After spending a few years as a bridal consultant, I can honestly say I’m shocked by some people’s behavior when shopping. Truth be told, I occasionally gave my brides the benefit of the doubt as I know firsthand how much stress is associated with wedding planning, but still… stress is no excuse for being rude.
After leaving the bridal industry, I can justly say that I’ve seen everything. That being said, I tip my hat to anyone working in retail.
1. Smile. First impressions are everything and a simple smile will not only put you in a better mood, it can raise a salesperson’s spirits.
2. Greet the salesperson if they don’t greet you. If the salesperson doesn’t greet you, don’t take it personally. They are most likely distracted or may not know you are there.
3. If you don’t want help, say ‘I’m just browsing/looking around’. Not everyone who goes shopping knows exactly what they want. Sometimes we want to spend a leisurely afternoon just browsing. I’ve found it odd that the people who in fact just want to browse don’t communicate this to the salesperson. As a result from not communicating, these browsers end up feeling pressured and have a bad experience at the store. Back in my bridal days, when I would tell people where I worked, they would ask ‘Why aren’t customers allowed to just look around’ or tell me some bad experience they had while trying to browse. Ugh. Bottom line: Communicate with the salesperson if you just want to look around. This will alleviate stress from both you and the salesperson… and trust me, you will end up with all the uninterrupted browsing time your heart desires. If you experience a pushy salesperson, the key is letting them know you’ll find them when you need help.
4. If you have a question, ASK. This one is pretty dang simple. If you have a question about a sale, ASK. If you are unsure of a price, ASK. If you want a price estimate, ASK. A lot of shoppers assume the shirt they want is on sale or hope the cashier will honor their expired coupon at checkout. One can alleviate a lot of stress (and embarrassment) at the checkout if questions are brought up early on.
5. If necessary, make an appointment. If you plan on shopping at a venue that takes appointments or pairs you up with a personal shopper/consultant and are unsure if you need an appointment or not, I’d highly suggest calling the business and asking. It’s also important to be respectful to the staff at businesses that require appointments. Should you be turned away from a bridal shop because you didn’t have an appointment, its bad practice to cause a stir and be mouthy with the staff. If you have an appointment, it’s disrespectful to show up late or even worse, not show up at all.
6. Patience is a virtue. Shopping, especially during the holidays, can be very stressful time for everyone. Keep in mind that although you can’t stand another minute shimmying through the loud, noisy, cranky holiday crowd, the salegirl probably feels the same way and has another 7 hours left in her shift. Also, it’s important to remember the first come, first serve rule. Just because you have a yoga class in 45 doesn’t give you special treatment to cut in front of me in line, sorry.
7. Complain to the correct person. Ahh, the complainers…oh how I love them. I dealt with MANY bridezillas back in my day and I always thought it was funny that they would complain to everyone with a David’s Bridal badge on before speaking to the manager. Yelling at a salesclerk isn’t going to solve your problem. If one needs to complain, I highly suggest going straight to the manager. As tempting as it is to vent to the cashier about the lack of size 7 shoes in stock, that cashier won’t be able to help you. Lastly, after one has approached the manager, I suggest framing the complaint clearly and simply. No venting, please.
8. Dress appropriately. It’s 2013 and by now everyone should have seen Peopleofwalmart.com, right? Wrong. Clothing that certain individuals think is socially acceptable for wearing in public still amazes me. Seriously, if you know you’re going to the mall why not put on a bra? Just last week I was at Bed Bath and Beyond and saw a girl wearing cotton bootyshorts with ‘lovergirl’ on the behind, a white tank top (that barely covered her tummy) with a hot pink lacy bra peeking out, and boots on a 43 degree day. Yeah…. You get my point.
9. Clean up after yourself. We’ve all been there. We excitedly rush into the fitting room and not being able to hang our clothes up due to the 5 shirts taking up hanger space, 3 pairs of jeans laying on the ground, and a couple dresses, inside out, strewn across the bench in the room.
10. Don’t expect a personal shopper. I’ve witnessed plenty a women get their feathers ruffled after a salesgirl went to help another customer. It’s common in retail to have 3 or 4 scheduled workers on the sales floor each shift. Due to weekends, sales, and holidays stores are slightly busier and although the salesgirl assisting you would like to give you one-on-one attention the entire afternoon while you try on everything in the petites section, the salesgirl has other customers to help. If there is a dire need for one-on-one attention, I suggest shopping during hours where the store is less busy or calling the manager ahead of time to make arrangements.