In my never-ending quest to carry out some phase of exercise, I’ve been getting into my car and driving Chippy to downtown Phoenixville. Truth be told. I don’t like walking in my neighborhood of townhomes because it’s boring. I pass by the same brick front homes and there’s not much shade. I love me a shady street. I’m basically a tree-hugger at heart. Downtown Phoenixville and the Borough are more fun!
Now that I’m home, Chippy the Wonderdog treats me as his chauffeur. He loves going bye bye’s in the car and his walkies! (Yes. I speak that way to him)
And walking is the one bit of exercise I happen to like.
This morning I took Chippy to Reeves park so he could practice being a good canine citizen. I explained to him about the Vietnam war and how our current president is a cowardly draft-dodger. Then we walked some more and took a rest. Overall, Chippy and I had a good time!
However, this past Wednesday found the weather to be a bit too hot to take my little rascal out for a long constitutional. And so, I left him home while I went out to run errands and have a walk at a local outdoor shopping center.
Providence Town Center in Collegeville. The local Wegmans that we shop at is in this Center and I thought it would be a good thing to change up my routine. No. Seriously. Other than taking Chippy to downtown Phoenixville, my only exercise is wheeling a grocery cart up and down the aisles of the supermarket. Even when I only need one item, I’ll stretch it out to 30 minutes of speed walking nearly bruising every shopper who crosses my path. I’m that pathetic.
I have been known to use produce as the weightlifting part of my grocery store exercise program!
Anyway, in changing up my routine, I decided to visit a few stores in the shopping center. I had pen and pad in my oversized purse and my iPhone’s camera at the ready. Perhaps an engaging conversation between a kind and helpful sales assistant and me would create a blog post about how great the store and the service is. Right?
Um. No. That never happened. In fact, quite the opposite occurred. And when I left to return home, I felt like a cross between Quasimodo and a circus freak.
Thank you sales assistants! Thank you for assisting in making me feel like a complete freak! I’m changing my name to Quasimotress!
Let’s face it. I’m older. And my resting bitch face could come across as one to rival the woman who was once known as “The Queen of Mean”, Leona Helmsley. However, when I enter a store, I put my smile on and it transfers me to a rather sweet-looking, if not utterly cross-eyed, older beauty!
Ouch! I don’t even think MY “RBF” (resting bitch face) is as severe as The Queen of Mean! Mrs. Helmsley is wearing the wrong lipstick..and that eyeshadow. And the brows. How can a woman who had this much money be so awful at the art of makeup application?
So then, what is wrong with me? Let’s try to figure this out!
Hey Joe, that’s what I’m trying to figure out!
My first stop was Ulta. This is the weirdest store.
My Collegeville Ulta experiences make me long for the Ulta in Lawrenceville, NJ. Now THAT Ulta had great sales assistants. Shopping there was so much fun!
Although the offerings are very good—both higher end and drugstore brands, any time I’ve been here I’ve practically had to beg for help. At Sephora, the staff is great, friendly and always willing to help. At Ulta, it is a bother. It is a chore. And quite honestly, I think the sales help would rather be somewhere else. Sales assistants stand around and convene with each other and literally give customers the side-eye. You would think a shop specializing in all things beauty would be an empowerment for women. Instead, it’s more of a “why is that woman even here” type of vibe.
Ummm. Hummmm. Those Ulta assistants gave worse side eye than Rihanna. And Riri is the only one who can do it well!
I ended up making a purchase of a $7.00 eyeshadow palette by Revolution. I’m a fan of this brand and needed a backup to the one that I hit pan on big time. With all due respect, the young woman at the cashier was the only worker in the store with a smile and kind eyes.
Too bad other stores in my area don’t sell Revolution makeup. I would have made this purchase elsewhere. Oh well, the girl at the cashier was very sweet, kind and adorable!
Next stop was Charming Charlie. This is a store with an interesting mix of accessories and some apparel. The selection of clearance costume jewelry is wonderful and this is the store you want to go to if you are invited to a big event or wedding and don’t want to spend a ton of money on a metallic purse or accessories.
I didn’t find Charming Charlie too charming the other day.
As I entered, a sales assistant looked up from arranging a display and I smiled at her. She turned around and went back to work. No return smile. No acknowledgment. I was wondering if I had spinach caught in the ever-expanding space between my front teeth. Teeth age too! Perhaps she had never seen a cross-eyed person in real life. Whatever the case, I went on my merry way perusing the goods.
There must have been four to six people working in the store while I was there. Not one person approached me to see if I needed assistance. And at one point I did. I tried a bracelet on. It was nice—a cuff bracelet. And I couldn’t get it off. The little clasp got stuck and I had visions of the store manager either accusing me of trying to steal an item or worse, having to take the bracelet off with a plier! And breaking the merchandise—all eight dollars’ worth!
All I needed was to be accused of trying to steal a bracelet that I couldn’t take off my wrist!
After the bracelet debacle, I figured I was better off leaving Charming Charlie alone.
Loft. I can’t even with this store anymore.
I walked over to Loft. God only knows why I even bothered because this store has, hands down, the worst sales staff I’ve ever—or rather never encountered in my life. Since I’ve moved to this area, I’ve been in this Loft location about 5 times—and all five times, you would think I had the ability to give the staff a serious case of The Cooties! Loft must give applicants a test in ignoring rather than engaging!
Yeah. The help at Loft figured me out. I got the Cooties. Just like when I was a little girl and boys had the cooties. Boys back then thought I had the cooties.
Knowing when I am not wanted, I made a quick exit and crossed the path over to Chico’s.
This Chico’s is a pretty large store. But in all honesty, the clothes just don’t speak to me except to say. “We are overpriced”.
Chico’s has always intrigued me because I’ve never shopped there. In fact, I’ve never been inside a Chico’s store. I’ve seen some cute leggings on the website, but at $69.00 for a pair of leggings—that will eventually pill at the thigh’s inside—No. Not now. Not ever. Never.
These leggings are adorable. ADORABLE. But not $69.99 worth of adorable. No leggings are worth that.
The only people in the store when I arrived were the salespeople. I was greeted and asked if I needed help, which was very nice. I said, “No thank you, I’m just looking” and that was that. The saleswoman who asked me was very intelligent because she could see that I was completely trustworthy and wouldn’t make off with any merch because she went into the back and I never saw her again.
I liked the Chico’s lady. She was nice enough to acknowledge me then made a beeline to the back of the store and hid from me. Did she think that I was trustworthy? Or did she think I was smelly?
At this point, my self-esteem was slowly crawling into the gutter. I could understand if these stores were haute couture shops that thousands of dollars and upwards. One look at me and they would know my J. Crew tastes lay in the local mall. But we aren’t talking haute couture. Karl Lagerfeld and Marc Jacobs wouldn’t think of even setting foot where these high and mighty sales assistants work—so please don’t behave as though you are above the average customer.
I would have better luck with Mr. Karl and Marc Jacobs. I could be their charity and get nice clothing from them.
So, like, what’s the deal?
This little experience made me appreciate Nordstrom more than I ever have before. Although I didn’t enjoy working retail because of the hours, Nordstrom instilled in us, as staff, the importance of great customer service.
I may not have been crazy about working retail hours but Nordstrom taught me a valuable lesson in great customer service. And, my boss, Michael Lopinto was the kindest, sweetest best bossman I ever worked for!
And for the most part, the people who come into a shop are nice and many do need a bit of help. Some know off the bat what they want, but will ask for help when they have a question. And there are the very small percentage of difficult customers. But the good ones outweigh the not-so-good ones.
The great majority of us customers are NOT Mrs. Home Alone! We’re nice!
And so, here’s a few tips for those sales assistants in customer service.
Don’t give someone the side eye. Don’t look down at anyone who comes into the store. Don’t judge someone based on the clothing they are wearing either. Perhaps they don’t care about clothing but still have mo’ money in the bank than any of us do. Be kind—you don’t know what sort of day that person is having. Respect everyone who walks through that door. Treat everyone like gold. Your customers are your paycheck. People depend on you to help them. Rather than stand around gabbing with each other, turn that smirk into a smile. Bring the side-eye to the front and look at the customers straight in the face. Tell them, if they are just browsing that if they need assistance you are there for them.
True. Don’t judge me. Don’t judge any customer.
It’s funny—because I was pumped. I had every intention of writing a fun post about shopping locally. it totally backfired because people were not welcoming. But worse, I left with a feeling that this is now the norm. People just aren’t nice anymore. Thoughtlessness and insensitivity seem to be the new normal.
And as much as I truly believe that people are good, these days I’m encountering more and more of the opposite.
OK. So I need to do my roots. But that doesn’t make me unapproachable when I enter a store. Be nice!
I want kindness back. Don’t you?
BTW. When I finally returned home, look what Chippy did! He was upset that I didn’t take him on his walk. Is this guy spoiled or what??????
How could that adorable little Chippy take the garbage bag out of the garbage can, drag it across the floor and onto my oriental rug? And the Burger King trash? That’s Bonaparte’s. Not mine!!
Thoughts people. Thoughts. Have you noticed this new normal? How have your shopping/browsing experiences been as of late?
I’ve been thinking about this song for a while. Remember it? The Youngbloods. Get Together.