Author Topic: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?  (Read 3204 times)

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Cami

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2013, 02:17:28 PM »
I've worked all different kinds of retail, including a high-end bridal boutique. I've never known anyone to be offended by that question, even at the high-end boutique.

Simple truth is that we're not working for the fun of it. We're working to earn money to pay our bills. So if a customer cares enough to help us do so, we are appreciative.

 Moreover, at the boutique, customers were paired with consultants this week based on how much they made last week. So getting credit for the sale in the form of commission today was critical to your earnings in the future. We always appreciated when customers made sure to give the consultant who spent hours with them credit for a later sale (ex. Bride looks for hours today, but doesn't buy until her mom is visiting next week and the original consultant is not available at the time of the later visit and actual sale).

To be honest, if my sensibilities were delicate enough that I was offended by someone asking if i worked on commission, I'd be better off finding another line of work than sales. Working in sales is not for the thin-skinned, passive, or faint-hearted.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 11:10:26 AM by Cami »

sweetonsno

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2013, 02:38:03 PM »
I had the same thought as inviteseller. When I read the question, I was imagining that this question would be about dealing with a pushy salesperson rather than an excellent one. Asking about commission makes me think more about the employee's motivation than you wanting to make sure that they get credit.

Most of the time, the cashiers will ask me whether anyone helped me that day. Even if they don't, I will volunteer a name if I got great service. If the service was especially good, I'll leave a comment card or call the manager with a thank-you.

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2013, 08:39:47 PM »
When DIL worked at JC Penny's she didn't receive a commission, but she often received rewards (gift certificates) because of customers calling in with compliments.  She worked the men's wear department, which a lot of other employees didn't want, but she had wives/girl friends ask when she worked so they could send their husbands/boy friends to her to buy their clothes.

Off topic, but I feel the need to share.
My mother worked at Penney's in the work clothes department.  She was instructed to answer the phone with the department name, which led to many instances of this conversation:

Mom: Work clothes.
Customer: You're closed???
Mom: No, Work. . .Clothes.
Customer: Why are you closed? You're supposed to be open till nine.
Mom: You've reached the department that sells heavy duty clothing for people with outdoor jobs.
Customer:  Oh.  Do you carry coveralls?
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LadyClaire

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2013, 08:54:41 PM »
When I worked at Macy's, only a couple of departments got commission (shoes, makeup, and I think maybe fine jewelry). Even if we didn't get commission, we still had sales goals we had to meet. Your goal was printed out on your clock-in ticket. If a co-worker was on the floor and not at a register, and worked extensively with a customer but wasn't able to ring them up for whatever reason, the cashier had the ability to enter a sale under their co-worker's ID so they still got the credit for the sale.

So no one minded when we got the "do you make commission" question, because if they were asking due to being helped by someone else, the person who helped them got the appropriate credit for it.

Yvaine

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2013, 08:56:46 PM »
When DIL worked at JC Penny's she didn't receive a commission, but she often received rewards (gift certificates) because of customers calling in with compliments.  She worked the men's wear department, which a lot of other employees didn't want, but she had wives/girl friends ask when she worked so they could send their husbands/boy friends to her to buy their clothes.

Off topic, but I feel the need to share.
My mother worked at Penney's in the work clothes department.  She was instructed to answer the phone with the department name, which led to many instances of this conversation:

Mom: Work clothes.
Customer: You're closed???
Mom: No, Work. . .Clothes.
Customer: Why are you closed? You're supposed to be open till nine.
Mom: You've reached the department that sells heavy duty clothing for people with outdoor jobs.
Customer:  Oh.  Do you carry coveralls?

Ack!  ;D You'd think management would consider changing it to "Work Wear" or something after a few zillion repetitions of this!

HoneyBee42

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2013, 09:06:40 PM »
When DIL worked at JC Penny's she didn't receive a commission, but she often received rewards (gift certificates) because of customers calling in with compliments.  She worked the men's wear department, which a lot of other employees didn't want, but she had wives/girl friends ask when she worked so they could send their husbands/boy friends to her to buy their clothes.

Off topic, but I feel the need to share.
My mother worked at Penney's in the work clothes department.  She was instructed to answer the phone with the department name, which led to many instances of this conversation:

Mom: Work clothes.
Customer: You're closed???
Mom: No, Work. . .Clothes.
Customer: Why are you closed? You're supposed to be open till nine.
Mom: You've reached the department that sells heavy duty clothing for people with outdoor jobs.
Customer:  Oh.  Do you carry coveralls?

Ack!  ;D You'd think management would consider changing it to "Work Wear" or something after a few zillion repetitions of this!
Management doesn't answer the phones, of course.


SiotehCat

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2013, 12:39:56 AM »
I do think its rude to ask if someone works on commission. That seems like a very personal question. My pay is nobody's business but mine and my employer.

If you want to give someone credit for a sale, then say that to the cashier.

I was very recently asked this question and I did not answer. If someone insists on knowing how I get paid, then I would rather not have them as a client.

Mel the Redcap

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2013, 01:56:27 AM »
When DIL worked at JC Penny's she didn't receive a commission, but she often received rewards (gift certificates) because of customers calling in with compliments.  She worked the men's wear department, which a lot of other employees didn't want, but she had wives/girl friends ask when she worked so they could send their husbands/boy friends to her to buy their clothes.

Off topic, but I feel the need to share.
My mother worked at Penney's in the work clothes department.  She was instructed to answer the phone with the department name, which led to many instances of this conversation:

Mom: Work clothes.
Customer: You're closed???
Mom: No, Work. . .Clothes.
Customer: Why are you closed? You're supposed to be open till nine.
Mom: You've reached the department that sells heavy duty clothing for people with outdoor jobs.
Customer:  Oh.  Do you carry coveralls?

Ack!  ;D You'd think management would consider changing it to "Work Wear" or something after a few zillion repetitions of this!

Or let the staff use a spiel like "You've reached the Work Clothes department, how can I help you?" Seeing as they're going to have to be explaining anyway! :P
"Set aphasia to stun!"

mandycorn

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2013, 11:56:23 AM »
I originally didn't think it was rude, since I understood the intention was to give credit where credit was due, but after reading all the comments, I'm thinking it may be better to skip right over the commission/credit question and move right into complimenting the employee that helped you. That way the person working the register can give the correct employee credit if they do that, or ignore it if it's not that kind of setup.
"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they are genuine" - Abraham Lincoln 

Bijou

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2013, 12:31:16 PM »
I don't think it is rude, at all.  It could just be coming from an information seeking place.  (Some people are seeking work, and may wonder about that in certain sales jobs.)  It is an innocent question.  It also may benefit the sales person if you include that they did a great job.
And I am a firm believer in letting the boss know when someone does a good job.  I just had a good experience with AT&T and talked to a supervisor to let them know how happy I was with the customer service given by their employee, Lydia.
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

Curious Cat

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2013, 12:33:53 PM »
I do think its rude to ask if someone works on commission. That seems like a very personal question. My pay is nobody's business but mine and my employer.

If you want to give someone credit for a sale, then say that to the cashier.

I was very recently asked this question and I did not answer. If someone insists on knowing how I get paid, then I would rather not have them as a client.

This seems a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face - they don't really care "how" you get paid they want to make sure you *do* get paid.

SiotehCat

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2013, 01:00:39 PM »
I do think its rude to ask if someone works on commission. That seems like a very personal question. My pay is nobody's business but mine and my employer.

If you want to give someone credit for a sale, then say that to the cashier.

I was very recently asked this question and I did not answer. If someone insists on knowing how I get paid, then I would rather not have them as a client.

This seems a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face - they don't really care "how" you get paid they want to make sure you *do* get paid.

That's not always the intention.

But either way, it's my job. I will make sure that I get paid.

If they want to give credit to whoever helped them, they can just say that to the cashier. They don't need to know how anyone gets paid.

CluelessBride

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2013, 03:05:58 PM »
I'm torn on this. On the one hand, I get that asking about how someone makes their money is sort of personal. On the other hand, I believe that consumers have a right to a transparent transaction. I'm a scientist. Every single paper I publish includes a section that acknowledges funding and any conflicts of interest, And I think that is how it should be. I feel like I have a right to know if a salesperson might have an additional motive to sell me item A over item B. It just seems like part of doing due diligence.  So in general, I think that asking about a potential conflict of interest (and commission can be a huge conflict of interest) surrounding a recommendation is acceptable.

In fact, one thing I love about my financial planner is that he is always upfront about how he makes his money and which options make him more or less money. Sometimes he recommends the one that nets him more, sometimes he recommends the one that nets him less. But his openness about it helps with the trust. If I ever need a new financial planner, I would refuse to use one that didn't provide this level of disclosure.

So basically, I like transparency.

In the case of the OP, the cashier was snotty. Even if it was a rude question (and I think it is one that can be rude or not depending on the circumstances), there are right and wrong ways to handle a rude question. For this specific scenario (since OP is unconcerned with knowing about any potential bias and only wants to see the salesperson get credit), the wording "Jim was really helpful today, I'd like to make sure he gets credit for the sale, if that is appropriate." could work.  That way the cashier doesn't feel put on the spot to come up with an answer.

Library Dragon

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Re: Rude to ask if employee works on commission?
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2013, 04:11:20 PM »
I'm torn on this. On the one hand, I get that asking about how someone makes their money is sort of personal. On the other hand, I believe that consumers have a right to a transparent transaction. I'm a scientist. Every single paper I publish includes a section that acknowledges funding and any conflicts of interest, And I think that is how it should be. I feel like I have a right to know if a salesperson might have an additional motive to sell me item A over item B. It just seems like part of doing due diligence.  So in general, I think that asking about a potential conflict of interest (and commission can be a huge conflict of interest) surrounding a recommendation is acceptable.

In fact, one thing I love about my financial planner is that he is always upfront about how he makes his money and which options make him more or less money. Sometimes he recommends the one that nets him more, sometimes he recommends the one that nets him less. But his openness about it helps with the trust. If I ever need a new financial planner, I would refuse to use one that didn't provide this level of disclosure.

So basically, I like transparency.


In the case of the OP, the cashier was snotty. Even if it was a rude question (and I think it is one that can be rude or not depending on the circumstances), there are right and wrong ways to handle a rude question. For this specific scenario (since OP is unconcerned with knowing about any potential bias and only wants to see the salesperson get credit), the wording "Jim was really helpful today, I'd like to make sure he gets credit for the sale, if that is appropriate." could work.  That way the cashier doesn't feel put on the spot to come up with an answer.

The bolded is a good point.  I haven't used a travel agent in about two decades.  The lack of transparency is one reason.  I don't need to be pushed towards going to Falalalalala Land Resort because the agent is going to be getting a larger commission from that resort than Bogland Backyard Resort. 

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