We spent the weekend in Brisbane while my daughter did a two-day graphic design course (part of my evil plan to get her doing an unpaid internship for me *insert evil laugh here*). We caught up with family and I also had a shopping and styling session with a gorgeous new client.
She lives and work in the inner city so, twist my arm, the inner city was our shopping precinct of choice. Her corporate work wardrobe didn’t require any tweaking but she was keen to freshen up her weekend and after-hours look.
Now, while we didn’t experience any Pretty Woman moments involving sales assistants not wanting to serve us, we did experience a couple of things that got me thinking:
1. In the designer section of one major department store, the teenage shop assistants talked to each other about their weekend while ringing up my client’s purchases – only actually talking to us to comment on how gorgeous the top was that my client was buying. No sooner had the bag been passed to us, said assistant was found grabbing one of those tops off the rack for herself.
2. In one boutique, I seriously struggled to actually see what they were trying to sell. It was so dark, with only minimal spotlighting on the racks of mainly black clothes, that I just couldn’t be bothered going through them. What got bought? The jeans and the shoes that were displayed so they could actually be seen. Umm. No brainer really.
This was all mulling over in my brain on the way home so I decided to put it out to the Facebook and Twitterverse and ask you, Stylers, what are your pet clothes shopping peeves? And boy, oh boy, did the comments flow in.
I’ve narrowed them down to four common themes:
@purple_cath: aisles too narrow with a pram
Sally: change rooms without mirrors! I was in one yesteday and guess what? Didn’t buy anything.
@kerr_alexandra No mirrors in the dressing room! I hate that!
Danielle: No price tags
Monique: mirrors OUTSIDE the change rooms … some of us are a bit more modest!
Natalie: Cluttered and overstocked racks. Gives me claustrophobia just trying to find something!
Dianne: my peeve is poorly merchandised stores … makes it so hard to envisage an outfit because of all the chaos … My other peeve is stores that jam as much as they can in the shop … it’s like they have an identity crisis, trying to sell everything and have no focus … again chaotic.
Catherine: All of the above! But also dislike over crowded racks!!! I hate it when the racks are so incredibly overstuffed that you simply cannot see the clothes on them short of taking them off the rack. The problem is though that you can never get the hanger back on the rack afterwards too.
Gillian: I hate it when the racks are so darn high I can’t reach items up the top!
@princess_chic: over zealous salespeople
Marney: Shop assistants who have only worked there 2 weeks or else tell you “we have never sold that here!”
@adventureskids: not being able to find attendant to ask questions
Maree: Assistants that think they’re above you and ignore you! Goodbye sale!
@misskelt: Pushy sales assistants. I’m likely to walk out if hassled too much…
Renee: shop assistants talking on the phone instead of helping!
Fiona: I waited at the counter for 10 minutes while they had a chat so I walked out without any purchase or desire to return!
@bigwordsblog: when the shop assistants repeatedly ask if I need help with anything. No, I am very capable of shopping and trying on clothes
Sarah: shop assistants who won’t bugger off and want to tell you their life story as you are browsing
@wotisunique: when staff aren’t interested in helping you
Meegan: Rude shop assistants and even worse – rude customers!
Liz: Over zealous sales assistants – particularly the ones who tell you “you look great” and you know you don’t. And the ones who tell you “we had one of those in your size yesterday”. And the ones who can’t get you the size you want from another store because it’s “not policy”. And the ones who, if they can get you the size you want from another store and who tell you they’ll ring when it gets there, don’t. And the ones who dress in all the clothes from the store and themselves look like crap.
Rachel: When sales assistants chat between themselves (about personal stuff) while serving us. Like we are invisible . Even worse when it’s in another language!
Jeanie: lack of help or them saying you look great when you obviously don’t. I’d buy more if you help me find what actually looks good on me!
Naomi: Assistants who loudly ask through the change room curtain/door “HOW ARE YOU GOING FOR SIZE IN THERE?” especially if it’s accompanied by a term like doll. I am not now, nor will I ever be anyone’s doll.
Julie: being pounced on as soon as you walk thru the door, you dont even have chance to see what they have for sale, ie if its something you like or not, then when they disagree with your size, like when you say your a 16 they say, nooo you would only be a 14, they give you a 14 and guess what it doesnt fit and you have to ask for a bigger size!! not the best way to sell something is it 🙂
Annette: I go in and they assume I can’t afford their precious stuff (so I don’t go in dripping in jewellery) but I do want to buy something but they serve the person dripping in fake jewellery when I wanted to spend about $500 on my daughters 18th. All I can say is BIG mistake !!! HUGE (ok stole that line from Pretty Woman) but I bought an item from the store across the aisle and boy did they look ill where I was first lol 🙂 don’t judge a book by its cover or lack of jewellery some days I just can’t be bothered.
@leoniandvonk extremely loud music!
Gillian: music so loud you can’t think
@madamebfatale super loud music!!! I’ll walk out immediately!
Clairey: Really really load music. I am just so old.
@rosaliquidink Loud music & can’t hear! You cant think properly or communicate with salesperson!
Katy: Working in retail, my pet peeve is loud music. I hate how loud my workplace policy sets the music. I wish I could hear my customers properly!
Eileen: Dreadful ear-splitting rap music often with obscene language. I usually walk straight out so they have lost a possible sale.
@parental_parody: The lack of standardised sizing. A size 10 at one retalier is a 14 at another. Clearly, I prefer the first one 😉
Dorothy: Nothing above size 10
Sarah: Mostly the sizing. Manufacturers assume that if you’re a 16, you are also as tall as an Amazon and have a torso 6 miles long.
Pheww … now that we have all that off our collective shopping chests (and hopefully it’s been read by a few of the powers that be in the retail sector), I’d like to turn this post around to a positive note.
I’d love to hear from you about specific shops – chain stores, departments stores and boutiques where all the boxes above (great merchandising, great sales staff, subtle music and a good sizing range) have been ticked and you’ve walked out of the store in an even better mood than that with which you walked in.
A bit like Vivian in this iconic shopping scene in Pretty Woman: