I rarely shop. Make that, I rarely shop for real. Window shopping is more of my thing.
Whenever I get stressed with work or just feel that I’ve been holed up in my house or office for far too long, I go to the mall and take a walk. Often, I don’t have anything to buy in mind. But, given the right bait (i.e. sale and discounts), I wouldn’t think twice about buying.
During these rare times, I would go from store to store just looking around for something nice, new or interesting. It is just a way to forget that I have a deadline at work or a pet project to complete at home. It is a way to unwind. Although, sometimes, this walk in the mall may be more stressful. Here are some whys:
1. Some store sales personnel hound you like a dog the moment you enter the store. I mean, don’t breathe down my neck and don’t shove something on me. Don’t you dare tell me I look like a million bucks when the mirror says EW! Please! I am old enough to know if someone is playing me.
2.. Incompetent sales personnel. You have no business being there if you don’t know what you are selling. Have you been in an episode when you ask how a thing works and the sales personnel goes blank? For what purpose do you think management hired you for? Decor?
3. Unhelpful sales personnel. Of course, there are those who act as if you are trying to encroach upon their personal time when you ask for assistance. What the hell? You are getting paid to assist customers like me. If you don’t want to wait on people, then go get another job. Another form of being unhelpful is not trying to explore options for the customer. If what I want is not available in my favorite color or size, why not offer some alternatives? Let me see you try. But, hey, don’t push.
4. Advertising traps. Sometimes you see big tarps in front of stores announcing discounts and price cuts only to find out that there are actuallyvery few items on sale while the rest are on regular rates.
3. No stock/s. Nothing can be more frustrating than to fall in love with something only to find out that they don’t come in your size nor favorite color. . Bummer.
In response, here are my 2 cents for peeps and stores.
1. Be patient. I look, explore and change my mind often.
2. Know what you are selling. How gadgets work, why items are expensive (imported, craftsmanship, mod, limited edition), why a dress would look good on me.
3. Be honest. If you see that I look an idiot in something, please say so politely and offer something that is more appropriate. I’m not just a wallet or your next sale. I’m a person.
4. Be helpful but in a non-obtrusive way. Please keep your distance. I’d call you if I want help.
5. Love your work and what you are selling. Believe me, what you feel shows in the way you interact with me. How can I be interested in what you are selling if you are not even convinced about it?
6. Observe truth in advertising. Don’t put the near-to-garbage items on sale and hope I’d be thankful. And for pete’s sake, it isn’t hard to complete the statement: SALE ON SELECTED ITEMS! to manage my expectations.
The reason why this issue came to mind was my experience yesterday at Healthy Options. I’m not really a fan of organic things nor of expensive items like what this store sells (I get it, organic stuff are really expensive). But, I was looking around for some gift ideas for friends and relatives when I happened to pass by the store.
I looked upon shelves and shelves of shampoos, conditioners, liquid soaps, bar soap, toners, serums, vitamins, supplements etc. etc. All the while paralyzed because of the choices right before me. I noticed that there were 2 to 3 sales people who kept their eyes on me but from a distance. Okay, I don’t think they suspected me of shoplifting. I looked respectable yesterday having came from work.
The nice thing about the whole thing was that at the instant I turned my head to them with that I’M-LOST look, one of these sales people on stand-by would rush to my side and attend to me — quietly (I can’t say from her face if she was happy or not. it was just, she wasnt complaining). Then, went back to her “post” when I got enlightened. This routine happened 3 or 4 times — oh yeah, I change my mind like that and I am not one to be embarassed by looking dumb and asking questions. Oh puhlease, I’m gonna pay a fortune for a bar of soap, I might as well know what the heck it is made of.
So there, overall, it was a very pleasant experience. 🙂