Opinion

I’M TERRIBLE, THANK YOU FOR ASKING

JACKIE GERSON
OPINION EDITOR

Whenever I step one foot inside any Abercrombie, Nordstrom, or Brandy Melville, I hear a slew of “how are you?” or  “We are having a 30 percent off deal today” and upon leaving
a “Thank you for coming in!” and “We hope to see you again soon!” While both sentiments try to convey kindness and care, neither feel that way as they are forced out of the lips of
store employees.

Recently, when hastily asked “How are you?” in a store, I responded with a quick “Just terrible, thank you.” I thought for certain the employee would stop and say something. The worker barely even noticed and continued on the line of “How are you?” to the next entering customers as if nothing had happened. Although I wasn’t actually feeling horrible, the worker didn’t care whether my response was positive or negative as it made no difference to them. If store employees don’t really care how we feel, why do they
bother asking?

Insincere friendless in stores has become ingrained as a part of American culture, so much so that when people don’t greet us when we come into a store we find it rude.

As a salesperson, there is no clear path to winning a customer over. Either we find it rude that they wouldn’t even take the time to say hi to us, or rude that they would say hi but in such a careless way that we feel violated.

My sister and I faced a similar conundrum when we entered a Kate Spade at the mall, only to find that every salesperson in the store said hi to us. Knowing that we were only there to look and not to buy anything, we felt instantly guilty that they were being so friendly to us.

Just 10 minutes later, when we entered Bloomingdales and did not get a response from any of at least 5 employees, we criticized the store for being so aloof to their loyal customers.

The solution simply lies in the way customers are addressed. A genuine smile and small hello can go a long way rather than a hollow question such as a “how are you?”

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