Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quit Helping Me

There needs to be some universal sign--a sticker I can wear, a little flag I can flip on a shopping cart, something--that will tell store personnel to leave me alone. Anyone got an invisibility cloak?

Someone must have done a study in which lonely people complained that they didn't have anyone to talk to. Or else that they were shopping in stores so poorly designed that there was no way to actually peruse goods without an employee there to show you merchandise. So they all over-do it on the "helpfulness". To the point where I dread walking into some stores because they keep me from shopping.

Maybe I should explain my rant. It starts with me being a bit grumpy. I've got a long list of errands to run and a short time in which to do it. And I have the kids with me, whose behavior ranges from annoying to actively destructive. (Neither threats nor bribes seems to work with them. Usually, bad behavior gets going-out privileges revoked. Which doesn't exactly help with the long list of errands and short time frame.)

Here's the scenario:  Kids in tow, me already in a bad mood from previous incidents, we enter Big Box Home Improvement Store in search of blinds or something for a couple of the bedroom windows. Note, I don't like blinds, but we need something other than the decorative panels. So I'm already attempting to shop for something I don't like. There are several other things I'd like to look at too: light fixtures, maybe the garden center, bird seed, possibly chair rail molding.  Note that none of these things are going to be found together. And I'm pissed at kids and about to just go home. 

Upon entering the store, I'm greeted by two sales people who interrupt me as I am attempting to get kids into the cart, just to ask me if I need anything.  I start walking. I am scanning the aisle signs, thinking of the best route so that I don't spend an hour walking in looping circles. I am greeted by at least two more salespeople. As each greeting interrupts my train of thought, I must stop and re-start the route calculation.  At this point, one of the kids has to go potty. We go potty. As I leave the part of the store where the restrooms are (behind kitchen cabinets, which was not on the list), I'm accosted yet again. I still haven't made it to the blinds section, and the kids have begun to argue loudly. I've pretty much given up on looking at anything but the blinds, because kids are on my nerves.  I finally arrive in the aisle of blinds. Before I can even look at the first small display, I am asked yet again, "Can I help you?"

I think I growled at the last person. 

The kicker? Turns out that if I want to buy the blinds that I don't like, I'm going to have to get them specially done because stock sizes are 31" wide or 35" wide, but we have 34" windows. So I probably did need help, except that by then I was so mad at the constant stream of interruptions (plus the shoving match in the shopping cart), that I just left. I'll order something online, where I can click the "And don't ask me again" button to anything that pops up.

Earlier in the morning, we'd gone to the mall. In one home store, the sales person greeted me with the usual, "Can I help you find anything?". I said "no thanks, I'm just looking." She then stood in front of me, essentially blocking me from entering the store.  I nearly growled at her, too.  In a shoe store while I was attempting to make the 6-year old sit still long enough to look for shoes, while trying to figure out where the 8-year old disappeared to, the saleslady  wouldn't stop talking long enough for me to look at the options. I just ignored her.

Frankly, the biggest help that most sales people can be is to shut up and keep to themselves and wait until they're called over. I don't need help shopping. Unless I ask one of them for directions, I don't need directions.I don't want to explain my shopping list to anyone. I have lists of criteria in my head for what I'm looking for, and often-as-not, the top priority is "I'll know it when I see it." Usually, I just want some peace and quiet

Stores with multiple sales people need to set a rule that no more than one person is allowed to greet a shopper. I will give them one, solitary, interruption into my time. Otherwise, get out of my way. I'm not here to talk, I'm here to purchase something. Waste my time, keep me from making a decision or from doing the idle browsing that I would like to do, and I will purchase nothing. Which is exactly what I did in the home store, and in the Big Box Home Improvement store.

Alas, the kids really did need shoes and I didn't feel like repeating the shoe store experience elsewhere, so I got us out of there as fast as I could.  Then she congratulated me for finding the rack of socks on sale (which were right next to the shoes, near the cash register).  Gee, lady, you made my day.

1 comment:

Kathy G said...

I NEVER find people in big-box stores to help me. They must be saving their energy to accost you :-)