Thursday, November 08, 2007

Don't bother me when I'm shopping!

I need to know if others feel the same way I do about this.

Whenever I happen to be in the mall, I find myself accosted by multiple kiosk salesmen (usually), trying to get me to stop and try/buy different products off of their carts - hand lotion, heat packs, jewelery cleaners, head massagers, straightening irons, and the like. And usually the scenario goes something like this:

Me: walking along, window shopping, people watching, talking to whomever I'm with, etc.
Guy: Jumping in front of me or hurrying to my side, speaking in an insistent loud voice, "Excuse me, miss? Can I ask you a question?"
Me: "No, thank you," I reply, politely, without stopping.
Guy: Continues with his spiel without missing a beat, still with a very loud voice, more actively trying to get me to stop (example)- "Do you keep your nails natural? Let me see your hands..." as he gestures for me to hold out my hands, getting as close as he can without touching me.
Me: "No, thank you," I respond, a little more insistently, as I speed up and walk away.

At this point, most will back off and just tell you to have a nice day. I'm fine with that. Although I may not like them jumping on me at the mall (which is how most of them behave, men and women kiosk salespeople alike), I had one the other day who really took the cake. The conversation started out as I mentioned above, but instead of quitting with the second attempt, he said to me, sarcastically, "Oh, don't be so hard."

I didn't realize what he'd said until I got too far away to turn back around.

Don't be so hard????

Excuse me??? I politely said, "No Thank You," and that's your response? If I had realized it sooner, I would have stopped and said something to him. I know that he's trying to do his job and earn a living for himself. But it's not acceptable to say something like that to a stranger and potential customer, and expect them to respond in any way other than with negativity, even if you didn't mean it literally.

Is this just a local thing? Or is it just a kiosk salesperson tactic?

I don't like pushy salespeople, but after working in retail, I know how to politely deal with the situation. But this just took the cake. As I said before, I appreciate the fact that they are trying to earn a living... they just need to learn to read people! It's pretty obvious when someone is uninterested. There are body cues that let you know when people are open to being approached and when they want to just be left alone. A good salesperson is trained and knows how to recognize this. I make it pretty obvious. I avoid eye contact with them. If I am with someone else, I engage them in conversation before we walk by the kiosks. I concentrate on a window display.

Maybe I should just run screaming in the other direction the next time a kiosk salesperson approaches me. Do you think it would give them the hint?

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