Ever have to walk a salesperson through their own sale?

I’m doing a part time retail job while at an internship. I’m at a clothing store and my title is Sales Associate (actually it’s “style expert” but that is SO IDIOTIC that I refuse to acknowledge that term).

I get a lot of compliments on how I sell, to my face and to the cashiers, who tell me that everyone says, “oh, zwei* was so helpful! She found things I wouldn’t’ve thought of and they looked great on me!” blahblahblah. I take what they’re looking for and offer them two choices, and then see how they react to each one and go from there to determine style, price range, preferences.

I also tell them that if they buy the $3.95 magazine up front they can rip out the coupon for 20% off your entire purchase and use it right then. :cool:

The problem is that I’m a relative rarity because we get paid absolute shit. When we make $7/hr without commission, no one gives a crap about being a good salesperson. I personally do it because it’s good to learn a new skill (especially since it’ll help me learn to sell myself (shut up) on job interviews), but the shit pay and bullshit from management is wearing on me.

So yeah, blame management. And if you want awesome salesmanship (well, saleswomanship), c’mon to my store. :smiley:

  • obviously not my real name

Oh, and forgot to say that a lot of retail salespeople don’t care because not only do they not make commission, but all those compliments mean jack shit. My store manager has been told how helpful I’ve been a lot.

Have I gotten any kind of raise from it? No.

Have I gotten any kind of commission from it? No.

Have I gotten extra hours from it? No.

Oh, but I do get a, “zwei, she said you did a great job. High five!” Yeah, catch ya on the flipside, Puddy. :rolleyes: High fives don’t pay my damned bills.

And, of course, that’s the type of employee management wants and doesn’t get, by and large, for the very reasons you stated.

True, that and when they do offer training it generally sucks. In addition the people taking the training just…don’t…care. And I kind of sympathize. When you’re treated as the least valuable asset a company has and yet expected to perform like you’re the owner it creates an atmosphere of “Who Cares?” in a big way.

Down at my local Co-op buying beer.

A four-pack of Beck’s costs £3.50.

There’s a four-pack in the discount basket that must have fallen off the truck: it’s dented up, and missing one can. The marked up discount price? £3.00.

By my reckoning, a good condition pack of three would cost £2.63.

I ask the girl at the counter - “this discount isn’t right, is it? There’s one missing, and they’re all dented up.” She goes glassy eyed and calls for the manager.

“Hi,” I say, “I’ll take these off your hands, but the discount you’ve got here isn’t even the price of one can.”

He goes off and thinks for a while. “OK, I’ll let you have them for £2.75.”

“£2.50 and I’ll take them.”


I bought a pristine four-pack instead.

A few weeks later, same store, same girl at the counter. My total is £11.50 and I hand over £15. She accidentally rings in that I’ve given her £20. Then panics. “Oh my God, what do I do, I’ve said you gave me too much money?!?”

I have had to walk salespeople through sales often, mainly with electronics and especially in Radio Shack.

“Hi, I need a Serial Null-Modem cable”
Salesperson: “A what?”
It is a computer cable for connecting two computers together, it looks like a serial cable like you would use on an external modem. You keep them locked up in behind the counter normally.”
Salesperson starts looking: “hey, here’s one”

These are never bad and I don’t expect every Radio Shack employee to know what every obscure cable is.


I have a tendency to help sales people get sales from other customers than myself.

As an example, I was in a big-box computer store a couple of years ago, when digital film was still a novelty and there were fewer varieties than there are now. I had just bought a Handspring Treo 90 that supported either SD or MMC cards myself, as well as an MP3 player for my husband that used only MMC, and I had spent a lot of time researching the differences between the two formats, before going shopping for a card to use for backup. I’m looking through the paltry and over-priced selection, when I hear a customer ask a sales person what the difference between the different kinds of digital media. She (the sales person) started some bogus stuff that told me she didn’t have a clue what the answer was, so I stepped in and explained all the stuff I had been researching. The customer was very happy, bought the card he needed, and left. The sales clerk thanked me for my help, and told me I should come work for them. I answered (quite truthfully, BTW) that had actually been a manager in the store, before quitting to get a Real Job, then pointed out the person she could go to for help if she got questions like that in the future.

You’d have a better sense of this girl than I do, so she may well be as dumb as you’ve made her out to be, but I’ve seen this from people smarter than that. There is this sense that it matters what you tell the computer, that somehow if you put in the wrong “amount tendered” it won’t balance at the end or something. Completely illogical, but since it’s part of the transaction it seems like it should have to be right.

When i was a corporate travel agent, on a couple of occaisions, verbally talked the gate/ticket agents through a complex ticketing procedure or What To Do If This Happens scenario.

It was actually very rewarding knowing I knew more than they did. I could never work at the airport. I’d rather poke out my eyes with a flaming skewer covered in poo.

I once worked at an amusement park where it did matter. Every bit of currency, from pennies to hundred-dollar bills, had to be accounted for at the end of the night. Balancing out was only half the battle; if the computer said you took in more twenties, even allowing for the twenties you would have given out in change, than you actually did, you would hear about it.

I had a girl in a Radio Shack try to tell me that there was digital cabling: cable needed in order to pass digital signals. As if the cable knew what the electrical impulses meant and would refuse to pass certain kinds. Duurrrffff. Of course, what do we expect for the wages they’re paying? Even the local uni EE majors won’t work there. I know this because, um, they never work there.

The checkers at the local grocery store just love to guess at the identity of my produce. I understand it can be confusing since it’s in a bag, but choosing something that’s not on sale and twice as expensive just doesn’t work for me. I don’t particularly enjoy watching them to correct their error.

Sometimes they even screw up fruit, which is just laziness since the sticker says what it is.

Try this at a fast-food drive-thru. You can actually make the cashier’s head explode. :stuck_out_tongue:
I swear sometimes I’m the only one who understand the concept.
“Here’s $32 on a $26 total. I want a $5 bill back instead of the singles.”
Blank look. They have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

I don’t get this - how would the computer know what change you’d decided to give out? For example, you might give two nickels instead of a dime or 5 $1 bills instead of a five. I don’t see how the system would know or why it would matter a jot.

:: Blank look ::

$32 – $26 = uh… :confused:

Some computerized point-of-sale systems are incredibly anal in that regard. If the transaction total is $16.73 you have to tell the computer that the customer gave you one ten and two fives, and the computer will tell you to give back three ones, a quarter and two pennies. Sometimes this type of system is integrated with an automatic coin and/or bill dispenser for the change, but sometimes it is manual.

I’m assuming the total was $26 and change.

Yes, in the post I quoted the bill was $26 and change.
Say your bill comes to $26 even. Rather than giving the cashier a ten and a twenty and getting back four ones, you give the cashier a ten, a twenty and a one, so you get a five back. Easy way to get rid of ones, and keeps you from having a bunch more ones cluttering up your wallet.

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

This is why, much to Mrs. D_Odds consternation, I refuse to ask for help in most stores. I’ve overheard that clueless clerk far too many times when I knew the correct answer. Hell, I’ve been that clueless clerk, trying to answer questions I should have run away from. I’ve concluded that if I do not know the answer, and ask a clerk, I have no way of knowing if the clerk knows his/her shit, or is just passing wind.