I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Kill 'em With Kindness

I feel I need to admit one of my Christmas/Channukah sins. In the spirit of all that is good and holy and yule-like, I need to come clean.

I love torturing sales people.

Now I don't mean I like to drag them into a small cupboard and make them re-hang six thousand pairs of Size 2 skirts that are too small for the hangers. I just mean that I like to annoy the living SHIT out of them by pointing out (in the most friendly, dripping-with-honey way) that their service SUCKS the big one.

So let me give you an example. The other day when DD1 and I went shopping, there was a sales chick who looked like she wanted to be anywhere other than the kids' shoe department on a rainy Saturday before Xmas. Can you blame her? Probably not, as I can't think of anywhere worse to be, either. Still, she gets paid to do it, and after all nobody forced her to sell kids' shoes. Hell, she could've, you know, worked in a brothel or something instead.

Anyway. So I approach her and I say, "Hi. I'm looking for some party shoes for my daughter, etc etc..." Now I knew she was in for the torture treatment when SHE asked ME what my kids' size was. Yes, of course I know that, because, hell, I measure them every night, don'cha know? She deigns to measure DD1's foot (only ONE) and then tells me there is nothing in the store which will work for DD1. "Okay," says I, going in for the kill, "Can you suggest another store which might have something for her?" "NO, " says ready-to-die saleslady, "I don't. You're not going to have ANY luck ANYWHERE for non-summer dress shoes for girls in that size."

She was just Little Miss Sunshine, let me tell you. This one was totally ripe for the torturing. I say to her, "Well, then let's have another look together, shall we? Maybe there is something which will work. Let's go look together." Ahh, yes, and the torture begins ...because now she knows she is NEVER going to get rid of me, and certainly not as easily as she'd hoped.

The basic torture method is this. 1) Make your voice all sweet and smarmy and oh-isn't-this-fun. 2) Make it really fucking clear you're not going anywhere until you get what you want and 3) pretend to symapthise, while giving them a clear message that their service sucks. So in the above paragraph you can see #1 and #2 in action. Let us proceed to #3.

She reluctantly goes to see if she can find the right size in stock (and believe me, she's cursing me all the way into and out of the stock room.) DD1 sits down, sales lady sits down, I sit down. I turn up the charm and head in for the kill: "You must be SO busy today, what with Christmas at all. It's must be kind of getting to you?"

"Ummm..." OH SHIT, thinks saleslady. I was rude to this lady and my boss is RIGHT OVER THERE.

"Actually, it hasn't been too bad."

"Oh, really? I'm suprised to hear you say that, because when we first came in you looked quite frazzled and stressed out. In fact, you looked pretty OVER IT. *big dramatic sigh to add to sympathy factor* Christmas is just so hard, isn't it?"

ZING! Got her right between the eyes, I did. The key to this is to really sound sincere - to look and act as though you give two shits about this lady, when in reality you're giving her a swift kick up the bum.

"Oh? Did I? No, I...*stammer* *stammer*...were you needing some party tights to go with those shoes? Because they're not on the shelves at the moment but I'm sure we've got some out the back which will look great with the shoes and...."

The girl nearly tripped over herself with trying to be nice. Seriously. She spent the rest of our time in the store being attentive, friendly, overly helpful, and kissing my big white ass. I just don't understand why people get jobs in a service industry when they have no desire to actually give service. Of course even the best sales people have bad days, and have days when they are tired and stressed and they've had enough of screaming children and pushy parents. I get that. Know what, though? When I come into your store, I don't care what your day has been like. I care that you're going to help me get what I need, and then get the heck out of there. I care that you'll do it in a polite fashion. I don't think it's too much to ask, is it?

Now you've got the method. Go on, try it out on some unsuspecting terrible sales person and see what result you get. I guarantee a total 180 turn around in terms of the service they greeted you with versus the service you get after employing the technique...and if all else fails, you can just shove them into a cupboard with the skirts and hangers.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

Sadly I feel better knowing it's a problem where you are too, and not just here in the US. Considering how bad the economy is you'd think people would be not slacking on the job.