Happy Monday everyone! The sun is shining. The outside temperature is warm, yet cool enough to allow for a great hair day. The humidity hasn’t ambushed the tresses yet. I should be outside but I’m incredibly happy to be in front of my computer and writing the blog!
A great hair day and HAPPY to be writing today! I wanted a big pic of me so you wouldn’t forget what I look like!
I’m still getting used to the new time management—and during last week’s days off, Roman came to visit. As usual, we had a great time!
Always fun with Roman!! We had a most enjoyable time with each other!
As I rest my aching little size 8 1/2 feet, I want to tell you what I’ve experienced in the world of retail thus far! I’m not talking about the merch (That’s insider for merchandise. I feel so cool).
My feet need to rest upon fluffy pillows because…
Although these beautiful Via Spiga flats are so incredibly stunning, they are incredibly painful to wear for more than 6 hours! My feet were crying!
No. I’m talking about the customer experience and other realizations.
I never realized that the majority of sales assistants were paid on commission. But the reality is, in high-end department stores as well as other major stores, the sales help is paid strictly on commission for the items that they sell. Some lucky S/A’s are paid both hourly and commission, but for the most part….
And that’s the most daunting part to me of working retail. When I sell something, I hate getting caught up in that commission bullshit. I want to sell a product that I believe in. I don’t want to sell something that someone is on the fence about and I don’t want to force someone into a sale. I want customers to be sure that the purchase made will be a lasting and permanent one because I don’t want a return.
When a customer gets this look you KNOW that the item purchased is coming right back!
Returns = draws against commission.
I want to help a customer who is pretty much decisive in what they are looking for and someone who treats me like an equal and not the household help.
It sucks when I very pleasantly ask someone if they would like assistance only to have them say “I’m just browsing” and seconds later find that same customer is working with a different sales assistant.
What am I? Chopped liver? Is it my crossed-eyes? Am I not hip enough? Is it my fish lips that need fillers? My Long Guylind accent? My fat ass??
Am I THAT disgusting to you, dear customer?
Regardless, I’m enjoying most of the customers. And 99 percent of the people who come in to shop are really, really nice. And it is fun to engage in conversation with other humans rather than talk to Chippy or myself all day!
Chippy in his “You talkin’ to ME?” mode! Um. Yeah Chippy. I AM talking to you. Nobody else will talk to me!
Some days in retail are fantastic! Lots of sales, activity and all-around great customers. Other days can be atrocious—no customers, no sales—and wondering just how many times the merch can be arranged or the shelves dusted.
Then there are the crazy days. Those days when you work, work, work so hard and have the customers that don’t buy. They only bye-bye! The days when some costumers who don’t buy are seemingly testing your limits of sanity. That was my day yesterday! For some reason, my retail timing was slightly off and the purchasing customers eluded me.
Yup! That was a part of my yesterday!
An hour was spent with a delightful woman. I swear, she was a riot and I had a wonderful time with her and her sister. I will call her “Small Handbag Lady“. She brought her little dog into the store. Little dogs are always fun—especially when they are well trained. They are actually better behaved than the wild wolf offspring of parents who allow their little darlings to run through department after department destroying every display they can pass. This is especially entertaining when mommy completely ignores the feral fruit of her loins as he screams, flails, and performs gymnastics routines in front of the glass cabinets!
Oh trust me, I’ve seen kids perform department store gymnastics more intense than this while mommy and daddy ignore the dangerous feats of humanity!!
Anyway, Small Handbag Lady was looking for a small cross-body bag to use while travelling. We studied every small bag in the department. Bags were either too small or not small enough. Straps were heavy. The bags were heavy. There weren’t enough zippers. She almost found one but wasn’t sure. Her sister didn’t like it.
In the meantime, to get the proper feel, she tried each bag out by placing items from the bag she was carrying into the bags she was looking at. One of the items was a Zip-loc bag of doggie treats. This meant that every bag in which the bag of treats was placed into was left with the scent of doggie treat. It was not a pleasant scent. And while we were walking around, she noticed a table of beautiful and functional scarves in the accessories department. She asked me to accompany her to the scarves.
Now understand, we can and are allowed to cross-sell between departments. And it’s cool but one of the workers in accessories is a commission shark. She is very territorial. Like a rabid pit bull. She barks and bites if she feels that anyone is stepping into her den of accessories!
I’ve been bitten by this Accessory Pit Bull Lady! Her bark is rather loud too!
So naturally, I was full of anxiety as I helped Small Handbag Lady pick out a scarf. Accessory Pit Bull Lady must have been on a break, because as I rang the sale up, I didn’t hear barking! Small Handbag Lady asked me my name, thanked me profusely for my time and said hopefully she will be back before her trip.
Quite honestly, I hope she comes back when I’m scheduled to work because I had a blast with her. It didn’t matter that she left without the bag she searched for. She was kind and nice and I understood her completely. She refused to purchase a bag that she was not in love with. I get it!
My next prospect was, to say the least, an “are you kidding me” experience. I spotted a young woman by the Tory Burch bags. I walked up to her with the intent of asking if she needed assistance.
OK—let me explain something. I’m great with understanding a heavy French accent, naturally, because of Bonaparte! I’m also adept at an Irish brogue because it is the accent my grandparents and other family members speak with. This runs true with Australian accents because of family living in Brisbane.
I have a hard time understanding heavy Asian Accents, however. After about ten seconds of speaking with this prospective customer, I realized she was a tourist.
Instead, before I had the chance to open my mouth, she asked me, in broken English and her heavy accent: “You herlp me?”
It occurred to me after a minute that the “herlp” she wanted was not going to be a purchase. She pointed to her cell phone, which, I noticed her texting was not in English characters, but was in Chinese. I didn’t know what experience lay before me.
After pointing to her phone, she asked “You take pick-cha of me?” With what turned out to be. Every. Single. Tory. Burch. Bag. In. the. Store. For. Her. “Flen”. (friend).
And this wasn’t a quick snap. Oh no! She carefully planned out each pose and the way she was holding each bag. In some pics she was holding two bags. Her facial expressions ran the emoji gamut of surprise and happiness for bags she liked to sadness for the bags she did not care for!
Oh yes. This little tourist emoted every facial expression known to retail sales assistant while I snapped away like a female Richard Avedon!
My emoji face went from happy “dah-rah” sign to anger.
Another delusion. My retail ignorance led me to believe that my little tourist would actually PURCHASE something…..
….leaving me in a state of THIS!
It gets better. When she realized that we were having a large percentage off on another designer brand, she grabbed wallets of every shape and size and not only arranged them on the counter for additional photography moments, but she requested that I figure out the price point of the unmarked discount. This entire process took approximately two hours!
This is an actual ad that Bonaparte’s grandfather, J.H. Lartigue did for Vuitton. My tourist friend artfully arranged the wallets on the counter in similar fashion. Your’s truly got to take the photos. I am no J.H. Lartigue!
The end result was her “flen” (and I doubt there was one) back home didn’t like any of the items I photographed!
Really???? My time spent with someone who had no intent of purchasing while all my co-workers were cha-chinging it up!
All throughout my travels in France, Asian tourists had selfie sticks. How come my tourist shopper was a rebel without a selfie-stick cause who needed my less-than-stellar photo skills?
Seriously. Welcome to my world. On my trip to France last summer, I was bruised and attacked by selfie sticks gone wild. Where’s the selfie stick when you want it???
A returned bag was next. The bag was purchased over 6 months ago and I was told it just “didn’t work”. Why would someone purchase a bag that doesn’t work? What the hell does that mean anyway? The zipper was in fine order. The straps were intact. There was plenty of room in the handbags interior. How could it not work?
I’ll tell you this woman was a pro at returning. She didn’t even think about telling me that the bag just “didn’t work”!
I was to find out moments later that “certain” customers are known for their fine reputation of being serial returners. These customers will shop at least three times a week, load up on merchandise only to come back to the store to return. But they “save” their returns for months later—as if the sales assistants don’t notice.
I”m quickly learning that the word “purchase” really means “rent”!
This kind of behavior is appalling to me. If I return an item it is either because someone gifted me with an article of clothing that is not to my taste or it is because I didn’t have the time to try something on, got home and realized my thighs became too thunderous or my ass got too fat to wear the purchased item so I went back for a bigger size!
If I was “gifted” with one of these two get-ups, there would definitely be a return. But it would be returned neatly folded, unworn, and with a gift receipt! I would also be cowering and timidly apologizing!
Perhaps it’s just that I am not a returner because I care too much of what others think of me and I don’t want to get a bad reputation. Yeah. That’s right. Trampy sluts aren’t the only ones who get bad reputations. Serial returners are in that same bad-girl grouping!
My day ended with a woman whom I’ve helped before. She’s nice but a bit unusual. She came rushing to me to let me know that Macy’s gave her a discount on a bag that wasn’t supposed to be discounted. She went on to further explain to me that she knew manufacturers sent the same bag to every store but with “one-inch” differences in the straps and “half-inch” differences in the bag’s size.
Hey. Maybe she’s right! Maybe she isn’t. But she’s nice. And she told me that she would be by to visit me next Sunday. And I’m cool with that!
I do believe that the Macy’s customer was legit. She WILL come back to visit me next week. I hope she makes a purchase from me!
And Bonaparte is beyond cool too. He’s joyously happy because I told him that working retail has made me not want to shop anymore. It’s true. I don’t want to spend my days off running back to the mall.
Alright. So I made ONE purchase. A small crossbody bag. I need it for traveling and when I don’t want to carry the contents of our home with me!
I have a closet full of bags that I need to rotate.
I have heels that have gone unworn for a year and-a-half. And these shoes patiently wait the day of returning to working in an office. I hate to tell my heeled shoes that chances are I’ll never go back to office work again due to ageist corporate values.
My Vince Camuto heels will have to wait patiently until I find a “real” job. (I sound like an actor who is waiting tables until they find a “real” role). In the meantime, my red flats can be worn when I use my new red leather Longchamp bag!
Instead, I’ll focus on the good. I get to exercise while working because I’m on my feet and can bend and stretch while dusting and rearranging merch!
The two managers I work for are encouraging and enthusiastic! The people who are in my department are nice and helpful and fun.
And whether I help people who purchase or assist people who don’t—they help to make the time fly by and help me to better educate my people skills.
It’s all good! Enjoy today. I’m off to make a necessary purchase. Hair dye! My roots are awful!
Hmmmm…retailing has brought back memories of this oldie. Handbags And Gladrags. Remember it? Chris Farlowe for you!
Talk to you tomorrow! XOXOXO!!