Author Topic: Shopping  (Read 4936 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

DuBois

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1037
Shopping
« on: October 08, 2011, 04:21:10 PM »


What distinguishes the US from the UK in terms of shopping? And not just the US and UK, what about Australia, and all the European countries? Each country, nay, each city, has its own shopping culture.  But things are becoming so homogenized it is unreal. There are the same shops in every city in every country, it would seem. Is the shopping world just one big Westfield Mall now, or are cities holding on to their own character?

Larrabee

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4749
Re: Shopping
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2011, 04:25:19 PM »
The biggest difference between the UK and the US is the customer service culture.  In the US staff are much more attentive and deferential than in the UK.  My US friends were pretty horrified by the 'surly, uninterested' staff they met in shops over here while I was completely overwhelmed and freaked out by the 'intrusiveness' of US staff.  (Those are perceptions and deliberately hyperbolic, not insults by the way!)

DuBois

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1037
Re: Shopping
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2011, 04:33:57 PM »
The biggest difference between the UK and the US is the customer service culture.  In the US staff are much more attentive and deferential than in the UK.  My US friends were pretty horrified by the 'surly, uninterested' staff they met in shops over here while I was completely overwhelmed and freaked out by the 'intrusiveness' of US staff.  (Those are perceptions and deliberately hyperbolic, not insults by the way!)

I am British, and find our staff unspeakably rude most of the time.  I think out customer service is the worst I have seen.

Larrabee

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4749
Re: Shopping
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2011, 04:40:20 PM »
The biggest difference between the UK and the US is the customer service culture.  In the US staff are much more attentive and deferential than in the UK.  My US friends were pretty horrified by the 'surly, uninterested' staff they met in shops over here while I was completely overwhelmed and freaked out by the 'intrusiveness' of US staff.  (Those are perceptions and deliberately hyperbolic, not insults by the way!)

I am British, and find our staff unspeakably rude most of the time.  I think out customer service is the worst I have seen.

Never been to France?  ;)

DuBois

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1037
Re: Shopping
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2011, 04:45:30 PM »
The biggest difference between the UK and the US is the customer service culture.  In the US staff are much more attentive and deferential than in the UK.  My US friends were pretty horrified by the 'surly, uninterested' staff they met in shops over here while I was completely overwhelmed and freaked out by the 'intrusiveness' of US staff.  (Those are perceptions and deliberately hyperbolic, not insults by the way!)

I am British, and find our staff unspeakably rude most of the time.  I think out customer service is the worst I have seen.

Never been to France?  ;)

I have, and oddly, I found the customer service fine! I love the Galleries Lafayette, it is the most beautiful shop I have seen. And the staff were pretty patient with my stumbling French. I remember one summer, when I was around fifteen, and in my 'chubby' phase, I underestimated my dress size, forgetting that European sizes tend to run small. I had the humiliating experience of being stuck in a dress :-[ The lady in the shop just couldn't have been nicer about it.

RingTailedLemur

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2847
  • Rudeness is a small person's imitation of power.
Re: Shopping
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2011, 04:51:48 PM »
The biggest difference between the UK and the US is the customer service culture.  In the US staff are much more attentive and deferential than in the UK.  My US friends were pretty horrified by the 'surly, uninterested' staff they met in shops over here while I was completely overwhelmed and freaked out by the 'intrusiveness' of US staff.  (Those are perceptions and deliberately hyperbolic, not insults by the way!)

I am British, and find our staff unspeakably rude most of the time.  I think out customer service is the worst I have seen.

Never been to France?  ;)

The problem with France is that etiquette there, AFAIK, says you ought to greet the shopkeeper when you walk in.  British people don't do that, so we are immediately behaving in a rude way which puts the shopkeeper's back up.

When I was in North America I loved being greeted by shop workers, until my host told me that it was a psychological trick to discourage people from stealing (you are less likely to steal from a business if you have made human contact, apparently).  I still don't know if he was joking!

kareng57

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12255
Re: Shopping
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2011, 08:09:52 PM »
In Canadian chain-department stores, there is next to no service.  Except for major departments such as furniture and appliances, there are no clerks working the floor.  Cashiers are generally friendly enough, but can't be expected to leave their stations to help you find what you need.

Thipu1

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6692
Re: Shopping
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2011, 11:14:50 AM »
Most of the shopping we do off-line is with local merchants.  Things here are cordial and friendly. 

One shop is run by a family from Yemen.  With the problems going on there, we're a bit concerned about the safety of people at home.  We've been assured that all is well.

Another place has a proprietor who is very interested in crosswords but isn't very good at them.  It's possible to spend a good twenty minutes there helping with the current puzzle. 

Years ago, when visiting the UK, I made a terrible gaffe at a green grocer.  Here, shoppers are expected to select their own produce and bring it to the check-out.  There and then, it was a very different thing.  The shopper was expected to engage a white-coated shop assistant who would select the fruit and vegetables.  Not knowing this rule, I was thought to be unspeakably rude. 


Larrabee

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4749
Re: Shopping
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2011, 12:06:15 PM »

Years ago, when visiting the UK, I made a terrible gaffe at a green grocer.  Here, shoppers are expected to select their own produce and bring it to the check-out.  There and then, it was a very different thing.  The shopper was expected to engage a white-coated shop assistant who would select the fruit and vegetables.  Not knowing this rule, I was thought to be unspeakably rude.

Could I ask how long ago this was or would that be like asking a lady her age?  ;) 

I've seen this on older TV shows and in books but I don't actually know how long ago it stopped being the norm.

RainhaDoTexugo

  • got married!
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 23089
  • Tatum!
Re: Shopping
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2011, 12:50:39 PM »
The biggest difference between the UK and the US is the customer service culture.  In the US staff are much more attentive and deferential than in the UK.  My US friends were pretty horrified by the 'surly, uninterested' staff they met in shops over here while I was completely overwhelmed and freaked out by the 'intrusiveness' of US staff.  (Those are perceptions and deliberately hyperbolic, not insults by the way!)

I always liked shopping in England.  I found the employees to be friendly, but not overbearing.  I don't mind friendly American store employees, but I really don't want all six of them asking me if I need any help, and can they help me find my size in something, and do I need a basket?  Sometimes, you can't see the clothes for all the employees in the way :P

Once, when I was living in London, I bought a bottle of wine with my groceries.  I was, I think, 19 at the time, so legal there, but barely.  The poor cashier seemed terrified to ask me for my ID.  I got the impression that her customers were not a fan of being carded, whereas for me, it was a totally normal thing.  Of course you're going to be carded if you're within a couple years of legal drinking age!  She was so timid about it.  I mentioned it to friends later, and I guess carding isn't common in England.  I must have looked particularly young, for her to take the risk  ;)

As an interesting contrast to the detached/aggressive store clerks, I was surprised by the public transportation employees in London.  At home in Chicago, you get a range from friendly enough if you approach them first to surly jerks.  I was in the underground one day in London, looking sort of like I didn't know where I was going (because I didn't), but not in a terribly lost, panicky way (the area was unfamiliar, but there were signs and such, and I'm good with figuring out foreign subway systems).  A very friendly employee actually approached me out of the blue and offered help.  It surprised me, and I think of it every time people complain about surly public transportation workers in England.  Of course, for all I know, she was the one rare exception.  My future tube experiences were fairly hands off.

DuBois

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1037
Re: Shopping
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2011, 12:59:42 PM »
The biggest difference between the UK and the US is the customer service culture.  In the US staff are much more attentive and deferential than in the UK.  My US friends were pretty horrified by the 'surly, uninterested' staff they met in shops over here while I was completely overwhelmed and freaked out by the 'intrusiveness' of US staff.  (Those are perceptions and deliberately hyperbolic, not insults by the way!)

I always liked shopping in England.  I found the employees to be friendly, but not overbearing.  I don't mind friendly American store employees, but I really don't want all six of them asking me if I need any help, and can they help me find my size in something, and do I need a basket?  Sometimes, you can't see the clothes for all the employees in the way :P

Once, when I was living in London, I bought a bottle of wine with my groceries.  I was, I think, 19 at the time, so legal there, but barely.  The poor cashier seemed terrified to ask me for my ID.  I got the impression that her customers were not a fan of being carded, whereas for me, it was a totally normal thing.  Of course you're going to be carded if you're within a couple years of legal drinking age!  She was so timid about it.  I mentioned it to friends later, and I guess carding isn't common in England.  I must have looked particularly young, for her to take the risk  ;)

As an interesting contrast to the detached/aggressive store clerks, I was surprised by the public transportation employees in London.  At home in Chicago, you get a range from friendly enough if you approach them first to surly jerks.  I was in the underground one day in London, looking sort of like I didn't know where I was going (because I didn't), but not in a terribly lost, panicky way (the area was unfamiliar, but there were signs and such, and I'm good with figuring out foreign subway systems).  A very friendly employee actually approached me out of the blue and offered help.  It surprised me, and I think of it every time people complain about surly public transportation workers in England.  Of course, for all I know, she was the one rare exception.  My future tube experiences were fairly hands off.

The clerk would have been used to dealing with people like me, whose wrath shows on their face when carded.* I am 28 years old, and fed to the back teeth with it! At ten years over the drinking age (18 here) you would think they would give it a rest, but because of all the horrid little louts underage drinking, they have to crack down on the ID'ing. It is frustrating, though, becuase underage drinking is still a huge problem.

* Just to be clear, I never give anyone a bad time, but my impatience and that of my friends probably is clear. Not at the clerk, but at the system.

As for the tube, it is hit and miss. Sometimes they are lovely, sometimes surly. One huge myth is that London cabbies are rude. They are not, they are extremely helpful. I took taxis a whole lot while working in London, and never had a bad one! The only dodgy ones I ever had drove minicabs, the Hackney (black cab) drivers were great. I stopped bothering with the minicabs after a while.

RainhaDoTexugo

  • got married!
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 23089
  • Tatum!
Re: Shopping
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2011, 01:21:11 PM »

The clerk would have been used to dealing with people like me, whose wrath shows on their face when carded.* I am 28 years old, and fed to the back teeth with it! At ten years over the drinking age (18 here) you would think they would give it a rest, but because of all the horrid little louts underage drinking, they have to crack down on the ID'ing. It is frustrating, though, becuase underage drinking is still a huge problem.

* Just to be clear, I never give anyone a bad time, but my impatience and that of my friends probably is clear. Not at the clerk, but at the system.


That's so funny.  Here, most women are glad to still be carded when they're ten years past the drinking age ;)  It's just so normal here, unless someone is up to no good, it's just part of buying alcohol.  Now that I'm in my late 20s, I don't get carded often when we go out to a bar or restaurant, but I do when I buy alcohol at the store.  A number of cash registers here even require the cashier to input the birthdate before they can sell alcohol.  It seemed like such an odd contrast to me, in a country where the people seemed so much more patient and polite in general, to get so bent out of shape over a cashier just trying to follow a law.

Snooks

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2410
Re: Shopping
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2011, 01:30:33 PM »
Up until about 13 years ago British driving licenses weren't handy wallet size cards with a photo on them which means that asking for ID essentially meant asking someone for their passport, which they didn't necessarily carry.  That might be why they seemed timid.

I'm generally insulted that I've never been IDed (except once when I was about 4 months underage).  Even when they had the signs saying "If you look under 25 we ID" I was never IDed, I must look really old!

P-p-p-penguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1529
  • Crazy... but that's how it goes
Re: Shopping
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2011, 01:33:05 PM »
Gahr, most shops now operate the 'Challenge 25' system where people selling alcohol are required to ID anyone they think looks under 25.  So, whilst you might be 10 years over the legal drinking age, you're only 3 years over the ask-for-ID age, which is probably why you get asked :)  Personally I like getting asked, It means I don't look my age and it freaks me out when I don't get asked!

---------------------------

As for the original question, I always got the impression that US shops are open much later than in the UK?  Over here, most shops (with the exception of supermarkets, off-licences, etc.) are generally open from 9:00-5:30 on weekdays, a few open a little longer on Saturdays (but not much), and 10:30-4:30 on Sundays.

Re customer service: I don't have a problem with customer service in the UK.  I don't like being fussed over by salespeople so I'm pretty happy with the way it works over here!

Larrabee

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4749
Re: Shopping
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2011, 01:34:57 PM »
I've hardly ever been ID'd in this country, I've looked about 30 since I was 13, hopefully I'll continue to look 30 till I'm 50!  I often completely forget to carry ID with me as a result.

What really annoyed me when I was in the US wasn't being ID'd, it was the fact that hardly any places accepted my UK driving licence as ID (because it was pink it couldn't be for real  ::)) so I had to carry my passport (with my visa in it) around.  Would have been a complete nightmare if it had got lost or stolen.