no exception.
I notice when sales associates blatantly ignore customers or slack on racking merchandise.
And usually I can forgive retail workers. It’s tough work, on your feet all day, dealing with unreasonable customers, stocking shelves well after the mall closes. I mean, who wants to fold 50 pairs of jeans after an eight-hour shift? It’s not fun.
But there’s no excuse — at least in my book — for inexcusably bad customer service.
You hear it all the time: the customers are always right. Well, retail workers will tell you, that’s not always true. (Like when a woman came into the clothing store I used to work at and demanded to be allowed to return a dress that had clearly — clearly — been worn, wine stain and all.) But we are supposed to be as accommodating as possible, leaving the really difficult customers to our managers, who earn a salary doing the stuff we don’t want to do.
It’s hard when you have angry, malicious or even volatile customers. But there’s no excuse to be rude or mean to customers who aren’t even trying to be difficult.
In other words, there’s no excuse for sales people to be bitches.
Got a story to share? Post your experience with rude or bitch sales people here. Maybe we can find the best way to deal them — without getting slapped with a court order to attend anger management classes.
— Nonstop blogger and freelance writer Catherine E. Toth didn’t think she was much of a shopper — until she saw her credit card statement last month.
Also: To help you get through your shopping this holiday season, here are the extended hours of local malls.
hahaha …. it has been like a thousand years since I was a kid working as a sales clerk in a drug store. It took some time before I really realized how well the owner of that drug store (back in the day when individual pharmicists owned drug stores) trained me. He taught me how to deal with customers and he taught me how to ‘sell.’ It was clear that although he wanted us to sell certain things where the profit margin was higher, but that our highest priority was remembering that the customer was always right. And the truth is that the generic ‘over the counter’ remedies were as good as the ‘name brands.’ But that was the 60s and you still could sell paragoric (camphorated opium), terpin hydrate and codeine (cough syrup), APCs (aspirin, phenacetin and caffeine) over the counter. It was also a day when the owner and pharmicist routinely called doctors to question a prescription they thought might not be right. Okay, having gone on and on about back in the day, I cringe today when I go in dept stores, groceries, sporting goods stores and other places when I see how little the sales clerks know and how little interest many seem to have in learning about the products being sold. I cringe even more when I see how abusive some of the customers are. I am well aware of the fact that in many places, including Hawai’i ‘buying’ a garment with the intention of wearing it once and then returning it is something that happens all too often.
Post your comments, suggestions for future topics and (of course) rants and raves about your own shopping experiences. We want to hear from you!
my potential bursh with bitchyness turned out to be a delight. i was at the Armani Exch in the Caesar’s Mall in Vegas, looking at cargo shorts. i couldn’t find my size, then a portly 36. i found a pair of 40s that had adjustment straps on both sides. i figured these will do and i took them to the check-out.
the clerk was the picture of Armani clerk cool, until she scanned the tag. “oh my god, 40’s? we’re not even supposed to have sizes this big. i’ll sell them to you but you have to immediately leave the store and never come back” there was a brief moment of silence, then we both exploded into snortting laughter.
I used to work retail, at Brookstone… I had so much fun working there… Y’know what working retail is all about? It’s all about the stuff that “Harry and Myra” from Bank of Hawaii used to say. “Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes…” if you smile at them, most of them will smile back… not necessarily because they want to smile, but because they’re so dumbfounded that someone in retail actually is smiling at them… That said, I was one of the top grossing Massage Chair Salesmen at Brookstone. I remember the best day I had, I sold over 6K in massage chairs, including a 3400 dollar chair to a famous person. If you’re upfront, honest, and truthful in your sales pitch, people are willing to listen to you, and will respect you. I am a harsh critic of retail workers, because hey… if I can put on a smile after being on my feet for 8 hours, and smile and be sincere after 8 hours, ANYONE can.
Happy Thanksgiving Cat !!!