Or are shop assistants (clothes shops, specifically) getting increasingly annoying

(85 Posts)
BakerStreetSaxRift Thu 14-Nov-13 14:35:19

Or did I just not used to notice it?

Today I went into a well known underwear shop, it's one haven't really been in since my student days (5 years ago).

So I walk in and there is the standard girl there to say hello, I thought, so I say hello and try to walk on passed but instead we do that thing where you try and go to her right, then left and she goes that way too and kept blocking me off then walked along beside me so she could ask what it was I was in looking for today, did I need any help, etc. This annoys me! If I want help, I'll ask, you've said hello so I know you are there. angry So I just say "I'm just browsing, thanks" and walk on.

So I go and pick up a bra to try and keep walking around looking when another girl comes over to ask if I off help. "No thank you", then another girl comes up to ask me "Did you not see the matching pants?" I say I did, and try to continue browsing, she follows me to tell me where the pants are or I can get the thong if I would prefer? I hate when they do this. I'm choosey about pants! I only get them from M&S and if they're not a PERFECT match, I can live with it, so shoot me But it's like they are judging you and giving the cat's bum face to make you get the pants too.

Then, in another shop, tried to go into the changing rooms to try on a jumper, no assistant there so I go on in myself when one runs across the shop to ask if I want to try that on? Well, yes, clearly! Then she takes it off me to walk me the 2 metres to the changing room of her choice (the first one), and then closes the curtain for me. I like to pick my own changing room down near the back, and close the curtain so I it is sealed with no gaps grin

Then, when you try and pay, they don't stop their conversation to say thank you, or they act like you are rude for interrupting their conversation to pay.

And why don't shops seem to have mirrors in them anymore? Sometimes I like to hold things against me in the mirror to decide if I like it enough to try it on, so I look around and there is one tiny one on the other side of the shop.


Disclaimer: I might just be in a bad mood as I've just had to pay £130 for a new passport and am trying to fill the 4 hours while I wait for it by hemorrhaging more money

YADNBU. I avoid shops where they try and chat to me while paying. There is one shop in town where as soon as you walk in someone attaches themselves to you and bombards you with questions so now I can't shop there angry

I am such an antisocial shopper.

ILetHimKeep20Quid Thu 14-Nov-13 14:51:29

I had a Saturday job in a low end(think fcuk, Ben Sherman shirts in the 90s) designer clothes shop when I was at school. We had a target to reach every day and were told to do the attaching yourself to customers. Other staff would be hard at it all day, flogging twenty quid tops to women all day.

I played it cool until the men in a rush would come in between 4 and 5.30 for somethin to wear that night. I could talk then into new jeans, a shirt, belt, wallet and shoes easy! I would make target in that short burst of time!

LadyVetinari Thu 14-Nov-13 14:56:05

YANBU - it makes me want to go home without buying anything. I like Zara, where there are always staff tidying up around you who are more than happy to help when you approach them!

BakerStreetSaxRift Thu 14-Nov-13 14:59:10

But what I don't understand about these targets for pestering customers is that, to me anyway, they are more likely to make me turn round and walk out, sans purchase, because the shop assistant is so annoying and go and buy it somewhere else. I don't know if other people would do this too or if I have a very low tolerance level, but it must do more harm than good?

I'm an antisocial shopper too, I like to browse, on my own, with no pressure or hassle.

hyenafunk Thu 14-Nov-13 15:01:24

Yanbu. I find it really rude when they converse with the cashier next to them whilst serving you. I was in the supermarket once and the cashier was talking to the one behind him the entire time, only stopped to say how much it was and to give me my receipt. They were having a right old chinwag about how he was getting into the business of selling houses. I don't know why it got to me so much but it did. It was as if I was completely invisible and they were just two mates having a chat over a pint!

I also get irritated with the constant questioning. It's the same in a restaurant when they come over to ask if everything's ok whilst you have a mouth full of food. Of course it is, if it wasn't I'd have told you angry.

Much easier to shop online which is practically all I do now antisocial.

sandfrog Thu 14-Nov-13 15:03:43

YANBU. Much prefer internet shopping!

purrtrillpadpadpad Thu 14-Nov-13 15:09:01

Fractured, I'm an antisocial shopper too. I think a heck of a lot of people are and that might be a massive reason why Internet shopping has taken off. I went into Schuh recently to buy, well, shoes and I reversed out when I saw how many sales assistants there were standing around.

TicTacZebra Thu 14-Nov-13 15:09:47

I've worked in quite a few shops and you get told to do this. Some have a policy of 'customers must be approached within 1 minute of entering the store' type thing.

I hated doing it as I could clearly see I was annoying people but managers ect always noticed if I didn't.

It is irritating, but it does work. On days where I wandered round badgering customers I usually sold £300 more than when I took pity and left everyone too it unless they asked for help.

The changing room thing was probably them being required to count items in and out, better to look a bit weirdly over enthusiastic than to say "give me that, i don't trust you not to have stuffed a second jumper inside the one I can see to rob in the cubicle".

samandi Thu 14-Nov-13 15:22:49

YADNBU. I do wonder whether this approach works. My rule is if I'm approached by more than one sales assistant I walk out the shop straightaway. I cannot stand being pestered. But perhaps other people actually like it?

vtechjazz Thu 14-Nov-13 15:33:18

The worst thing us when they TAKE stuff off you to put by the till????? "Shall I take that to the till for you madam?".....why!?

After having about 6 items confiscated I walked out feeling like they didn't trust me to hold my own shopping.

LucySnoweShouldRelax Thu 14-Nov-13 15:34:02

Mixed feelings.

1.Talking at the till is Bad Form, no question.

2. Relaxing and engaging with people isn't the worst thing in the world. Make eye-contact (horror!), smile, tell them you're having a look around/their colleague has already shown you the lovely pants, yes they're lovely they're just not you. Chances are, they have a manager breathing down their neck - "Are you approaching customers? What about her?" - and by interacting with them, even if it is, Heaven forbid, more than once, you're making someone's life easier.

My work in retail/service (boutique previously, pub now) has never been target based, so I suppose I find it more frustrating when people come into my place of work, but won't even look at me, never mind greet me, in case of what? I try and sell them something wildly expensive and inappropriate? Doing that is in neither your interests nor mine. I just want to give you a hand. I guess I should just get my mind-reading skills up to scratch instead.

Lavenderhoney Thu 14-Nov-13 15:34:17

I don't mind being asked as normally I am looking for something specific and its saves time. I don't like assistants who say " ok" then follow me around the shop pretending to tidy up and when I touch anything say " that is lovely, would look great on you, shall I take it to the changing room " and try to be my friend.

CursiveLetters Thu 14-Nov-13 15:42:21

I was in space NK the other day and the girl stood right next to me while I smelled every single candle. It was super awkward.

LadyVetinari Thu 14-Nov-13 15:53:34

LucySnowe - I can only speak for myself, but I don't want to engage with anybody while I'm shopping for clothes or groceries. It's not that I'm antisocial - I just find the whole experience draining due to the music, awkward layout, crowds of fucking people, and overabundance of choices all competing for my attention, so I go onto autopilot. Therefore, when staff approach me I may seem very unfriendly - generally they've (albeit unintentionally) startled me so it takes me a few moments to get my "sociable face" on and, besides, I don't want to appear too receptive as I'm used to being pestered if I do.

A pub would be different, because it is a calmer, more sedate, and fundamentally social environment. The same goes for a book shop or, in particular, a specialist hobby shop where you rely on the expertise, goodwill, and negotiating power of the (generally very highly skilled and knowledgeable) staff to find what you want for a price you're happy with. For instance, I spent about 2 hours in a guitar shop last week, and met some really helpful staff who were able to source a specialist piece of equipment for DH (which he will be buying from them very soon), recommend a couple of luthiers for a guitar repair for me, invite us to a really interesting event at the store, and help DH figure out exactly which kind of (very high end) instrument to save up for next. The service was pitched at exactly the right level: the staff all made it clear that they would be happy to help when we entered the store, and left us to it until it was obvious that we were looking for somebody. I will definitely be going there again, but only when I'm seriously planning to buy something grin.

ProudMum28 Thu 14-Nov-13 15:59:00

OP, in a way YANBU, as I don't like being pestered while shopping myself; however you have to understand that these sales assistants have to do this.

I have been in retail industry for just over 10 years now and can tell you that SAs need to approach customers, offer help, take customer to fitting room, try and push add on sales and so on.

It all comes down to how one does these things. I tend to put myself in buyers shoes and go along. It also helps (comes with experience) to judge what sort of customer you have on your hands.
If I had someone like yourself, most likely I wouldn't try and approach you after initial greeting and asking if assistance needed, however, some ladies WANT you there through every step of your purchase and tend to be offended if not approached.
I feel that SAs just need to be tought on being more subtle with their assistance. But please, don't judge them too harshly when they try and talk to you because it is something they need to do. Some get their personal targets, some are commission based, some get mystery shoppers etc, it's in their job description to do just that.

As for items being taken to fitting rooms, unfortunately, not all customers re trustworthy and all items must be counted when going in and coming out of fitting room; when they take the things to carry them for you they can do the count more subtly.

Lastly, as for the cash desk and cashiers chatting to one another during your transaction, massive no no! No excuses for that.

I am another shopper that will turn on my heel and walk out when approached more than once. A quick hello as I enter the store is more than enough. Hate being followed around, pestered, etc. It's like having a large child with you - bothersome!

The taking the hangers as they help you into the changing room is securty and whilst it feels ridiculous I can understand it. If I'm led to a changing room I don't like I'll say so and ask for one further down.

Brodicea Thu 14-Nov-13 16:04:12

I had this with Bodyshop in my town - I wanted to buy a bottle of perfume, my usual one, she directs me to the celebrity branded version of the same thing because it includes a charity donation, fair enough, then she sells me a loyalty card, spend five minutes filling out the form, then she says if I spend another £X I can get Y for free, so I look around, go back to the till and then she says do I want to make a donation to a charity by adding a pound to my bill. I said no because I was so exasperated and wanted to leave, and then felt like an arse in front of the other customers sad
Sad to say, I don't go in there any more!

BakerStreetSaxRift Thu 14-Nov-13 16:09:04

Ah LavenderHoney I forgot that little pet peeve! Following you sound telling you that everything you pick up/touch/pause to look at is "gorgeous, isn't it. That would really suit you".


MadeOfStarDust Thu 14-Nov-13 16:11:08

I work in Hobbycraft and the customers LOVE to talk in there, they love to be shown the latest stuff, or if there is something that might do the job better, or if there is something cheaper that could do the job just as well, they show me pics on their phones of stuff they have made, and ask if there is something of the same colour etc etc.....

I have never had a customer say "no" or brush me off politely or otherwise if I ask if they need help... I guess I must have a "she knows where stuff is" air about me....

we are so busy in there that the chance to stop and talk to other staff would be a newsworthy incident!!

So I guess it does depend on the type of shop.... but if the assistants have time on their hands they are overstaffed or undertrained..... there is ALWAYS something that needs doing in a shop....

usualsuspect Thu 14-Nov-13 16:12:02

I don't like it much.

But I understand why they have to do it.

LisaMed Thu 14-Nov-13 16:18:37

I was approached/targeted like this when I went into Ann Summers.

I can't imagine many people would want enthusiastic assistance browsing the nipple clamps (for example, not necessarily for me, just sayin).

Fortunately I was not 'that way out' and recognised that the three assistants that targeted me in five minutes were only doing what they were told. On a good day I could embarrass Katie Price, I can channel Lily Savage.

Funnily enough, a shop with enthusiastic sales assistant for matters that ought to be a bit discreet didn't have many people in, and it closed down a bit later.

MillyONaire Thu 14-Nov-13 16:46:45

I went into the Disney Store the other day - within minutes an assistant approached me: "hello there...how are you doing today?"
umm fine thanks
"Is there something I can help you with?"
No thank you
"What brings you into the Disney Store today?"
umm shopping....
"Pardon me?"
Noooo!!! Leave me alllloooone!!!
I left immediately. I am sure he was doing what he'd been told to but EUGH!

SourSweets Thu 14-Nov-13 16:54:45

It is annoying and I used to be the sales associate. I'd just say "let me know if you need anything" and leave them to it. It pissed my manager right off though .

hiddenhome Thu 14-Nov-13 16:55:25

The only stores I like to chat in are the reptile stores grin

All other places, just leave me well alone!

Missboobyvontits Thu 14-Nov-13 16:57:22

I work in retail and confirm you are expected to engage with every customer you meet whether you want to or not. Our life is made considerably harder by customers who ignore you or look at you stoney faced...if you are not interested a simple "I'm just browsing thanks" is enough to get rid of us.

LaundryFairy Thu 14-Nov-13 16:58:34

Sometimes I wish there was a badge or something that we could wear to identify our preference to be left alone to browse. Something polite and not arsey that would tell all shop assistants that we will ask for help when we need it.

SourSweets Thu 14-Nov-13 17:05:28

Just say exactly that - "I'm just browsing thanks, I'll ask for help if I need it". Agree with MissBooby, it is hard to be that annoying sales girl selling to women who clearly don't want to be sold to. If you say that, at least the manager will know the sales associate isn't just not doing her job.

BakerStreetSaxRift Thu 14-Nov-13 17:08:25

MissBooby but on this occasion I did say "I'm just browsing thanks" and I still got pestered by two other assistants (and it's a very small shop and it was almost empty of customers).

He they/the manager insist on doing the overly aggressive greeting (by that I mean not just saying "good morning/are you ok" type acknowledgements) then the rest of the staff should leave you alone if you've said you're just browsing. They would have heard me.

LaundryFairy Thu 14-Nov-13 17:08:57

I think that part of what was winding the OP up was having to say that several times to different assistants in one shop.

LaundryFairy Thu 14-Nov-13 17:09:19

Sorry, x-posts!

SourSweets Thu 14-Nov-13 17:16:42

Ah yes , well there's no solution to that other than to say very loudly "just fuck off please!"


BakerStreetSaxRift Thu 14-Nov-13 17:21:05

I know but I'm much to British to do that! grin

I just passive aggressively leave without my purchase and go and get them somewhere else.

In Debenhams, as it happens, where there was 20% off! Everything happens for a reason! I should be thanking them, really.

RedLondonBus Thu 14-Nov-13 17:21:43

I work in retail too....not clothing though. I find our older customers always like a chat,maybe I'm the only one who has showed an interest in them all day?

BakerStreetSaxRift Thu 14-Nov-13 17:26:50

too* blush

GillyMac93 Thu 14-Nov-13 17:32:24

There's nothing worse ! I'm a shop assistant in a bug supermarket and they're trying to get is to improve service by saying hi to customers..... Everyone .....the whole time , trying to ex

RedLondonBus Thu 14-Nov-13 17:33:29

a bug supermarket?? grin

GillyMac93 Thu 14-Nov-13 17:34:38

Agh sorry .... Trying to explain to the so called managers it would be highly irritating and off putting for customers to be bombarded by staff , I say hello of I catch someone's eye and when someone asks me for help I'm very pleasant . I just can't get my head round it , I hate bring hassled makes me prone to fleeing the shop buying nothing !

GillyMac93 Thu 14-Nov-13 17:35:31

Agh Red typing a little too enthusiasticly !

RedLondonBus Thu 14-Nov-13 17:35:57

ive only been in the job 2 weeks....I vaguely remember a mumsnet thread about commenting on what people are buying? is that still a bad idea?

BakerStreetSaxRift Thu 14-Nov-13 17:39:54

From my perspective, yes it is bad, but I might just be overly touchy!

Broodymomma Thu 14-Nov-13 17:49:24

Have to agree with whoever mentioned the Disney store they are the worst I have ever seen. They must have night classes on up selling it drives me crazy.

Whistleblower0 Thu 14-Nov-13 18:04:20

Lush stores are bloody awful for this. I just dont go in to them anymore! The latest thing now is supermarket checkout staff asking you what you plan on doing for the rest of the day.!!! Wtf. None of your fucking business thanks.
No problem with a polite hello and exchange of pleasantries, but this Really pisses me off angry

BatPenguin Thu 14-Nov-13 18:05:27

Yanbu. Jo Malone are bad for pestering 'are you looking for anything in particular? What perfume do you usually wear? Do you layer your scents?have you seen our new soaps? What's your favourite base note?' Oh dear god LEAVE ME ALONE!!

Went in the White Company and sniffed a candle. Swooped on by sales assistant who tells me that if I only burn the candle for 1 hour at a time it will last longer. No shit.

OP I too am a grumpy shopper. I also hate it when the cashiers talk to each other when they are serving you, especially if they only acknowledge you to say how much to pay.

i feel sorry for the staff that have to do this TBH, they must hate it as much as we do.

Also the 'did you find everything you needed?' asked at the till. Like you are going to hold the queue up by saying no you didn't. confused
Obviously i found everything because I am at the till anyway. I would have asked an assistant on the shop floor otherwise.

Do GAP still do the 'did anyone help you today?' at the till. hmm

Doitnicelyplease Thu 14-Nov-13 18:20:23

I don't mind friendly/helpful shop assistants too much, but with young children I am usually quite rushed and often like to dash in and out doing a quick sweep of the clothes to see if there is anything that catches my eye. If I engaged with all the shop assistants in 10+ shops it would take me all day to get around the mall. I do a quick 'hello how are you' and then say 'thank you' when I leave (60 seconds later).

If I do see stuff I like and go to the changing room then as long as I am not pressed for time I will go into chatty customer mode and would be happy with their suggestions etc, but this doesn't happen much and I am usually speed shopping for myself.

And I always say I am 'just browsing' otherwise they latch on to anything you may have said!

Also dislike 'did you find everything you were looking for today' such a pointless question once you are already at the till!

Arion Thu 14-Nov-13 18:41:19

It's not just clothes, I went in Lush today, less than 5 minutes and got harassed by four staff, one of whom wouldn't give up! Do you need any help, are you looking for anything in particular, are you sure, what about some hand cream, what about a nice relaxing hand massage? All after I'd said, no thanks, I'm just looking! Just got rid of her and 3 seconds later, another one, can I help you with anything today? Aaaargh, fuck off!!!

I didn't say that though, I just left the store!

RavenRose Thu 14-Nov-13 18:46:33

Could be worse. I was mostly ignored last week. I asked for a size 8 in one shoe shop to be greeted with "oooo, no we don't do LARGE sizes"

Headed for the next one where the assistant was nattering to her friend who'd come in with her baby. I stood around for about 5 minutes feeling dafter by the second so tried to get her attention. Assistant glares at me " I'll be five minutes" then goes back to baby talk. I then gave up on shoes and headed for Clinique. Assistant nattering to her mate in clarins counter and completely ignored me.

At that point I gave up on all shopping and went for coffee and cakes - cheaper in the long run

Oh gawd, I had a menopause-induced meltdown in Schuh once. In the five minutes I was in there I was approached seven times, and ended up storming out foaming at the mouth. I also wrote a strongly worded email to Lush - in the time it took me to pick up the shampoo I'd been using for ten years, also approached by seven staff, the last of whom tried to engage me in a conversation about shampoo.

I feel like I'm under surveillance. Service should be discreet.

BakerStreetSaxRift Thu 14-Nov-13 19:06:19

RavenRose shock That's awful!

Surely even the lady she was talking to thought that was terrible. If, I had a friend who worked in a shop and I was chatting to her and she told the customer to wait while we finished our conversation, I'd have left myself out of embarrassment/not wanting my friend to get fired!

RavenRose Thu 14-Nov-13 19:18:24


Sadly not! Her friend just stood there and sniggered shock

When I worked in retail there's no way we have even thought that was acceptable, mind you we would never have followed customers either. There's a happy medium, availed if needed but don't harass!

RavenRose Thu 14-Nov-13 19:19:07

Available if needed that is!

Spaulding Thu 14-Nov-13 19:21:52

YANBU but I will defend the running-to-the-fitting-room thing. I work in a clothes shop and the fitting room is a great opportunity for shoplifters. Hiding extra items in between the clothes they're holding so it may look like they're holding 4 things but they actually have 5. They steal the extra one, give the sales assistant back the 4 and no-one is any the wiser until they check the cubicle and find a security tag hidden somewhere or sometimes hidden in the other clothes they gave back. So it's important for sales assistants to make the customer aware that they're there and they know for sure how many items are being taken in. Of course staff also need to acknowledge the customer going in because it's rude otherwise and in case the customer needs someone to run and get another size.

But I absolutely hate the type of sales assistants who pounce on customers. We're told to say hi and ask if they need help if we see them looking at something for quite a while but we're not one of these stores that harass people. Thankfully, because I just couldn't that, because I find it bloody annoying myself. Many moons ago we had to sell store cards and extras at the till. It would make me cringe inside. We didn't personally get anything for signing customers up, but it was a store target and the store manager would get an earful if we didn't hit our target. I'm so glad we don't have to do it anymore.

Neitheronethingortheother Thu 14-Nov-13 19:29:43

Lush are the worst i have ever come across

LionelRichieAndTheWardrobe Thu 14-Nov-13 19:40:15

I'm a sales assistant. I'm friendly and not at all persistent but I have noticed that on days where we know we were due a mystery shopper so went through all the script we were supposed to with customers, our conversion rate was amazing! The 'did you find everything you were looking for?' Works from a sales point of view too I'm afraid. People always complain on here about all the sales tactics but bosses will not change them because they do work. And that's all they care about, more money on the till grin

BlueStones Thu 14-Nov-13 19:59:45

Lush are horrendous for this; at least, the branch in Westfield is. I really felt quite harassed - I walked out and won't go there again.

needaholidaynow Thu 14-Nov-13 20:42:24

I used to have a job at Coast and I use to absolutely HATE it! I had to pounce on customers as soon as I saw one and I used to hate the fakeness of it all. I didn't really want to help people find a nice dress, I just needed the money whilst I was at college. I really hated approaching customers and showing a very ungenuine interest. I could have thought of better ways to spend my time.

A lot of customers were irritating but I had to force a fake smile.

purrtrillpadpadpad Thu 14-Nov-13 20:47:24

Oh, lush are amazing. You can't diss them for their customer service. They always know their stuff and they actually listen. But then, I love their products so talking to an employee is kinda fun for me, probably not if you're not into lush.

nosleeptilever Thu 14-Nov-13 21:00:30

Service in the UK seems to run to either extreme. There are the shops where the sales staff make you feel like you're a great inconvenience to them (or they're just downright rude and unhelpful) and then there's the Disney store. My friend told me of a game where One had to make it to the back of the shop without being greeted. Impossible.
My first job here was at body shop in a very new mall in the middle of nowhere. The only people in the place were new Mums getting out of the cold. We got training videos of how to sell and ALL things mentioned here were on it. It was cringeworthy and I only lasted 3 months before getting something else. I simply can't sell tat to people who obviously don't want it

howrudeforme Thu 14-Nov-13 21:06:53

My worst experience was about 15 years ago in a shop on oxford street.
best friend was a trainers addict and saw a pair -asked shop assistant for her size. Shop assistant sneered and went off to get her size - i'm talking 15 frigging minutes later in a quiet and big shop this shop assisant was talking to her mates so I went up to enquire on if they'd found my friend's v. normal size 5 size.

She sneers - 'well, ovbiously not' at which point I had three pair of shoes in my hand that I was going to try on and I just dropped them at her feet and started to walk off.

Assistant went ballistic at me - at which point I sneered at her back.

Job done.

Not the best way to buy shoes. Not the best way to sell shoes.

OneUp Thu 14-Nov-13 21:09:28

I can't stand shop assistants coming up to me, I'm a very antisocial shopper and I like to go in, get what I want and go. I have a rule that if I'm approached twice in a store that I leave and never come back.

PumpkinPie2013 Thu 14-Nov-13 21:46:00


I don't mind the 'hello' or even 'do you need any help' being asked once.

Anymore than that I leave without buying anything!!

I find bodyshop one of the worst but disney store and claire's accessories have also been bad when I've gone on for presents for nieces/nephews.

Financeprincess Thu 14-Nov-13 22:51:16

I can't bear the cynical, fake, "oh, that's lovely isn't it?" at the till when you're buying something. I know it's nice, that's why I'm buying it. Harvey Nichols are the worst for this. Their assistants also insist on telling you that things look nice when they obviously don't. The thought bubble with, "what about my commission?" written in it is almost visible above their heads!

Spaulding Thu 14-Nov-13 23:01:02

PumpkinPie, agree with your comments on the Disney Store. Was in one recently and DS didn't want to let go of a toy which he already has a smaller version of. Assistant next to us, "Oh it's only £10 now" (I had seen the price) We smile and explain he already has one almost the same. Assistant: "I'm not sure how long it'll be £10 for" AAAAGG WE'RE NOT INTERESTED (I said in my head) We smiled politely and left.

Gavlaaa Thu 14-Nov-13 23:28:29

I agree that lush is too much, so much so that I now do not shop there. Yes, it is nice when they know their products, but the endless questions, and demonstrations of the products are overwhelming, annoying and time consuming.

They do not seem to understand that "oh, I'm just browsing thankyou" does not mean "please, follow me, talk to me, and make me stop at every single product so you can give me a hand massage" hmm

Snowbility Thu 14-Nov-13 23:31:23

I hate it when you try on a jacket and the Sales assistant starts to gush about how amazing it is on you - while you are thinking it's at least two sizes too small, most likely 3 but they don't give a shit...make that sale! I hate it when they tell me they love the item I bought - I've heard them say the same thing to every single customer before me. I love clothes but shop assistants make me grumpy and annoyed and so often I have left shops and because I feel hounded. There are loads of shops especially boutiques that I have to be pretty desperate to face, their sales teams are exhausting.

Snowbility Thu 14-Nov-13 23:35:50

I'm very direct with Lush Sales assistants - I say if I need help I'll ask, any more enquiries and I'll repeat, it's all I say to them, the kids like the bath bombs, the shop stinks - no way would I use that amount of perfume anywhere near my skin.

Repeatedlydoingthetwist Thu 14-Nov-13 23:47:21

The pushing stuff at the till thing is really bloody annoying too. Clinton's are awful for this and I really feel for their sales assistants. I was in there the other day and I think I was offered five different things at the till? The assistant looked embarrassed and bored to be saying it all. What I really don't like there though is the attempted guilt tripping over cancer research pens. 'Would you like to help fight cancer today?' What are you supposed to say to that? 'Oh no I don't feel like it'?! and I've already got five of them at home because they write beautifully

ThornSayre Thu 14-Nov-13 23:53:30

The last time I went shopping for something specific rather than just to replace worn-out basics was many years ago for my wedding.

I was pretty much left alone. Yesterday I was looking for a top to wear with a black suit and I was constantly harassed. I wouldn't mind if I was examining everything in the shop and browsing but I was purposefully stalking around and homing in on anything which looked suitable.

The number of times people asked me what I was after! I got quite fed up with explaining that I wanted a top in purple or jade, not sparkly or flashy for my mother's funeral gave me the rage.

sandfrog Fri 15-Nov-13 00:00:02

I don't like the ones who want to squirt a perfume sample on you as you enter the store. As if you can't tell what it smells like from the clouds of the stuff sprayed on everyone who's already gone past.

TheSinisterTrifle Fri 15-Nov-13 00:05:52

Engaging with a customer and making eye contact can actually stop a potential shop lifter.

I am not saying the posters are shop lifters but a simple 'Hi, can I help you'? and a smile means they know they have been clocked. It is standard retail practice.
My friend owns a shop and she has part time staff with varying degrees of efficiency. The ones who are chatty and friendly sell more on their shifts and the silent ones get more stuff nicked.

One sullen Saturday girl cost her over a thousand quid in a month due to shoplifters. The cost is past onto the customers which means you and me.

Then again, her staff were on an hourly rate and not on commission so no pressure on them to sell.

chipshop Fri 15-Nov-13 00:21:44

It's really not that hard is it. Greet your customer when they walk in, don't pester but be on hand to help when browsing and trying on stuff and then be attentive at the till - a nice brief chat. So many shops get this wrong.

Snowbility Fri 15-Nov-13 07:08:04

I feel the shoplifting vibe sometimes when I'm followed around a shop and it annoys me so much I leave even if I want to buy something.

What I find is when I actually need help I can find no one to help me. They don't want to go get you stuff, they just want to bloody harass you. And don't make fake compliments about what I'm it's insulting.

needaholidaynow Fri 15-Nov-13 08:04:04


Do you really think a lot of the sales assistants actually want to chase you around the shop, because I don't. No, it's that manager eyeballing them from across the room that's making them do it.

southeastastra Fri 15-Nov-13 08:07:23

i actually quite like it, if they are helpful and know the range well enough. imagine it's quite boring if you just stand around.

it does depend on the shop though but mostly i have found them helpful.

KittensoftPuppydog Fri 15-Nov-13 08:18:42

Really annoying. Office shoes are terrible like this. I don't need to be told that you think the boots I'm trying on are lovely. I'm a grown woman and know what I want. Get the fuck out of my personal space.

commanderprimate Fri 15-Nov-13 08:23:34

Totallyneedaholiday has it.

Blame the managers, and don't just do it by muttering under your breath, ask to see them and complain. If no one tells them, they won't stop doing it, and if it gets much worse I won't be able to stand buying new clothes in person at all.

Go blame Mary Fucking Portas or whatever her name is. She's put so much pressure on a lot of places with that countdown of who's worst at customer service. Do you really think shop workers want to make sure they hit every bullet point on a mystery shopper list with every customer who comes through the door, on the off chance that that is the mystery shopper? Every month, then you're on eggshells waiting to see if you're going to get in trouble for not mentioning that we have a website, or for another customer asking for something meaning you didn't greet the mystery shopper as she/he entered the floor. It's not fun, even if the shopper mentions in the report how good you were at customer service, you're still marked down for not hitting the specifics.

LionelRichieAndTheWardrobe Fri 15-Nov-13 09:25:39

commanderprimate, I think people could complain all they want. They'll probably receive an email saying 'they'll look into it' and then nothing will be done. Because all the greeting/smiles and scripts are not just there to try and make customers feel welcome, they are there to sell, to make shit loads more money and they'll never stop telling retail staff to do this because it will drive sales down.

I agree it is shit but they'll never stop.

moobaloo Fri 15-Nov-13 09:44:03

I am a hugely antisocial shopper and find it very annoying if shop assistants say anything more than "hello" usually!

However I work in a ladies clothing boutique! I have devised my own way of approaching customers as I am pretty good at reading body-language etc. in people and know how annoying it can be.

There are roughly 3 types of people.

1. avoid eye contact, mumble hello if you talk to them, no thanks I'm just browsing, uptight and very "no contact" feel about them. I leave these alone, they get "Hello, are you happy browsing? Yes you're very welcome, please feel free to look around" and "Thank you" as they leave. I'm not going to push them if they don't like it.

2. also not interested in communicating very much, but slightly more friendly and relaxed. These are the hardest as some of them DO want you to talk to them, but on their terms. Watch and wait until they look fairly interested and then drop a friendly comment or piece of information (say if they're looking at the care label "Oh, that one's lambswool") and then back off, usually they talk back which is good.

3. Want to be ADORED! Some customers LOVE one to one attention and trot about the shop talking non stop about this that or the other, asking your opinion, more than happy to try on lots of items you show them and listen to you praising the merits of Merino etc. They are in and out of the changing room doing twirls for you and complaining about their various body hang ups, some of these are easily pleased and others are high maintenance, so you have to get them the "perfect" item and enthuse about how wonderful it is. I am nothing like these people, but they're usually the easier customers to sell things to!

Personally - I don't like retail! However it's something I fell into and can do and relatively enjoy, it's a funny old world smile

BakerStreetSaxRift Fri 15-Nov-13 11:22:02

Yes the asking you at the till if you want any of the tat there on special offer is really annoying too. WHS is bad for that, and the Lego shop, and Accessorize. Or when you're in an underwear shop and they look at the bra you're buying, feign looking for the pants, then say "didn't you pick up the matching pants?" shock angry Just fuck right off, would you?

But the one place I actually like it when they do it is Superdrug; "Do you want any stamps or phone top-ups today?" Oh stamps! Yes please! Honestly, if it wasn't for Superdrug, none of my family would get their birthday cards on time, they are the reason I am always known for having a supply of stamps in my purse. smile

CiderBomb Fri 15-Nov-13 13:08:53

I don't know anyone who enjoys being hum bugged by sales assistants whilst trying to do their shopping. I've not idea why companies keep pushing their staff into doing it? If I want help I will ask for it. Please leave me alone to browse in peace!

The absolute worst for it are The Body Shop and Lush. I've stopped shopping there now because I was sick and tired of being jumped on within about a second of entering the store. One time in Lush I was approached by about four sales assistants within less than five minutes, it was infuriating!

Fecklessdizzy Sat 16-Nov-13 16:31:18

Two words for all you haters - Secret Shoppers - blame those fuckers not the poor old shop assistants. You miss one of those bastards and they submit a 6 page report detailing how you failed to do all the annoying stuff that people are ranting about up thread and your manager gets it in the neck and so do you! Spawn of Satan, I tells 'ee!

( PS. Guess who missed one last week ... grin )

Allthingsprettyreturns Sun 17-Nov-13 22:07:13

Op I got 'ok then' in a sarky tone when I said no to matching pants whem buying a bra recently.I was not expecting the sarky reply and just wanted to get out of the shop asap

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