Saturday, 23 December 2006

Stupid Shop Assistants

I have nothing against shop assistants. In all likelihood neither do you.

So what is it they have against us?

Last year I made the mistake of going to my local Corte Ingles—a Spanish department store chain. I committed a fatal error in visiting the DVD section. I then compounded my catalogue of blunders by daring to ask the assistant if they had a particular film.

"No," she said.

Just like that. No further explanations, no excuses, no "--but we can order it for you!" Nothing.

It's possible, you might be thinking, that Richie was asking for a really popular film, say one of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy--and the shop assistant knew they had sold out.

Or, because you're a smart person with lots of ideas, it could be that I had asked for a really obscure movie and the shop assistant knew they didn't stock "arty" films. No, it wasn’t.

And, no, it wasn't porn.

I was looking for "The Jerk" starring Steve Martin. Not a highly obscure film, but not a highly popular one either (sorry Steve). I had expected the assistant to respond by either looking it up on the computer or taking me to the relevant section.

(In general Spanish stores have a different system of cataloging music and film products. For example, you might expect to find "George Michael" under "M" but you would have more luck looking under "G". Then again, you might be in one those shops where he would be in "W" for Wham or possibly "E" because he's English. You get the idea.)

Anyway, back to the Corte Ingles. The woman just responded in the negative. It was obvious she simply could not be bothered to help. Normally, I would just mutter something under my breath as I walked away with my tail between my legs. But something was different that day. I was a man on a mission and I would not be denied: "Sorry, but… well… how do you know without looking it up?" I thundered.

"Because I do."

"Oh… well, would you mind looking it up? Just in case? Please?" I bellowed.

The look, no, the Look she gave me would have stopped Hitler from invading Poland. Hissing and tutting she stomped over to the counter and picked up a folder. "Look in here," she commanded.

She, the shop assistant, was getting me the customer to do the looking up? Surely this wasn't right. I fumbled my way through the catalogue hoping and praying that they would have the film and I could savour the joy of saying, "See?".

They didn't have it.

The shop assistant snatched the folder back. "See?" she said.

I vowed never to go back. But yesterday, in the run up to Christmas, I forgot my vow and plunged back into the hell that is the Corte Ingles on a shopping day near Christmas.

The shop assistant was no longer there! Victory! He who laughs last, laughs longest. She'd obviously been fired because of her behaviour. Either that or she'd decided that the customer service industry wasn't making the most of her skills and had decided to become a prison guard.

Still didn't have that Steve Martin film, though. Sorry Steve.


Michael-From-The-Future said...

Hi Richie,
Amazing lack of service! WOW!

I honestly haven't had that type of shopping experience before and if I did I can promise you this ... I would start laughing out loud because I would find it so unbelievable!

I think it's great that you asked her 'HOW DO YOU KNOW', but I'm surprised with her reply.

She could have easily said 'No sir, I'm sorry but we don't have that title' and made all the difference to you as the customer.

By the way, I just noticed that you've LINKED me to your site!

I have just added a LINK page to my site and will be ADDING YOUR page now !

Thanks & Take Care Richie,


Anonymous said...

Hello Richie. I was the shop assistant. I can't believe that you called me stupid...Just kidding!! My name's Justin and I live in Chicago. Nice blog! -Justin

Richie said...

michael: Thanks for the add!

justin: Glad you like the blog! (Also glad you weren't that shop assistant!)