What’s been your experience with shop assistants over the last few weeks? Helpful? Bored? Can’t be bothered? Kindness personified? Manic expression in the eyes with a few clumps of hair missing? I worked in retail many years back and, I must confess, I can’t help but feel sorry for shop workers in the weeks leading up to Christmas. For this reason I do everything in my power to be patient..
The problem is I’m not, patient that is and this morning I found myself having to grit my teeth to avoid screaming ‘GO AWAY!’ at the top of my voice. When you walk into a shop over here the nearest assistant will say ‘bonjour’ and then ask if they can help. As I knew exactly what I wanted I said bonjour’, gave her a pleasant smile and said no thanks (or non merci to be exact). Excellent! This was going to be a quick trip in and out of the store and then home to my blog. Or so I thought…….
I paused to look at some eye shadows (yes I was make-up shopping) and a young woman asked if she could help.
“No thanks I’m just looking” I’d already found what I needed at this point
“Well, you should know today that with X, Y and Z brands we have 25% off”
“Ok, great thanks” Can I communicate ‘I’m not interested’ telepathically I wonder?
“What is it you’re looking for in particular?” We were almost shoulder to shoulder by this point
“Nothing thanks, I’ve got what I need” Smile very slightly strained
“Well, if you’re looking for mascara we have this” Air hostess style pose adopted and said mascara indicated
“No thanks, no, I don’t need mascara, I have what I need” Holding up selected product and pointing at it did not constitute a big enough hint apparently
“Perhaps a lovely bronzer to give you a glow for Christmas” Box of brown dust with suspicious looking sparkles held at smile height and then shoved under my nose.
“No thank you, no bronzer” I decided the time had come to move away with some real purpose so I strode briskly to the other side of the counter and towards the checkout.
She followed me.
“This is one of the brands where we have 25% off today, do you know it” Double handed gesticulation which at once indicated the little counter and blocked my escape to the checkout
“No not at all” My answers were becoming shorter and shorter along with my temper
“It’s marvelous, you really should try it. Would you like me to make you up and you can see for yourself” She reached for a pink jacket thing which resembled a strait jacket and tried to usher me towards one of those tall stools (do you know the ones I mean? About 5 feet high with a three inch round seat?)
“No……thank you” blank stare, no smile.
“Perhaps some perfume? We have a great selection”
I honestly thought this was going to go on all day with my only means of escape being pretending that I was going to vomit or hitting her over the head with a a florescent pink blusher blush which I’d noted in case of emergency. It was then that I heard the words
“Excuse me madame, can you help me” from a very well to do woman standing just behind my
stalker shop assistant.
Just like that, the woman turned her back on me and her radiant, possibly surgically fixed smile, onto her new
victim customer and departed without a word. Well!
What about you? What’s been your worst experience at the hands of a well to do (or not) shop assistant?
Let me know, I’d love to hear from you