Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stories of a Holiday Sales Associate: The Interrupter

I work at a department store part-time. It's December, 'nuff said. As a Holiday Sales Associate, I want to say please don't be that shopper.

Today, I worked the register and I'm supposed to ring each customer through in two minutes. At the same time, I have to push our brand credit card, survey, and any new sales on top of making polite small talk to every customer so that they feel special.

I'm focused, talking to my customer in line when I feel a tap on my shoulder. I am expecting my boss, maybe. Instead, I see this couple. "Excuse me, miss. Can you tell me where the snow pants are?" the woman asks me.

barely understand the words. A customer has stepped around the counter, the invisible boundary, and touched me. "Snowpants?" I ask. They've taken me completely off-gaurd. Couldn't they find an associate on the floor? The people not ringing walk the floor just for the reason of helping customers.

"Yes, snowpants. For kids," the man says as if this will help. My customer clears her throat. I'm not in floor associate mindset. I don't know if we have snowpants, let alone where they would be located. And how the hell am I supposed to show them when I'm on register with a customer?

The couple finally sees that I am not equipped to help them. A floor associate comes up and directs them to our snowpants 'cause that is her job today. I apologize to my customer and finish ringing her up.

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