Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Adventures Working Retail

Random old guys.

     I was organizing a display when an old man came up to me and began complaining about the price of our store's items. This happens so often. It's as if customers think I actually have control over product prices. 
     "Is too expensive!" he said sternly. "All this... cost too much!" He had a serious look in his eyes, and, this being my third day, I was unsure how to respond and fell back on the default sales-associate smile and nod. That seemed to invite him to banter on. "You know," he paused dramatically, "Some people have houses for two million dollars. Two million! There are people so low and people up in space."
     "Whoa," I replied. "People are up in space now?"
     "No no, not in planets," he sighed. "My English is not very good," he shook his head. He talked at a slow pace, uttering each word with heavy care. "Some people live on one dollar a day. I know these things because I went to university." At this point, I was kind of staring at him like, why are you talking to me? I work commission, and I'm trying to sell things to people. All these paying customers are waltzing buy. Ugh, so many lost sales. You are obviously not going to buy anything.
       "Where are you from?" I asked.
      "I am from Iran. Do you know it?"
      "Is that where people speak Arabic?" I asked. I'm definitely not as worldly as I'd like to be.
      "No no, Arabic is for Egyptians," he gently corrected. "I speak Farsi."
      "How do you say 'hello' in Farsi?" I inquired.
       "Salaam," he said with a smile.
       He then continued his depressing train of thought, "How much you have to work to make 1 million dollars?" I made my guesses, to which he shook his head. "Five years if you spent your money on nothing else." If this conversation couldn't get any more depressing, he started talking about how "People...there are so many dying from sickness!"
      To which I replied, "Oh yeah, Ebola's pretty bad right now."
      "Yes, Ebola," he stretch out the word.
      "And some people just die from diarrhea because of unclean water," I added. He proceeded to discuss his own illnesses.
      "I have convulsion. I am shaking," he noted his arms. I had noticed them, flesh withered with age, vibrating uncontrollably. "My body is shaking. I am seventy-five years old. I have diabetes," he sighed.
      "Well, at least you don't have Ebola."
      "Ahahaha..." he laughed for the first time in our conversation. Yes, he has a sense of humor!
      I replied, "It's a good things I don't have diabetes because then I would be so sad. I love ice cream."
      "Ice cream," he laughed. "Cookies, cake! I eat everything you eat and more even though I have diabetes."
      "That's not good for you!" I replied.
      "Not good!"
       "Do you recommend any Persian desserts?"
       Baba... I woman called across glass bays of fine jewelry.
       "I'm here!" he said. "My daughter." He mentioned to a woman in her mid-thirties holding multiple shopping bags. She looked rushed and modern, a contrast to her patient and rustic father.
        "Baba, let's go," she commanded.
         "Salaam," I told him as he was being shuffled away by his daughter.
          He smiled goodbye and said, "Try. try the.." (I didn't catch the last word, but I think it was the name of a Persian dessert.)

Personal shopper.

     A peppy Asian mom was flipping through our sparkley costume jewelry. I approached her as I did most customers with a "Hello! What are we shopping for today?" I was glad that she did not respond with the classic *sigh*/glare/"Just browsing." Instead, she was eager for advice. "I'm looking for jewelry to go with my dress. I am going to a wedding!" After showing me an image of her dress, a black midi with gold detailing, I led her to our gorgeous selection of gold jewelry with radiant crystals. I immediately pulled my favorite pair of earrings and the matching bangle. "I love your taste," she laughed.
     "I love your purse!" It was a nude Kate Spade hand bag in a classic, round silhouette. I told her that it was nude and would match with anything. She also wanted new shoes for the occasion, and I suggested a nude to match the purse and also be versatile for everyday. She was so pleased with my advice that she asked me to help her out in the shoe department (yay, my first time branching out of jewelry.)
     Her son arrived at the store as we were browsing heels that were "too high!" for the wedding and definitely to be a comfortable everyday pair. I then pulled a chic pair of Via Spigas. They were nude (I am a big believer in versatility!), comforatble (low heel), and just trendy enough with a modern open sandal detail and cross ankle straps to impress at a wedding occasion!

    After I rang her up, she put her right arm around my left and started guiding me out of the mall so that I could help her shop at another department store! Her son joked, "Mom! I don't think we can take her with us!" I laughed as I had to tell her good-bye. That ended my short run as a personal stylist.

You don't polish gold.
     I was helping a kind woman find a pair of everyday gold-colored hoops. She was quite happy with my suggestion and was nearly ready to check out. "I think I'll just browse this section a bit," she said and I was about to tell her about the sale promotion we were having on that brand when all of the sudden, another woman called out to get my attention.
     "Do you work here?" she snapped.
    "I've been waiting here for like... ten minutes already and no one has offered to help me!" I looked around the department, and it was obvious we at a busy hour. All of my coworkers were occupied.
    "I'm sorry," I replied cordially. "We are quite busy right now, but I'm sure someone will come to you as soon as they are done."
    The woman I was helping find hoops graciously said, "It's fine. You can help her. I'll just be browsing, and I'll come to you once I'm ready."
    "Thank you," I smiled. Then, I proceeded to help the other woman.
    "I'd like to see these earrings," she demanded. I took out the pure gold pieces and handed them to her. Her brow furrowed, she eyed the earrings speculatively. "Could you polish these? I think this one might have a scratch. Actually, are there anymore in stock? Like in the back. Untouched."
     "Let me check for you," I replied. I checked our system, but unfortunately, there were none at our store location. I told her this, and she demanded I give her a polishing cloth. The only polishing cloth I knew of was the one used to clean watches. It was a bit yellowed from age. As I handed it to her, she glared and said, "I feel like this polishing cloth will scratch the earrings" but proceeded to polish the pair anyway. As she inspected them, the woman who had gone to browse came back. At this point, the woman holding the polishing cloth retorted, "You go help her. I'll just wait." I quickly rang up the woman's hoops, and she gave me a look of genuine sympathy as she left. I proceeded to continue helping the woman inspecting the gold earrings.
     "I'll take them," she said. "They're a gift for my daughter."
     "Oh," I said. "That's sweet. These are beautiful." I rang up her total and asked a coworker about fine jewelry pouches. She pointed toward some drawers so I proceeded to search through them. I could not find the fine jewelry pouches, at which point my customer exasperatedly said, "Did you find them yet?"
     "No," I sighed. "I'm so sorry for wasting your time, but..." Thankfully, two of my coworkers came to my rescue. They helped me find the proper pouch, but that did not stop the customer from yelling, "You shouldn't be selling jewelry!" She proceeded to demand a fresh polishing cloth, so we had to take one from the stockpile of the only brand that came with them.  She then argued with us about our records policy. I had given her the price tag of the item, when we were supposed to keep it in our file. The woman contested, "But she was just about to give it to me!"
     My coworker replied, "Yeah, but she's new!" Needless-to-say, the customer left furious.
     I was so down afterword that I had to take a ten and sob a little in the bathroom. The customer was literally terrifying and sunk my moral. Her comment "You shouldn't even be selling jewelry!" replayed over and over. Back on the floor, I evidently still looked down. One of my coworkers came up to me and asked if I wanted to talk for a bit because I looked upset. I continued fussing over the jewelry displays as she said, "Don't worry about that lady. She's just like my evil Aunt! Some people just make others feel bad. I bet she'll forget all about it and be mad at someone else really soon." I smiled and she continued being a total sweetheart. "You're a great salesperson, and you can't let her bring you down."
     Later, I told my manager about the situation and said I was so sorry if the woman would complain about our department because of my unfamiliarity with the fine jewelry procedure. My manager replied that next time, I should call her if I ever feel like a customer is getting upset. Also, gold does not need to be polished.

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