Emily and I went to a few places yesterday for items needed.  We were blown away by the bad help.  Is it the growing frustration over the economy?  Not sure but one of the places we went to definitely lost a sale from us. 

We went to Soho to Space NK for some make-up.  I am not a huge make-up girl but at this point I am down to bare bones.  Emily wanted a few things too.  A young woman approached us to ask what what we needed.  I told her exactly what we were looking for.  She literally dragged me over to each counter and asked me what I liked, and what I would want.  There is one thing I know about the world of cosmetics, the sales person needs to be the aggressor here.  She should have taken one look at me, figured out which line she was going to sell to me, taken me to a seat and began working on me based on what I told her I liked.  By the time she was over giving me a new look, I would have happily given her my credit card and went home with my new products.  Instead, by the time we got to the fourth line and I was given no direction, Emily looked at me and said under her voice, we don't need to stay here.  Right she was, and we left.  Believe me, there isn't a store in the city that couldn't use a customer right now.  It is wa store, I'd fire her, pronto.

Then we went over to Burton.  Emily needed snow pants.  We asked for help but all we got was direction.  After much looking we actually did find a pair of pants but the selection is abysmal even though the store was chocked with merchandise.  Not sure who is designing the line for Burton but they should really go back to the drawing board for the women's department. 

Last stop, Dean and Deluca.  Only went there because we were in the neighborhood.  Decided to stay in last night and make a nice dinner and needed food.  I started off at the meat counter.  Asked for the leg of lamb that was in the counter, the last and only.  The guy started pulling out lamb chops.  I said again, no the leg of lamb, he started pulling out the other lamb chops.  I finally got his attention and pointed to the lamb and said this right here is a leg of lamb.  He was so confused.  Pulled it out and then couldn't find the price which I led him to too.  Hmmm. 

We then went to find a few cans of chickpeas.  We knew were in the right section.  I tried to engage a sales person who literally ignored me.  I finally got her attention and asked if they had chick peas.  She said no, do you see them here, this is where the beans are and we don't have them.  Woah.  I looked down and there they were…plenty of them.  What is up with that?  Another sales person in need of an attitude adjustment.

Emily and I were blown away by all the bad service we had in one day.  Are stores just hiring cheap labor to keep the costs down?  Now is a time to hire engaging charming sales people who know how to draw in the customer.  Space NK lost my sale, Burton only got a pair of pants but we would have bought a jacket too, and Dean and Deluca only got a sale based on location but I'm not returning for anything next time I'm in the neighborhood.  Today, I bought all my valentines gifts on line. 

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Comments (Archived):

  1. sotek

    Yup, the economy sucks right now, so does the service at both retail and restaurants. Anyway… I stopped at the G-Star Raw store in Union Square the other day to get some new denim. I always like to try on different washes of the same pair to see which one fits me best – especially when I’m dropping ~200 dollars for it. Apparently that’s something “unusual” so the idiots in the store were looking at me like I’m from some other planet… unbelievable.

  2. ellen

    When I am on the hunt for something, I no longer trust a store’s clerk to check if they have the item I want. I found it was just as bad before the slowdown. Example, I saw some really pretty mohair throws at the Chestnut Hill Bloomingdales. I bought what they had and wanted more. I contacted the dept. manager and asked if she would check the other stores and have them sent to my home. Evidently she checked a few on her computer and she said the whole chain had no more stock. I thought this could not be true and started calling Bloomindales from here to California. I found 10 more throws sitting in the stockroom still packaged in Miami. You wonder why Federated is doing badly.The reverse happened at Home Depot. My stone mason needed a certain cobblestone. I went to one Home Depot near us and they had none. They said there were 200 in Norwood. I sent the mason to Norwood. For this he charges by the hour. The computer was wrong. None in Norwood.This also happens at a lot when you hire a contractor. They don’t know the nuances in materials or how to correctly put up new material. I continually go to building shows and read trade magazines inorder to tell them what to do. I never ever leave anything up to them again. All this is time consuming but if you want something done properly you have to do it yourself or at least know enought to give a bit of instruction. .

  3. marshal sandler

    Dear Gotham Gal in our 70’s Naomi and refuse to enter the majority of Bricks and Mortar outlet’s ! We buy online ! The other day I needed some Hatch Peppers we just ordered them on line I am not going to beg a gourmet markets to get them for me ! Hatch is one for the fines peppers around grown in a small town in New Mexico when I lived in Arizona they were readily available! We do not accept poor service or lack of product knowledge ! Why HATCH? Since you like to cook I added Hatch Below !Of all the pepper (chile/chili) centers in the world, Hatch, New Mexico, stands the tallest. Hatch’s plant breeders and botanists are most unique.Hatch is widely known as the designer chile/chili headquarters because Mesilla Valley farmers are constantly developing new breeds and various tastes to satisfy a steady throng of new converts.They tailor-make chilis, which are then introduced to the locals and consumers from all over the US and many, many countries around the world like NEW car models via e-commerce and the internet.Here in New Mexico, many say just by tasting a chili/chile pod they can tell whether the pepper was grown North, or South of Interstate 40 (formerly US Route 66), which runs from East toward Texas and West toward Arizona. Believe it or not, that little rule also holds true for South and North Korea.One more intriguing fact is that Thai’s eat more peppers than any other people in the world (an average of 5 grams per person daily in Thailand) but residents in the US Southwest are closing the gap quickly.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I admit, I much prefer the online experience to the human face too. I knowthat I get what I want, when I want it without the nonsense.

      1. rachel

        it’s sad — i remember when i used to want to pay a premium to get excellent service from a great ski shop…now I’d pay the premium not to deal with them.

        1. Gotham Gal

          Great quote.

  4. Phoebe

    Reading this blog post, actually made me quite upset.Are you and your family so pampered that you are required to be waited on hand and foot by every employee you encounter?FYI, bad service is a fact of life sometimes. I usually chalk it up to the fact that the person there might not be having a particularly good day and let it go rather then complain about it. Most people who work in retail and the restaurant business are under an immense amount of stress at the moment. Their jobs, and therefore their entire lives, are looming over their heads. Having a small income is stressful enough as it is. Knowing you could be cut off at any moment is nerve-wracking.It’s really not that difficult to shop on your own, unassisted. Millions of people do it every day. And if you really need that much help to pick brands and know the right products to buy-maybe do some research before you leave.This entire post seems very ungracious and unfair to me.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I worked in retail for a share part of my life. This has nothing to do withbeing waited on. It has to do with bad business practice in an economy thatis sorely in need of customers walking into their stores and makingpurchases. I might be called many things but pampered is not one of them.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Gotham Gal,It has to do with incentives. If you go to a store and the proprietress waits on you, I’m sure you’d get good service. But most retail workers don’t own the business and they don’t really care. They’re just trying to go a good enough job to avoid getting fired.Chris Rock made the key distinction in his last HBO special: there are jobs and there are careers. Chris Rock has a career now. Your husband has a career. But when Chris Rock was scraping shrimp off of plates in a Red Lobster kitchen, he had a job. As Rock says, when you have a career, your time flies; when you have a job, it crawls. The retail workers have jobs. Jobs suck.The business question that raises — and if your husband figures out how to solve it, maybe there’s another successful business in it for him — is to make more customer-facing jobs into careers.

        1. Gotham Gal

          Jobs may suck as I have had many but you do have a job. You never know whenyour job turns into a career. A bad attitude goes nowhere on all ends.

    2. Fred

      Well said, Phoebe.There’s also a cultural aspect at work. You generally find friendlier people and more solicitous service in the Midwest and whiter parts of the country. Diversity may be the spice of life but it also leads to a lack of trust and a lot of unfriendliness.

  5. ellen

    PhoebeWhen we go out for dinner the main points are good food and GOOD SERVICE, That is expected. At certain retail stores because of the price points we also expect good service. That is part of the store’s experience. Neiman’s included free gift wrap and Nordstroms was known for their exceptional customer service. In each department we had a salesperson and the salesperson built up a relationship with each customer. In return we were loyal to that salesperson. This is considered good business. If we want self service we go to Marshalls or some other discount store. If you are in retail or in food service if your customer is not satisfied they will not return and THEN YOU WILL BE OUT OF A JOB, because you will not have any customers to keep your store in business. If you owned the business you would want to be helpful inorder to make that sale. From you attitude you should not be waiting on customers but rather in a backroom position.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Thanks Ellen. That is a good explanation.joanne [email protected]