Real Life

Retail Rant: The Do’s And Don’ts Of Shopping


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Customer service is a role that takes patience, patience and more patience. As a sales associate and shopper, I know that the holiday season (or end of any season) is a busy time for consumers so here are some tips to keep in mind while shopping that’ll make your experience enjoyable for both parties.

Ask For Help

I know you think you’re bugging them (which you probably are) but it is their job to help you, and ultimately they want to help you. This is because they prefer to keep things neat–no one enjoys refolding the same table of jeans again and again because you couldn’t find the last pair of size five jeans. So ask for help, ask for a size, ask about the promotions and it’ll make your shopping experience and their work experience easier, more efficient and pleasant.

Don’t Lose Your Temper

Don’t yell at a sales associate because they don’t have your size or you misunderstood a promotion. If you remain calm, sales associates can actually become “a friend” by reserving your size at another store, adjusting the price or offering you great advice on a similar piece that might be of interest to you. But no one is going to want to go out of their way to help you if you treat them poorly. The golden rule: treat others the way you wish to be treated–this doesn’t change once you enter a store.

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Be Considerate

This will help everyone, and it takes minimal effort to be a tad considerate. If you try on a coat put it back on the hanger, if you grab a bunch of shirts and change your mind put them back where you got them. At the end of the day, the simple act of being considerate will make the shopping experience for others easier and the job of associates less trying. We don’t expect you to do our job but hey, it’s not cool to try on five different winter coats and then leaving them on the floor. By helping out a little, sales associates will have more time to help you because they’re not busy trying to make the store presentable.

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Don’t Walk Behind Cash

Do you work at the store? Are you a manager or an associate? No, no you are not. So don’t go behind cash, it will not make any situation better. The cash registers, full of money, are back there and if you walk behind there, all hell will break loose. It’s amazing how simple this is to understand, yet people every day dart behind the cash registers. Just don’t do it.

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Ask to be let into a Change Room

Change rooms are locked and must be unlocked by associates because an open change room is a perfect place for theft. It’s store policy that you must ask to be let in, your items will be counted and then you will be let in – it’s as simple and easy as that. Please stop trying to break down the change room doors.

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Read the Small Print

We’ve seen these promotions before, “Entire Store 50% off: excluding body care, gift cards and promotionally priced items”. The part that 99% of customer’s miss is the smaller print explaining the exclusions. Yes, it’s confusing, and yes it bothers a lot of people, but remember that the store managers and associates did not make up the rules, they’re just trying to follow the rules that were set before them. So no, we can’t just make this one little exception for you because you want to mix and match items for a bigger discount–sorry.

Check Online or Call the Store

If you’re not too sure if the in-store or online promotions are the same, the store is just a call away. So to save a trip to the store, or to save any need for returns, make a quick call to the store where an associate can clarify promos, check for an item or size and even put something on hold for you to pick up. You can then walk into the store, straight to cash, pick up your item that is on hold and feel like a real VIP.

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Understand the Return and Exchange Policies

To make it easy remember three things: your item, your receipt and your transaction type (credit, debit or cash). This is what associates need in order to do a return or exchange. You don’t want to be that annoying customer that holds up the line because you forgot any of these things and you’re trying to talk your way into a return. If you’re not too clear on the return or exchange policy, most store receipts list it at the end or on the back.

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