Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: Coralreef on March 18, 2013, 11:00:55 AM

Title: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Coralreef on March 18, 2013, 11:00:55 AM
I didn't want to derail the massage thread. 

I went into one of my favorite clothing chain store and was immediatly accosted by the saleslady.  "Hi, how are you, "  "Fine, thanks, "  all the social niceties done with.  I tell her I'm just browsing, I don't need anything specific, I'll let her know if I want/see something. 

She just would NOT leave me alone!  Touch a skirt fabric?  She jumps in with blouse suggestions.  Look toward dresses?  Here are the new styles for this summer.  No matter how many times I told her I was just looking and didn't need help, she just didn't get a clue.  I finally just left the store and I was surprised she didn't follow me into the mall.  It was either that or growl at her.

Suggestions on how to deal with this?  I've never had to handle this before.  When I say I'm just looking, the sales people just let me know their name so I call on them if anything strikes my fancy and they leave me alone.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Lorelei_Evil on March 18, 2013, 11:05:51 AM
Me?  I get mad, then I leave and shop online.

Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: amylouky on March 18, 2013, 11:14:41 AM
I've had this happen, and usually just say "I'm sorry, I'd really rather just look for myself. I will let you know if I need any help." Said in a friendly but firm tone. Usually they get it but if they come up and bug me again, I will put down whatever it is I'm looking at and leave.

Since you shop there often, is this how all of their salespeople are, or was this one particularly pushy? Because some stores have guidelines for how their salespeople are supposed to interact with customers.. if it's a storewide thing she may just be following instructions. Either way, I'd probably contact the management and let them know that the experience really turned you off from shopping there.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Lynn2000 on March 18, 2013, 11:29:25 AM
Wow, I don't think I've ever had a salesperson at a shop be that pushy--usually they just ask once if they can help me, and I say, "No thanks, I'm just looking," and they leave me alone. Maybe occasionally they follow up with another comment, like, "Are you looking for anything in particular?" and then I get a tiny bit cooler (no smile, slightly firmer tone, looking them in the eye) and repeat, "No, I'm just looking."

If someone kept bugging me like you describe I probably would have walked out, honestly. Not in a huff or anything, I just would've found browsing there too much trouble.

If you really want to stay at the store, maybe something like amylouky suggests--"I will let you know if I need anything."
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Coralreef on March 18, 2013, 12:19:15 PM
amylouki, I shop at the chain in general, I just stopped at that particular store because I was in the area.  And I did tell her that I would let her know if I found something. 

Maybe she was afraid to lose a sale (she did, there WAS something I thought was cute).  Her loss... I'll go where I'm comfortable.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Amanita on March 18, 2013, 12:23:54 PM
I get this at a local hobby store- there's one clerk there who will not let me browse in peace. Every couple of minutes, he's asking if he can help me, and it's quite annoying. I feel like I'm being watched or rushed, and I'm not sure how to handle it.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: siamesecat2965 on March 18, 2013, 12:38:15 PM
I hate that too when I'm shopping, but a view from the other side, I work PT in a women's store. What you described is what we are supposed to do. We see them bring pants in to try on, suggest tops, they have tops, do they need a bottom, or jacket, or jewelry, etc etc etc. Unfortunately, we, as the employees, are told if we fail to do all of what corporate dictates we do.

that being said, there are always some, both in my store, and other stores, who push it to the limit. Who won't take no for an answer. I myself am as low key as I can get away with. I will ask of they need any help, and if they say they're just browsling, i back off, but let them know if they do need anything, please let me know.

Although sometimes I am specifically instructed to seek out additional items and bring them into the customer. I hate that. My feeling is, if they WANT something to go with what they're trying on, they will either ask me, or look for it.

I encourage you to let corporate know. Store management won't help as they are the ones telling us to do that, but corporate sets the guidelines. Tell them how much you dislike that type of approach, since I can tell you, we can't do anyting about it, at store level, unless the associate is rude, which this doens't sound like she was.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: MrTango on March 18, 2013, 12:42:41 PM
I'd suggest "Please leave me alone to do my shopping in peace.  If I have questions or want help, I will ask."

If they don't take the (clue-by-four of a) hint, then I'd leave without purchasing anything.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Luci on March 18, 2013, 01:12:05 PM
I always feel that I am not trusted. I can't imagine what people who are profiled as not trustworthy must feel!

Anyway, I do often leave. I know a couple of times I probably would have made $100 purchases if I weren't hovered over, but I just got irritated and left.

I get this at a local hobby store- there's one clerk there who will not let me browse in peace. Every couple of minutes, he's asking if he can help me, and it's quite annoying. I feel like I'm being watched or rushed, and I'm not sure how to handle it.

Me?  I get mad, then I leave and shop online.

Well, I don't buy clothing online, but I have gone for hats, purses, jewelry, and office equipment.

Sometimes when I was younger and had less of a spine I would just leave when I was checking out and the clerk was trying to upsell me. I remember one woman kept pushing for my to buy the other items of underwear and purses and hoses to go with my purchases. I said kept saying, "No, thank you." Finally, just left the counter without giving her my credit card even though I had been rung up. Still don't feel bad about it.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: BeagleMommy on March 18, 2013, 01:20:56 PM
Argh!  I hate this!  If I need help I'll find you.  Otherwise, leave me the ehell alone!

I usually start with the "Thanks, I'm just browsing".  If that doesn't work I will say "If I need help I'll find you".  If that doesn't work I leave and tell them why.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Tabby Uprising on March 18, 2013, 01:30:03 PM
I've had this happen, and usually just say "I'm sorry, I'd really rather just look for myself. I will let you know if I need any help." Said in a friendly but firm tone. Usually they get it but if they come up and bug me again, I will put down whatever it is I'm looking at and leave.

Since you shop there often, is this how all of their salespeople are, or was this one particularly pushy? Because some stores have guidelines for how their salespeople are supposed to interact with customers.. if it's a storewide thing she may just be following instructions. Either way, I'd probably contact the management and let them know that the experience really turned you off from shopping there.

I find the practice annoying too and I try to avoid stores that have this clingy approach.  I do like the suggestion of contacting management or the corporate offices, not to get anyone in trouble, but to let them know I dislike the sales tactic.  If the salespeople use this approach because it is mandated by the higher ups, the only way it could change is if enough customers voice their complaints to those higher ups. 
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Eden on March 18, 2013, 02:39:22 PM
Could taking a sympathetic approach work? "Look I know you're coached to stay in contact with browsing customers and make suggestions etc, but I really prefer to be left alone while I shop. If I need something, I will ask." If they continue to persist, ask for a manager and repeat your request to them. If they will not comply, I would tell them I will no longer shop there then contact corporate and let them know why.

In my experience as long as you're direct and clear that you really don't want them to check in on you, they will leave you alone. In particular if I note their name and let them know I will ask for them specifically.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Shoo on March 18, 2013, 03:06:50 PM
It's not really something that's happened to me a lot, but the time I can remember it happening, I looked very intently at the salesperson and said (pleasantly), "I'm fine.  If I need help, I'll let you know.  I promise."
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: artk2002 on March 18, 2013, 03:59:47 PM
It's not really something that's happened to me a lot, but the time I can remember it happening, I looked very intently at the salesperson and said (pleasantly), "I'm fine.  If I need help, I'll let you know.  I promise."

This is the right approach. Just leaving and shaking the metaphorical dust from your robe as some people have advocated is a very bad idea. Retail salespeople are stuck in a nasty spot. Half the customers want to be left alone while the other half want constant attention. Since nobody wears signs saying what kind of customer they are, the salesperson has to guess and frequently guesses wrong. Getting angry at them because they can't read your (general) mind about what kind of customer you are is just unfair.

Tell them what kind of customer you are, not with hints but with words. If they can't respect that then is the time to leave and let them know why.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: CaffeineKatie on March 18, 2013, 04:15:03 PM
I've run into this all the time and in all kinds of stores--everything from clothing to lumber yards.  I start with "No, I don't need any help right now" and if they won't stop, ask "Are you on commission?"  That will make the pushy ones back up (usually) and if they say "yes" (and are afraid of losing a sale to another clerk), I ask for their card and promise to buy through them IF they will leave me alone.  If they won't stop, I  will say "I'm afraid you lost a sale" and walk out.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Danika on March 18, 2013, 07:11:34 PM
I've run into this all the time and in all kinds of stores--everything from clothing to lumber yards.  I start with "No, I don't need any help right now" and if they won't stop, ask "Are you on commission?"  That will make the pushy ones back up (usually) and if they say "yes" (and are afraid of losing a sale to another clerk), I ask for their card and promise to buy through them IF they will leave me alone.  If they won't stop, I  will say "I'm afraid you lost a sale" and walk out.

I need to hang out with you! I wish I could do this. I'm too spineless when it comes to confrontation. I just leave.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Calistoga on March 18, 2013, 07:21:35 PM
We had the same thing the other day when we were shopping for a new bed. We didn't want to lay on anything we couldn't afford, so we were just looking and immediately this very pushy woman swooped in to drag us from over priced bed to over priced bed. She was rude as all get out too about it- put us on a king bed when we told her we wanted a queen, and when I commented on how nice a king bed was she snapped and said "Well you wouldn't get that, you're getting a queen, those are a lot smaller." So after the first two beds she made us lay on, I just popped up off the bed and said "Were just going to look around now." She got the message and left us alone for the day.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Midnight Kitty on March 18, 2013, 07:23:35 PM
I once worked at Casual Corner as a salesgirl.  They hired me because I went there with a girl friend who was shopping for clothes. I was helping my friend, bringing her different size top while she was in the dressing room.  Another customer asked me to grab something for her, which I did, and the next thing I knew, the store manager was waving an application in my face.

One thing they pounded into our heads was that, even though we work on commission, we should not sell so hard that the customer leaves the store to get some relief.  It's a delicate balance, especially when the store is almost empty.  I would dust, pick up, straighten clothes on the rack near to a customer.  It feels a bit like stalking because I'm keeping my eye on her, waiting to see any of those hints that she needs help.  If she is holding clothes in her hand and looking around, it's time to step forward.

I can't do the hard sell.  I'm no good at it.  I hate when someone tries to pressure me into anything, so I couldn't push the customers into buying something they didn't really love.  I even told a customer, "Yeah, it did look better on the hanger.  Well, let the hanger wear it and we'll find something that flatters you."  I never had top sales numbers, but I had the lowest return rate. ;D
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: TootsNYC on March 19, 2013, 07:10:35 AM
I'd suggest "Please leave me alone to do my shopping in peace.  If I have questions or want help, I will ask."

If they don't take the (clue-by-four of a) hint, then I'd leave without purchasing anything.

I agree, don't hint. If they're unable to accurately interpret "I'll let you know if I need anything," then stop what you're doing, drop your hands to your sides, turn, and look straight at them.

And say MrTango's line, word for word. And then either cut-and-paste or, the moment they approach you, leave.

Eden's got a point about the sympathetic approach, but she's right--you should also be direct: "I know you're coached or even ordered to keep suggesting things, but I'll be honest--it's putting me off. Please just leave me alone to look and get ideas. I promise I'll come to you if I need help."
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Kari on March 19, 2013, 07:41:46 AM
I think these salespeople are pressured by their bosses to act that way, so I feel like the best way to get the message across is to write directly to the corporate office. If you don't have a receipt with a website for a feedback survey, search online for one. I did that recently for a bad experience at a craft store.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Lynn2000 on March 19, 2013, 09:40:23 AM
We had the same thing the other day when we were shopping for a new bed. We didn't want to lay on anything we couldn't afford, so we were just looking and immediately this very pushy woman swooped in to drag us from over priced bed to over priced bed. She was rude as all get out too about it- put us on a king bed when we told her we wanted a queen, and when I commented on how nice a king bed was she snapped and said "Well you wouldn't get that, you're getting a queen, those are a lot smaller." So after the first two beds she made us lay on, I just popped up off the bed and said "Were just going to look around now." She got the message and left us alone for the day.

I think it's interesting that different store types have different expectations... In furniture stores, for example, the salespeople are much more attentive than in the average clothing store I frequent. This is usually good, because I have a lot more experience with clothing shopping for myself than with furniture shopping, and a clothing store stop is much more likely to be a casual browsing experience, whereas if I go into a furniture store, I probably have something specific in mind I'm looking for and could use the extra assistance.

But I do think the basic approach should be the same--if the customer says, "I'm just browsing" or "I'll let you know if I need help," I think the salesperson should back off.

Are there any kinds of stores where casual browsing is generally frowned upon, and if you're in there, you really should be talking to a salesperson? I feel like there are but my mind has blanked at the moment...
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: weeblewobble on March 19, 2013, 09:42:25 AM
I leave the store and come back another day, hoping the Desperate Salesperson is off-duty.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Mikayla on March 19, 2013, 12:17:48 PM
This happened to me once in a store in Dallas (the name of which is now driving me bonkers - it was not a chain).  Anyway, I tried the logical explanation, because that's how my brain works.  "I know your job is to help customers, but I'm not looking for feedback right now.  I'm just browsing, thanks".  She had just gotten done telling me I looked gorgeous in a dress that didn't even fit.

Anyway, this didn't slow her down in the slightest.  So I went to the manager and nicely explained that I was leaving without a purchase if she couldn't get this woman to back off.  She did.

I also knew others had complained about her, which made my approach a little more assertive.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: siamesecat2965 on March 19, 2013, 01:32:56 PM
This happened to me once in a store in Dallas (the name of which is now driving me bonkers - it was not a chain).  Anyway, I tried the logical explanation, because that's how my brain works.  "I know your job is to help customers, but I'm not looking for feedback right now.  I'm just browsing, thanks".  She had just gotten done telling me I looked gorgeous in a dress that didn't even fit.

Anyway, this didn't slow her down in the slightest.  So I went to the manager and nicely explained that I was leaving without a purchase if she couldn't get this woman to back off.  She did.

I also knew others had complained about her, which made my approach a little more assertive.

Good for you! I have several co-workers who simply can't take no for an answer, and it even drives me bonkers, so I can only imagine how it makes customers feel. LIke I said, i am as laid-back as i can get away with, and that usually seems to work.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: zyrs on March 19, 2013, 02:44:07 PM
I always feel that I am not trusted. I can't imagine what people who are profiled as not trustworthy must feel!

It's kind of funny, because if they don't trust you they follow you around but don't really say anything.  I don't know what it is about me, but someone from loss prevention is usually following me around watching me like a hawk in clothing stores.  They never talk to me, just follow me around and pretend to be shopping.  The only time they don't is if there is a pushy salesperson following me around.  I honestly prefer the loss prevention people, they aren't irritating.





Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Calistoga on March 20, 2013, 08:58:11 AM

Are there any kinds of stores where casual browsing is generally frowned upon, and if you're in there, you really should be talking to a salesperson? I feel like there are but my mind has blanked at the moment...

Wedding dresses come to mind. They definitely do not want you grabbing stuff off the racks.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Zilla on March 20, 2013, 09:06:07 AM
I would be direct, "I know you have to go through this sales routine but I really rather just shop on my own and figure out my own selections.  If I need help, i will let you know.  Thank you!"  In a bright but firm voice.  If they continue to badger you, then I would definitely say, "This doesn't seem the store for me then.  Goodbye." and leave.  I would call corporate and tell them that their sales tactics chased you away.


With that said, I have friends that work for a store known for the pressure to sell sell sell and how to turn a No thank you into another selling tactic.  But if the customer specifically requests to be left alone in clear words, they are to leave them alone and only approach if there is eye contact.  So I always think that and be very direct with them.  Most of the times it works, but other times I end up leaving.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: TootsNYC on March 20, 2013, 10:59:14 AM

Are there any kinds of stores where casual browsing is generally frowned upon, and if you're in there, you really should be talking to a salesperson? I feel like there are but my mind has blanked at the moment...

Wedding dresses come to mind. They definitely do not want you grabbing stuff off the racks.

Jewelry stores.

The butcher shop.

But it's generally quite clear that you start with a salesperson.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Miss March on March 20, 2013, 12:18:04 PM
This sort of sales pressure used to happen to me a lot in hair salons. I would go in for a simple cut and style, and then while the stylist had me captive in the chair, he or she would pepper me with questions about what sort of hair products I use at home. Then they would explain why those products were inferior or all wrong for me, and they would start extolling the hair products that were sold in the salon. In some cases, it was almost like I was sitting though a 30 minute long personal infomercial, as they used a certain shampoo/conditioner/styling product on me and talked about the great benefits of the products. I would be weary of hearing about it, but at the same time, this is the person who is actively cutting your hair, so I was in a vulnerable position with them. Other times, they would launch into speeches about how I should consider a certain service that they offer (coloring, highlights, deep conditioning, etc.) Then as they walked me the register, they'd ask if I wanted to take home a few bottles of that great product, or if I wanted to go ahead and book that salon service?

I finally found a stylist who goes very, very easy on trying to sell things to me while I am in her chair, and I love her for it. She is worth her weight in gold.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Yvaine on March 20, 2013, 12:44:53 PM
This sort of sales pressure used to happen to me a lot in hair salons. I would go in for a simple cut and style, and then while the stylist had me captive in the chair, he or she would pepper me with questions about what sort of hair products I use at home. Then they would explain why those products were inferior or all wrong for me, and they would start extolling the hair products that were sold in the salon. In some cases, it was almost like I was sitting though a 30 minute long personal infomercial, as they used a certain shampoo/conditioner/styling product on me and talked about the great benefits of the products. I would be weary of hearing about it, but at the same time, this is the person who is actively cutting your hair, so I was in a vulnerable position with them. Other times, they would launch into speeches about how I should consider a certain service that they offer (coloring, highlights, deep conditioning, etc.) Then as they walked me the register, they'd ask if I wanted to take home a few bottles of that great product, or if I wanted to go ahead and book that salon service?

I finally found a stylist who goes very, very easy on trying to sell things to me while I am in her chair, and I love her for it. She is worth her weight in gold.

I've experienced this, sometimes with added bonus insulting of my hair, because that's supposed to make me insecure enough to buy the stuff. (There is nothing objectively wrong with my hair--I like it and think it looks good.)
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: spookycatlady on March 20, 2013, 12:53:27 PM
I get stuck in the next challenge to my polite demeanor when I finally do ask for help and the constant wave of unsolicited pant/tops/bottoms, etc. coming flying at me over the changing room door.

I often find the clothes they've pulled for me... hideous.  Plus, I've already rejected that item when I was browsing the store.

"No thank you.  I'm really fussy and I have all that I need."  I feel like I'm insulting their taste when I reject their offerings, but unless I asked specifically to see a Mrs. Roper style muumuu, I would like them to kindly leave it on the rack. 

If they can't take no for an answer, I will just repeat "No, thank you," in an increasingly loud and clear voice.  My best friend laughs because if I get to a third "no, thank you," apparently my voice is kind of shrill and panicked.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Danika on March 20, 2013, 01:21:01 PM
This sort of sales pressure used to happen to me a lot in hair salons. I would go in for a simple cut and style, and then while the stylist had me captive in the chair, he or she would pepper me with questions about what sort of hair products I use at home. Then they would explain why those products were inferior or all wrong for me, and they would start extolling the hair products that were sold in the salon. In some cases, it was almost like I was sitting though a 30 minute long personal infomercial, as they used a certain shampoo/conditioner/styling product on me and talked about the great benefits of the products. I would be weary of hearing about it, but at the same time, this is the person who is actively cutting your hair, so I was in a vulnerable position with them. Other times, they would launch into speeches about how I should consider a certain service that they offer (coloring, highlights, deep conditioning, etc.) Then as they walked me the register, they'd ask if I wanted to take home a few bottles of that great product, or if I wanted to go ahead and book that salon service?

I finally found a stylist who goes very, very easy on trying to sell things to me while I am in her chair, and I love her for it. She is worth her weight in gold.

I've had this happen so much. I've finally resigned and I cut my own hair now. That's mostly because after enduring this at various places, I've still come home to find that my hair isn't even and I've had to retrim it anyway.
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: I'mnotinsane on March 20, 2013, 04:54:00 PM
This sort of sales pressure used to happen to me a lot in hair salons. I would go in for a simple cut and style, and then while the stylist had me captive in the chair, he or she would pepper me with questions about what sort of hair products I use at home. Then they would explain why those products were inferior or all wrong for me, and they would start extolling the hair products that were sold in the salon. In some cases, it was almost like I was sitting though a 30 minute long personal infomercial, as they used a certain shampoo/conditioner/styling product on me and talked about the great benefits of the products. I would be weary of hearing about it, but at the same time, this is the person who is actively cutting your hair, so I was in a vulnerable position with them. Other times, they would launch into speeches about how I should consider a certain service that they offer (coloring, highlights, deep conditioning, etc.) Then as they walked me the register, they'd ask if I wanted to take home a few bottles of that great product, or if I wanted to go ahead and book that salon service?

I finally found a stylist who goes very, very easy on trying to sell things to me while I am in her chair, and I love her for it. She is worth her weight in gold.

Tell them the name of one of the upscale product lines they sell.  And by the way you have a year's worth at home. 
Title: Re: Let me shop by myself!
Post by: Calistoga on March 20, 2013, 05:00:35 PM

Are there any kinds of stores where casual browsing is generally frowned upon, and if you're in there, you really should be talking to a salesperson? I feel like there are but my mind has blanked at the moment...

Wedding dresses come to mind. They definitely do not want you grabbing stuff off the racks.

Jewelry stores.

The butcher shop.

But it's generally quite clear that you start with a salesperson.


I don't even like it at jewelry stores. Any place where you're doing most of your browsing with your eyes, I don't see the point of a guided tour. But I may have been soured based on experiences when DH and I tried to shop for wedding bands- to this day we don't go in to the jewelry store in the mall if we see the man we call Pimp Guy in there, because he was the single most obnoxious salesman ever.