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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

FracturedViewOfLife Thu 14-Nov-13 14:43:52

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.

HorraceTheOtter Thu 14-Nov-13 15:17:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

YourHandInMyHand Thu 14-Nov-13 16:01:53

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 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 .

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