Ever have to walk a salesperson through their own sale?

My amusing rant about buying baby furniture:

Me: I wanted to see if you had this crib and dresser in stock.

Saleslady: Let me check the back.

Saleslady: Yes. We have one of each left and they’re discontinued so your in luck.

Me: Great. So can I pay for them and pick them up later?

Saleslady: How much later?

Me: About a week.

Saleslady: Oh no. We can’t do that. You have to take it with you after the sale. We just don’t have the space to be holding stuff for people. You know how it is. Sorry.

Me: Understandable.
(Then I notice the signs around the store advertising layaway)

Me: So how does your layaway work?

Saleslady: You put 10% down on your purchase and we’ll hold on to it for up to 30 days till you pay for the rest of it.

Me: Wow, that’s interesting. So if I pay for it in full you can’t hold it for me for a week. But if I give you 10% you’ll hold on to it for 30 days?

Saleslady: Yes!

Me: Well, that sure would have been nice to know say, mmm, 2 minutes ago. But anyway, i’d like to put it on layaway.

Saleslady: Okay! Just take this slip to the registers and tell them you want it on layaway.

Me: No problem. I figured out how to sell myself the stuff in the first place, I think I can figure out the rest of the sale.

Cashier rings up sale and puts paperwork in a bin under her register.
Not completely satisfied I go back to see Saleslady.

Me: So, will those pieces be held for me?

Saleslady: Yep.

Me: Well, excuse my asking but how does somebody know not to sell them to someone else?

Saleslady: We tag them with your paperwork.

Me: Oh. When does that happen?

Saleslady: At the end of the day when they file their paperwork.

Me: Oh. Well it’s about noon on a busy Saturday. What if someone else sells them? They are the last ones.

Saleslady: That’s a good question. I don’t really know.

Me: Would you mind going up to the register for the paperwork now and tag them so they don’t disappear? I’d really apprecaite it.

Saleslady: Okay. If that’ll make you happy.

Me: It would.

It’s always fun to walk a salesperson through their own friggin sale.

Well done. I wish I knew how to do that.

Last summer I bought a bunch of fabric at the quilt shop. The cashier accidentally (I presume) double-charged me. I didn’t notice until I was leaving the store, and thought “Damn, $160 for 40 fat quarters sounds like too much.”

I had paid with a debit card. The cashier didn’t know how to give me a refund, full or partial. She didn’t know how to cancel the sale and start over. She couldn’t give me a credit for next time.

I ended up getting 40 more fat quarters, to balance it out.

The cashier did feel bad though, and she gave me a few quarters free of charge. At least I think they were free. :wink:

Must be something about furniture salespeople.

Buying a new sofa, I had to point to the computer screen 5 times during the sale, showing the saleswoman what bit to click or fill out. This was not because I have any knowledge of her computer system whatsoever, it was because she was unable to figure out things like “Enter” might be the bit to click when everything was complete.

It was so irritating, especially as I had a squirmy infant with me, and her typing speed was that of a chimpanzee on quaaludes.

And they shipped us the wrong color after all that, because she entered it wrong!

Ans: at least a few times.

Usually it’s because they have a rather vague understanding of their rules, and an ironheaded willingness to stick to the letter of law when it comes to their shoddy understanding.

My story:

“I’m interested in this dishwasher, are you offering delivery and installation terms?”

“Yeah, it’s same as cash financing for 6 months, delivery and installation are free after a rebate.”


Looking intently at a smudged photocopy, “Uh, no, that deal is only good for a dishwasher that costs $400 or more, yours is $380.”

“No problem, I’ll be buying a refrigerator today too.”

“Yeah, but the dishwasher will still be $380”

“Charge me $400”

“Um, no I don’t think I can do that”

“You don’t want a $1400 sale?”

“I guess not”

I point, “How about that salesperson over there, bring him over here.” When he arrives I say to sales person #2, “Can you charge me $400 for this dishwasher, and make it eligible for financing, delivery, and installation?”

He responds, “Better yet, I can just add in the utensil cover… comes to $400”

“You just closed the easiest $1400 sale you are going to have all week.”

And you know what? Saleperson #2 sat there for 15 minutes printing out extra receipts and stapling them to rebate forms. He then called the plumber and arranged for delivery and installation on the same day. I hope the first little pigfucker learned something from him.

I’m shopping for a Hyundai Elantra and submitted a request for internet quotes. One place replied with a quote of $13,397. I replied and asked him if he could match the quote of $12,795 given by another dealer.

I then got a reply of “please call me so I can get some more details from you, thanks!” Then, 20 minutes after that e-mail: “Just spoke with my manager, he wanted me to ask you when you will be in to purchase your Elantra from us? Talk to you soon.”

Well, I guess I’ll be in when you answer my question, dumbass.

Sears. Holiday season, so I understand there were seasonal employees who may not have been as familiar with the equipment as full-tme folks.

I chose a vacuum cleaner. Brought the box to the cashier. Began the transaction.

5 minutes later I’m leaning over the counter pointing at which things she needs to click, including deducing which button she had to press so I could pay by cash. She hadn’t rung up a cash sale ever. Had no idea how to let people pay for goods with actual currency which didn’t involve an expiration date or a “memo” line.

I was more than half tempted to call that branch, ask to speak to management, and try to get myself hired on seasonally for twice her rate, as I was, without training, able to complete her transaction FOR HER.

I’d mention her apparent confusion at the concept of manually entering a UPC, her nearly indecipherable accent, or that she appeared to have a bobblehead from the amount of looking up and down she did trying to focus on her monitor through her coke-bottle glasses, but I’m afraid people in here would focus on my obvious prejudice against people who wear glasses or my clearly rampant xenophobia.

Oh, no-I’ll give you a pass on the glasses and the xenophobia–I’m calling you on this --YOU GAVE A VACUUM CLEANER FOR CHRISTMAS!!!

Did you at least wrap the damned thing?
I spend most of my shopping assisting sales help with my sale. The last bastion of good sales help was Marshall Field’s and that,alas, is no more.
I do seem to have the most trouble with consumer durables: appliances, baby equipment, auto stuff.

It’s like nobody bothers to train sales people any more. I had to walk someone through voiding a credit card sale in a situation like yours (“I think maybe you push that “void” button right there…”). Those Visa/MC terminals are really pretty intuitive.

I was paying my bill in a restaurant. I had already left the tip on the table, and I didn’t want a pile of change. The total was $26.20. I gave her $32 (a twenty, a ten, and two ones). She gave me back the two ones. I said I wanted a $5 bill back instead of a bunch of ones, and pushed the two ones back to her. She called her manager over and said I was trying to pull something. :rolleyes: The manager gave me a five and the coins and apologized. He explained everything to the cashier and she said, “Wow, that’s really clever!”

You guys are pitting the wrong people. All corporate sales cash registers (sears, toys R us…and so on) are not created equally. They all have special little things that must be done for different types of sales.

Sales people get about 10 minutes (unless it’s busy and then it’s “here’s the register, good luck”) of so-called training and then are pretty much on their own. If you’ve got some reasonable computer skills, you’re in luck, because you can figure things out with not too much extra time.

But I can imagine that people that have few skills are going to have some trouble if they get hired and just tossed out to the wolves that way without having much idea of how to work those registers.

It is management that is to blame, not the newbies. Although of course if the person has been there enough time to know, and is still clueless, then yeah I agree. Otherwise, the best way to attempt to fix this (if they even care) is to complain to management.

I think I agree. It’s management’s job to hire people who can handle the amount of training they’re going to get. Unlike teachers, who are assigned people, stores hire people on a selective basis. If you get a 15 year-old who has trouble making change at McDonald’s, it’s not such a big deal, as the register will make if for him/her. But in these cases, with real money on the line, I think they should either put in better screening, or do better training. There are some students I have that I wouldn’t trust to stack boxes, as I say. They’d screw up almost any possible job with any thinking parameters you’d care to name.

First off, if I got a really swell vacuum cleaner for Christmas, I’d be dancing with glee.

Second, no, I wasn’t buying it as a gift. I was buying it for myself and it happened to be during Christmas season.

And if I got a vacuum for Christmas, I’d be pissed as hell. To each his own.

Phew! That clears that up. :slight_smile:

I was actually just teasing you in my first post. An appliance is not my idea of a great gift (usually).

Ever been a starving student? Those were my first counts on fingers four Christmases away from home (plus the one just prior to leaving home): “Honey, what would you like for Christmas?” “OMG KETTLE.” Or “OMG DRYER.” Or “OMG COOKWARE.” (Okay, it’s not appliances, but you get the idea.)

Housewares for Christmas = salvation.

It happens all the time in retail. The general managerial way of thinking I’ve come across in my industry (and mind you, I’m not speaking for all) is: We need somebody who appears to have a brain so we can throw them in to cover the shift and hopefully s/he will work a lot of for him/herself because we just don’t have the time to thoroughly train him/her.

Of course it puts a lot of pressure on the newbie, moreso if the newbie is naturally conscientious. Nine times out of 10 the newbie doesn’t want to give the customer the incorrect information, but because of the inherent stress the situation generates, the newbie feels compelled to say something. The logical thing for the newbie to say is s/he will find a supervisor or a more experienced coworker to walk him/her through the transaction.

Here’s a RL example: We just hired a new assistant manager who’s also new to the company. I had exactly 3 days to train him. He’s on his own this week because I’m on vacation. My/our manager will also be off part of this week to help out at another store. The new assistant’s not stupid by any means, but he’s new. I’m trying not to shudder while thinking of all the scenarios he could run into without somebody more experienced there to help him :eek:

You think that’s bad, yesterday I had to spell “jam” to a grocery clerk. It took quite a while for that penny to drop. If he or I had been a non-native speaker, it might have been understandable, but that wasn’t the case.

Yesterday I had the same experience. I’ve been hunting for hex tiles (the ceramic kind you’d put in your bathroom, altho I’m not going to use them for that,) and the clerk didn’t even know what I mean by that. This was in a tile store. Of course, it didn’t sound like he was a native English speaker, nor that he didn’t have hexagonal tiles.

Then he tried to tell me that Home Depot had them, but I seriously couldn’t understand him when he said that until about the 10th time.

Best Christmas present I got last year: full set of pots & pans. I was in Kitchen Heaven.

I find myself having to explain the intricacies of selling crickets to the people at PetSmart. I noticed this past weekend that they’re implementing a thing (I’m so specific) where you get your own damn box of crickets without confusing the poor salesmen who only understand how to put fish in little plastic bags. Maybe it’ll take me less than ten minutes to buy 50 crickets a week now.
(Before you ask: White’s Tree Frog and Veiled Chameleon.)

Hey, let me know if you find any. I assume you mean the ones about an inch across. I might need some myself.

Apologies to **Hampshire **for the hijack.

[hijack]There were hex tiles in other tile stores of the 1 inch variety – just not in that tile store.

I was looking for 2 - 3 inch hex tiles, and found some 2 1/2 inch ones at Home Depot, just like the guy finally said once he understood what I was looking for.

(1) Read the first line of the post directly above yours

(2) Who said we’re just talking about newbies?

Sure, it’s management’s fault if they don’t supply enough training, but that’s not always it. When the company’s finances allow a budget of $7.00 per hour for a sales clerk, you’re not going to have a lot of college grads with 10 years of experience and 130 IQs applying for the job. Many of those companies have trouble even getting qualified people to apply for the jobs, so they end up hiring any idiot that can fill out the application.

So if we’re going to throw the blame at management, then let’s spread some to the high schools that are giving diplomas to people who can barely count their own fingers; and let’s blame Wal*Mart for driving wages and working conditions so low that people can’t afford to make retail a career and really learn the job; and let’s blame manufacturers of point-of-sale systems for making systems so counter-intuitive that even smart people can’t figure them out half the time. Heck, if we try hard enough we can come up with reasons to blame the government, Osama bin Laden, global warming, the stock market, and Oprah.

'Cause after all, we have to blame somebody, don’t we? We can’t just say that if you’re going to work somewhere you should take the initiative to learn how to do your job.