Sunday, August 11, 2013

Had your "Pesky Sales Staff" experience yet? Well, Oprah Winfrey sure had one! Plus, the SLAP antidote!

Ever had a hair-flicking, lip-biting moment while on a shopping soiree when your best laid plan to do some serious shopping turned into being hounded by pesky sales staff in a store who surrounded you as if you were the only customer walking into the store after a decade? 

Or, probably have you ever been ignominiously ignored by the sales staff who believed you didn't exist because they were busy servicing other premium customers and you didn’t count in their "special list"?  

Or, you may not be at the receiving end but have probably seen how unceremoniously some customers are treated by the sales staff.

Have you noticed if a fat man or a woman enters a shop, the sales staff can't help smirking? Ditto for men who are short, men who are effeminate or women who appear butch. A mature man trying to buy "young" clothes can also invite curious and bemused glances from the sales staff?

Whichever is worst, you decide!

Oprah Winfrey had a similar experience. Read more -

Why Didn't The Store Just Let Oprah Buy The $38,000 Handbag?

We are taking about a media mogul walking into a store and being denied a bag she desires to checkout because she doesn't look the part? (of being able to afford an expensive bag?) Utter rubbish!

And just because we are talking about Oprah Winfrey, the news got so much coverage!

Some stores have extensive customer feedback programs that are nothing but horseshit!
Then there are forums, even, Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions!
Who actually bothers complaining? Are the complaints against the sales staff actually taken into consideration and acted upon?
I doubt that!

I am not against the sales staff, even though I had bad experiences.. I have experienced good customer service also - and, good experiences outweighing the bad ones. 

Also, I am not against the idea of profiling shoppers - in a way it is a good thing only if it's limited to helping a customer choose the right stuff keeping in mind the analytics, predictive statistics and the usual blah blah based on several characteristics... but when the profiling becomes negative owing to the social,physical appearance or economic and even sexual orientation or characteristics like being of a certain skin-color i.e. racial etc. - It becomes downright cheap and ugly!
We may tend to deny and overlook, but these prejudices exist!
Experiences like these aren't commonplace but they do happen with you or in your presence! You can either ignore it, move on; Or, take action against the miscreants.
Guess what? Recently, I had a thieving experience where I was unceremoniously denied a valid discount on an expensive designer t-shirt I was purchasing and later on found that the salesman duped me of my rightful discount and I actually ended up paying the full price! I obviously didn't give up. I fought my way to the rightful discount and ensuring that the sales man responsible and the store manager who helped cover his mistake are given a piece of my mind in front of other customers.

I made a public spectacle of the whole incident including making a public spectacle of myself!

Not that I cared or had double thoughts of taking the rightful action even for a nanosecond!
I even paid extra (unmindful ofcourse!) once at the cash counter and the cashier at the store never bothered to tell me that I was overpaying! I only realized much later, ran back into the shop only to be curtly told that I never paid extra by the smirking sales staff!
Infact, in the past 2 years, I have been extremely wary of turning in a rogue sales staff member because my previous complaints ran into deaf ears!
I shop anywhere where my shopping experience has been good. Where- I don’t have pesky sales staff hounding me or ignoring me, mocking me or smirking behind my back! 

I even hug the sales staff - people who are most deserving of an applause in how they conduct themselves in attending to a customer, demanding or not.

BUT! For the irritating, callous, rude and pesky sales staff I have something of an antidote -I call it SLAP (literally!). Let me elaborate –
S- Shut up!
A-A** Hole!
P-You are Pathetic!
SLAP cannot be delivered by the faint-hearted! And, SLAP is for a chosen few who deliberately choose to make any shopper’s life miserable!

-Amit Anand

1 comment:

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