Sales clerks without a clue:

  1. I know we've discussed this before at various designer stores but in this thread I am just talking about rude sales clerks in general.
    About an hour ago, I went to a stationery store to buy some wrapping paper:

    • I get to the register and this young kid (guy) doesn't say hello, doesn't make eye contact just starts ringing me up.
    • When he gets the total, he again, doesn't tell me, he turns the swiveling digital display my way so I can read it myself.
    • I pay him. He gives me my change - still mute!
    I finally just said to him, "do you speak?" And he kinda shakes his head and smiles a little and says, "oh, yeah - here's your bag, have a nice day!"

  2. Periodically my Starbucks hires new personnel and the new day guy is a disaster -- not just slow, but can't remember an order for the two seconds it takes to call it out, probably because he's busy having chats with other customers, his colleagues, etc.

    This time of year -- you also get more kids -- once school starts, that tends to thin out.

    Then again, sales is a hard job -- I couldn't be friendly for 8 hours at a stretch.

  3. :yes:

    Sales is insanely hard especially when, while there are the lovely customers, there are still the customers that a sales person wants to strangle :cursing:

    but I cant totally understand on both sides of the spectrum how you would want a sales person to act. I work at Blockbuster and they drill in our head that a great employee brings everyone back and back and back and thats what brings up the revenue. But I dont think many sales people understand that.
  4. OK, I know that this can be a sensitive topic here. There are people who have very special relationships with "their" sales clerks at this or that store, that do things like call them when the store receives a shipment of new product with this or that beloved label, etc, and I know that there are sales clerks who pride themselves on doing things like this for their flusher customers, and consider themselves professionals and are, in fact, as knowledgeable as a tPF expert on this or that product line.

    But generally speaking, whether the store is "high end" or "low end," whether it sells clothing or light bulbs, the people who are hired as sales clerks are paid very little, and very little resources are spent on training them. And with good reason, because as soon as they hear of a chance at a dollar more an hour, they are so out of there, and rightly so.

    It is an extremely tough job, more stressful and requiring of greater effort and "hard work" than many jobs that pay ten times what they get, and there is no incentive whatsoever for them to do anything but put in their hours and take their meagre paycheck home and try to figure out how to make it, and the equally small checks from their second and/or third jobs, cover basic expenses that considerably exceed their total income in terms of dollar amount.

    Or if they are lucky, they may be young people who are working as sales clerks to "learn responsibility" and with food and shelter provided by mom and dad, saving up the little checks hoping that the sum of a summer's toil can (again with a little help from the 'rents) be converted at back to school time into a new laptop.

    They have absolutely no incentive to do anything other than arrive on time and remain where they are supposed to remain until their hours are completed, doing the bare minimum of what they have been told that they must do, which will involve things like unpacking boxes and ringing up purchases on the cash register.

    If the employer is a very large company, they may show a video or something from time to time, and occasionally vendors may provide some sort of presentation intended to make the clerks familiar with their marvelous new product that the store just bought a mess of, and these occasions are very welcome, because they offer the exhausted worker a chance to get off their feet for a while, and since they don't get anything like what 9 out of 10 doctors recommend as the minimum amount of sleep, a nap.

    I know that this reflects a dramatic change from "the way things used to be," where people could and did actually purchase homes and support families on their salary as a sales clerk, and considered it their career, and did in fact make it their business to learn all they could about the products in the store, and their customers as well, so that they could pull off tricks like telling Mrs Chang that she really doesn't need NewGadget, for her purposes, the plain old $1.99 OldGadget will do just as well, even better, and thus impress Mrs Chang so much with having passed up an opportunity to sell her a $20 item, that next week she will come back and spend $100 buying everything her family will need for their trip to the beach, and permit no one to serve her but the honest, knowledgeable and hardworking young man who saved her $18 even though he gets a commission.

    But that's the way "things used to be." Changes and Challenges! The modern module is much more profitable for the store's parent company, which is increasingly likely to be one of a dwindling handful of corporations with retail holdings.

    We, as consumers, are thus empowered to meet this particular challenge, and welcome this change by recognizing that it means increased revenue for the company, and gives us an opportunity to revise our expectations of sales clerks.

    And those of us so inclined might notice, as we wait in line in between fellow shoppers engaging in various annoying behaviors, including but not limited to, evidence of very bad reproductive choices with very sound lungs, that while our twenty minute wait may seem unbearable, the sales clerk must deal with a string of them for hours on end, and remain non-violent throughout the ordeal, which will be repeated the next day. And the next, and the next, until that dollar more an hour sends them running to another store, or illness or injury or downsizing sends them to the street.
  5. Yikes! That guy probably knows how to text up a storm but when it comes to talking to someone face to some work to do!!
  6. I work in retail and yes some SAs are bad but I've got to say Customers are just as bad if not worse as a SA you are treated so badly it's as if your barely human. I rountinely have things slammed down or practiacally thrown across the counter snappy answers to simple questions like would you like a bag that's if I even get an answer at all.
  7. I once saw a customer yell at some poor guy at an airport Dickey's BBQ. I don't think the guy behind the counter spoke that much English, and the customer was very specific that all things on the plate had to be perfectly separated. Another person came out to help and then asked the customer what kind of bread, and he irritatedly said to her, "do you think I care what kind of bread?" Well, obviously he cared about some things! I felt really bad for both people behind the counter.
  8. ShimmaPuff - I think we are all going to become the new serfs, and the big corporations are going to be the new feudal lords.:hs:
  9. Not to get OT, but I had the BEST SA at Nordstroms today. Her name was Frannie, and she was so sweet.

    A good, friendly SA makes all the difference :smile:
  10. i've worked retail for two years at a big-box electronic store selling appliances, and i have to say that my experience is probably one of the best anyone could ask for - i really love my job, i like the company i work for, i'm treated well, i'm paid VERY well for what i do, i've recieved 4 raises in my two years, i recieve recognition and praise from my bosses, and i'm trained very well on the product that i sell and the company's policies.

    and even with all those positive things, i've still been called a racist, treated like an idiot because i'm female, cussed out dozens upon dozens of times, physically threatened by customers, threatened with lawsuits, and i don't even have any power. i'm just a line level employee, i literally can't DO anything to merit how people sometimes treat me. i don't have enough power to seriously screw anything up. and i'm not even mentioning all the normal customer-to-salesperson behavior: basically treating me like a piece of furniture, not even looking at me when i ask them how they are or if i can help them, etc.

    so sometimes, it's hard to put on the smiley face and be friendly to every customer, even if you haven't been rude to us or done anything to make us grumpy. the poor guy might have just been called a racist because he didn't stop helping a customer of his race to leave and help a new customer of a different race that had just walked in (this has happened to me, and trust me, it's the worst feeling in the world, even though i know i did nothing wrong). we put up with a tremendous amount of abuse, even salespeople like me that happen to be in REALLY good, supportive stores, so i apologize if sometimes we're not as friendly as we could be.

    sociologists call what we do "emotional labor." some people do physical labor, some do intellectual labor, and people like salespeople, flight attendants, and servers do emotional labor. we have to always be happy, always be positive and cheery, no matter what we're really feeling or what is going on in our lives. you can't go through a breakup and be a salesperson. you can't lose a loved one and be a salesperson. everything you really feel has to be kept below the surface and it's incredibly stressful and difficult. one of my sociology professors told us that a lot of studies indicate that it is the most stressful and trying of all the different "types of labor" and is much more likely to lead to psychological issues and interpersonal problems than the other kinds.

    so i think there's a big difference between the kind of salesperson you describe (kinda blank and unfriendly) and the salespeople or clerks that are really a problem (misusing your credit card information or leaving it out in the open, ringing up the wrong products, charging you for extra stuff, etc). our jobs are incredibly draining, pay very little, and we take a lot of abuse from crazy people (i've seen coworkers actually get physically attacked by drug addicts trying to steal things from our store).

    *hops off soap box* it's a jungle out there for us, so please be understanding and try not to judge if we're not perfectly friendly every time. we'd all appreciate occasionally getting the benefit of the doubt!
  11. That might not be the companies' first choice of vocabulary in terms of presenting it.

    Maybe more along the lines of a return to a more traditional way of looking at economic systems, but there definitely needs to be something about empowering the consumer to face new changes and challenges, and "business-friendly" needs to be in there somewhere.

    A neighbor showed me a pamphlet that was passed out to $10 an hour factory workers, encouraging them to opt out of their HMOs in favor of "health savings accounts," and it had a big headline "Imagine using YOUR OWN MONEY to pay medical bills!"

    It used the words "empower" and "choice" in almost every paragraph, and was so effective that over half the workers were all ready to sign away their medical insurance until my neighbor whispered to the man beside him what it meant, who whispered to the man beside HIM, etc etc.

    The company tried, but they were never able to finger exactly who the culprit was, but they were stuck with the same insurance premiums, plus an increase, that they'd had the year before, instead of the increased profit the execs had hoped to pocket.

    Still, the next year, they handed out the same brochure, and there were rumors that they even offered bonuses to a handful of supervisors to keep an ear out to find out who was "talking down" the health savings accounts to the new hires, even going so far as to pay cleaning and building maintenance staff to hang out in parking lots and break rooms, but without success.

    Such revolutionary tactics, however, are rare, and most companies will not have to worry about similar events occurring at their own facilities.

    In fact, when my neighbor told the story to a group of people employed at various other places, most of them shook their heads and looked alarmed.

    He should, they mumbled, have just kept his mouth shut. He might have lost his job, and then, unable, of course, to afford COBRA, he would have been stuck with no insurance even should he be fortunate to find another job at a company that still offered an HMO. His wife has some medical issues and would surely be hit with pre-existing condition rider.

    And most who read this should not be alarmed. There are laws in place to protect those who have the cash to purchase COBRA from such practices.
  12. Oh, and I apologize for apparently rambling so far off the topic.

    Though I didn't really. The point is that people in low paying jobs may have such different realities from you that the unbridgeable gap can go beyond merely the gap in how much money you have and they have.

    They may be, for all practical purposes, living in a different country, on a different planet, even!
  13. I totally understand. I was a waitress in college, but I'm introverted, and dealing with people and their issues drains me. Now I am an engineer tucked safely away in a cubicle. I admire people like you who can deal with idiots and remain helpful and patient! :yes:
  14. I wonder if that guys works at the Vons I went to tonight too? The clerk didn't say anything to me and was very rude. It seemed like the guy before me was kind of being an ass to him because he was questioned the pricing on his items, but the clerk still shouldn't have been rude to me. Atleast say hi back to me when I say hello.

    I really hate rude sales people like that. I worked retail years ago and I know sometimes it is difficult to try and be nice to everyone, especially since you have to deal with a lot of morons, but it is part of the job. The company I worked for had secret shoppers and I ended up getting a 100% "A" score onetime. It has been the first 100% "A" rating in like 5 years my manager told me. I really didn't even do anything that special, just said pretty much 3 sentences "hello," "did you find everything okay?," "have a great day!"
  15. Like amanda, allow me to dust of my soap box for a moment and give it a whirl! As a young person (18) who lives at home, is a full time uni student and has a part time job as a sales assistant, I think some of the above is true- some young SA's are there for the money, or because their parents are making them. There are other situations though.

    I am a younger SA, and my parents still pay for my basics, so I suppose I could go without a job, but that would mean no savings (saving for a car), no new clothes, no luxuries (and that includes bought lunches and drinks), no entertainment, phone credit, or anything that I wanted, other than bare basics. I'm a sales assistant at a jewellers, (the youngest there) and I take my work seriously- I'm achieving all of my sales targets, I have been complimented on my customer service and I received a far higher mystery shopper score than one of our full time workers, and I go out of my way to learn product knowledge (despite poor training facilities). I certainly do more than the bare minimum- and the incentive is more than just the money.

    I know when everyone is referring to young sales assistants living at home, they're probably not referring to people in my situation, but please do remember that sullen young clerks in stores may have just been chewed out by a customer for no reason, and that some are just having a bad day. It's hard being perky, friendly and helpful for eight hours at a time, especially when you've been chewed out by rude customers. I have been the victim of people assuming I'm an idiot just because I'm a young SA, and it's horrible, so please don't judge us all for being young! It's incredibly draining to deal with disgruntled customers who think it's all somehow your fault.

    The above is true- SA's don't just see the one cranky person customers do, we see one after another. Having been in retail, being verbally abused (and once or twice, worried for my physical safety), being badmouthed to a collegue for not having enough seniority to fix their issues, I always try my best to be kind and polite to other SA's, even when they get it wrong- I know how it can be hard.

    Anyway, I'll put my soap box away now, and please, no one be offended by my comments. Just keep in mind that retail isn't always as easy as it looks, and that SA's, even young ones, for the most part, are hard working, intelligent, honest and helpful. Don't let the exception become the stereotype, and please give us the benefit of the doubt if we're short tempered on occasion!