Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What the Store Clerk Won't Tell You

A trip to the mall yesterday was a vivid reminder that the busiest shopping season is almost here.  Through the mall there were huge signs posted for Christmas "Be the Santa", Christmas music playing and plenty of merchandise being put out.  If Thanksgiving had already passed, I would have fallen in the Christmas spirit, but I like to wait until Thanksgiving is over before jumping in to celebrate the season. 

Here is a cute reminder to think of the hard working store clerks as they deal with the Christmas rush.  Let's spread Christmas joy and good will when we shop by being good customers and bringing a spot of cheer with a smile and kind word.

13 Things Your Salesclerk Won't Tell You

1. The greeters who welcome you to our store aren’t really there to greet you. If we look you in the eye as you’re coming and going, you’re less likely to shoplift.

2. I won’t ask a yes-or-no question like "Can I help you?” Instead, it’s always an open-ended “What can I help you find today?"

3. Many retailers count the shoppers who come in, then calculate the percentage who actually buy something. If I don’t “convert” enough browsers to buyers, I hear from my district manager.

4. New merchandise goes at the front of the store, bargains at the back. The end caps on the back side of aisles at Target, for instance, usually have items 15 to 75 percent off. If you want a deal, try to figure out when your favorite retailer does its markdowns. Some do them on Thursdays or Fridays, others at the end of the month.

5. When you ask me if something looks good on you and I suggest a different style, take the hint.

6. Sure, I’ll put that sweater on hold for you. But most of the time, you don’t come back. So don’t blame me if I sell it to someone else.

7. My pet peeve? Customers who paw through a stack of shirts. Now I’ve got to spend 15 minutes board-folding that whole pile again.

8. Even though most of us don’t work on commission, sometimes we’re given a sales goal for each customer. If we meet it consistently, we’ll get bonuses and, eventually, a promotion. So when I tell you about a pair of earrings that would go perfectly with that sweater, I might have an ulterior motive.

9. Please don’t tell the cashier no one was helping you after I brought you six different sweaters in the fitting room. It’s rude.

10. We do a lot more than unlock fitting rooms. We scrub the bathrooms, Windex the mirrors, dust the shelves, answer the phone, and clean up after our customers. And that includes two-year-olds.

11. And what is it about fitting rooms that brings out the worst in people? You stick gum to the walls and even leave dirty diapers in there.

12. After you buy something, keep your receipt and pay attention. Most mainstream retailers promise a refund if the item goes on sale within a certain number of days after you buy it. Websites like priceprotectr.com track the prices of hundreds of products from retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon, and Sears.

13. With savings clubs, e-mail deals, coupons, Internet discount codes, and other incentives, fewer and fewer people are paying full price.


  1. Thanks for the tips and info. At this time of year it's important to remember that the folks in retail are working extra long hours for very little money. That means they are spending time away from their families and are probably tired. Be nice...in fact be extra nice. You never know when one little smile can brighten an entire persons day.
    And, if a clerk goes the extra mile for you...take not of his name and let the manager know. Why are we always so quick to complain and so slow to praise.

  2. Good list! One more...sometimes stores have some policies that are not customer friendly....I had two instances of this back in Sept. Remember that, most of the time, the employees don't like the policy either, but it is their job to enforce it. So, getting frustrated with them (which I did!) doesn't do any good. In most cases, there isn't anything they can do about it. It is better to ask to see the manager or just accept it and go on. Their days are hard enough!

  3. All useful info! I found it fascinating about the greeters and eye contact.

    I really try to be kind to sales clerks but I rarely "up sale" (get more than I came in for). However, I do realize they might get a commission, but its hard to justify sometimes buying more, know what I mean?

    thanks for sharing!


  4. This was a very interesting list. I find many store clerks unfornately very rude anymore...it might be that they are underpaid and overworked...so when I find one that is helpful, kind and courteous I am the first to be soo appreciative and even have gone on to report it to their managers etc. I do notice when someone is just downright tired though too, and I am as nice as I can be to them too. But I have had them roll their eyes at me, sigh openingly, be on the phone on what is definitely a personal call etc. It is really just sad...but your post has made me think again that they might just have a lot going on...and spreading joy is really what it is all about. Thanks for writing this...it made me think. Have a good day..


Thank you for sharing your commment. It is a joy and blessing to hear from you and your words are appreciated.