Sunday, December 9, 2012

sales assistants

What is it with sales assistants nowadays?  They used to come up to you and politely enquire "Can I help you?".  And you always answered, "I'm just looking, thank you."  Me, I always varied it a little to be different ... "I'm just looking FOR THE MOMENT, thank you."  I adored look of incomprehension that flitted across the sales assistant's face as he or she had to translate in their mind for a minute what I'd said because my answer was different from the norm.

Then a few years' ago everything changed.  Now we get asked, "How has your day been?" or "What have you been doing today?" or "Have you had a good day?"

I couldn't stand it any longer, this forced niceness.  I was in New Plymouth last year, fingering a red blouse on a rack, and the sales assistant said, "Have you had a nice day?"  

"No," I answered.  "I've just hiked 21 kilometres and I'm tired and grumpy."

"We have that red blouse in other colours, " she said. 

Goodness, she hadn't heard a word I'd said, so programmed was she.

I went into another shop.  "How has your day been?" asked the shop assistant.

"Well," I said.  "I woke up about 6 a.m., then couldn't decide between Kornies or Frosties.  Then, goodness, what outfit should I wear?  I debated for, oh, half an hour between a blue floral dress, and my denim jeans.  But the denim jeans had a tear in the hem, and ....."   I stopped and giggled.  The look of sheer horror on the assistant's face had been worth everything.    In the end we both laughed over it, but, heavens, I truly am tired of this "sales assistant niceness".

And while I'm at it, I hate the way sales assistants pick up on something you're wearing and go into raptures over it.

"Oh, I love your trousers ..... blouse ... shoes, bangle ...."  And this, perhaps, when nothing I'm wearing matches, I could have just painted my room and be paint-splattered and definitely  in my worst clothes.  In desperation, the sales assistant, when he/she can't find anything to clingo, they'll say something like , "Oh, your watch is so nice," when  I'm wearing my swimming watch - plain, old,  ,masculine, and black.  Don't the powers-that-be in the retailing sector realise the public are onto all this flannel?

When I was in Las Vegas last year, it all came to a head.  I was walking on one of the cross-over bridges.  There was a woman begger sitting there.  She shouted out to me as I passed, "What a lovely blouse!". 

Oh dear, apparently even the beggers now have retail sales motivation courses!

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