Saturday, October 07, 2006

How Not to Get Repeat Customers

I thought that I had experienced the worst in face-to-face salesperson interaction earlier in the summer when we went to the fabulous mall here in our new hometown. I went in to Christopher & Bank to see what they had on sale while Jay and Joshua were amusing themselves elsewhere. They came in to the store to find me a few minutes later. The saleswoman, whom I had discovered in a previous interaction had very limited social skills, saw Joshua and Jay come in. She laughed and said, across the store, “I have never seen a man look so uncomfortable in a store.” Mind you, I almost never go shopping without Jay. He usually picks out my clothes. Needless to say, we turned around and walked out.

Yesterday’s trip to Stride Rite may have topped that, though. I went in looking for some shoes for Joshua. He’s not walking yet, but it just occurred to me that we keep sending him to the nursery at church without shoes and that the nursery staff may be wondering just what brand of redneck we are that we don’t put shoes on our kid to crawl around on tile floor. But I digress…

The saleswoman and I had already gotten of to a rocky start. I asked for “9-12 month shoes,” but she apparently had no idea that their baby shoes were sized by month, yet kept acting as though I were the idiot. Anyway, we finally found some shoes. I took them to the register to pay and she started to fill out a “Buy 7 pairs of shoes, get the 8th pair free” card for me. Then she stopped.

“You’re not local, right?” she said.

“Actually I am,” I said. “But I’m wondering why you made that assumption.”

“Well, your car has Illinois plates…” she trailed off.

I nodded, encouraging her to finish her thought.

“…and you talk like a Yankee.”

There isn’t another Stride Rite within 50 miles. That’s the only reason she got my money.

12 comments:

The Thief said...

Talking with management might get you some freebies...

TLS said...

Damn yankees! Living in MA, I have discovered I am not a true yankee even though I grew up a whole 10 miles north of the Ohio River. In New England you need to have proof of lineage back to the Mayflower to get called a local!

Jennifer said...

Oh my word! How incredibly rude. You really should let the girl's manager know.

Jay said...

tls,

If it were only that easy. My Grandmother lived in Waldoboro, ME for more than 25 years. During that time she traced her lineage to Governor Bradford himself, but she was still considered by some to be "from away."

Jennifer said...

TLS, I've lived in Southern Ohio my whole life, and it's funny - people south of here think we're Yankees and people north of here think we're hilljacks.

TLS said...

Jay, I can believe it! Yankees are the most provencial folk I've met. And Mainers...well, they're even worse!

Jennifer, Exactly!! Josh was so disappointed not to have married a southern girl, yet all my parishioners laugh if I even suggest calling myself a Yank. Oh, the pleasure of living in the liminal space of Ohio!

MB, just remember as rude as that was, it can't even touch Boston levels of rudeness. Josh's favorite quote over heard on the T is "F**k you, you F***ing F***!"

Anonymous said...

MB, I just can't believe your short time over the Mason Dixon Line polluted your dialect that much!

I think you're Southern, and I'm about as Yankee as you get. My mom claims she can trace our family back to George Washington's Mother.

Kat E said...

I have to agree with tls--if that's considered the peak of rudeness down south, well, let's just stay the south is still incredibly polite compared to other areas of the country :)

Also, there's a difference between rude and just plain STUPID. I'm not sure which is worse...

Mary Beth said...

Would you believe that it was an older woman who said that to me? You'd think she would know better.

TLS--As I recall, that became a favorite quote of many of us who lived together that year.

TLS said...

MB - Are you not a pastor? Did you not know you elderly parishioners? Sometimes age gives license for what at a younger age would be considered inappropriate.

TLS said...

For anyone interested in seeing first hand, Boston levels of rudeness, go see the movie "The Departed." It is one of the best depictions of the city and it's colorful language use.

angela said...

I've lost quite a bit of my accent but I still get silly remarks about it here in CA.

Oh and shoes for baby J - Robeez all the way, Target even has a generic version of them, but here's the Robeez website: www.robeez.com . They are supposed to be the best thing for little ones learning how to walk because it's almost like being barefoot, but it takes away the redneck, shoeless problem! :)