Friday, September 21, 2012

People Are Crazy: The Noisemaker

At first I used to think it was just me. Maybe I took my job way too serious or my perspective was narrowed in on a skewed frequency. After several years, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not me. I’m not alone in my thinking.
            One day a customer comes up to me and says, “Excuse me. There’s a man walking around with a group of women and he makes strange noises when a woman walks by.”
I immediately gave her the look that said, “Hmm. I’m listening, but I don’t understand what you want me to do about it.”
“I just thought you should know,” she quickly replied before leaving the store. I was a little curious and did not have to wait any longer because I heard an odd noise as I walked by a group of people.
I turned and looked at the possible offenders. Sure enough, a man was with a group of women and I did my job.
“Hi, how you folks doing today?”
“We are just excellent! We were waiting for someone to greet us, so we decided to make noises each time a woman walked by,” a tall man with glasses spoke for the group.
“Was there anything I can do for you?”
“Nope, just wanted a greeting.” He smiled cheerily as the women giggled.
“Well just let me know if you need anything?” I decided to slowly remove myself from the presence of these strange people.
I seem to always get the special ones.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Posts To Come

My first draft of a Twitter logo for myself. Used Gimp 2.6.
I spend a lot of time researching, writing with pen and paper, learning new software and spreading the word. Loads of posts to come and I'm taking "Regaling Retail" to another level. 

I spend a lot of time in retail situations as a consumer, so I want to regale my audience with my experiences. Movie reviews, restaurant reviews and everyday shopping experiences. 

Keep visiting for new things to come on my blog as I delve into regaling retail 2.0. 


Saturday, June 23, 2012

From A Fitting Room Perspective: Women Are Slobs

From a fitting room perspective, women are slobs. Now of course not all women are slobs (those who have worked in retail, OCD members and those ladies from the old school order of respect are excluded), but I am leaning towards a strong 75% from my fitting room perspective.

In the beginning, I kept wondering if all of these nicely dressed ladies lived the life of a slob at home. How can you treat brand new stuff like that? Is my store so cheap, but no I have witnessed the same behavior in some of the higher end stores as well.

Nowadays, I no longer stare in shock at the huge pile of brand new merchandise tossed on the floor. 90% of these offenders are early twenties and under. Every now and then I have ladies hand me items with a sympathetic apology, but there are a few who have an ulterior motive for handing me the items they do not want to buy.

I often send items back to our vendors for the following reasons:

- Failed attempt to squeeze a big behind into a dress (jeans or pants) resulting in broken zippers, buttons and stitches

- Deodorant rings, cosmetic stains and baby powder stains

- Odd odors, stains and mystery marks

I read an article a while back in Glamour Magazine that reported on a study done on women trying on clothing. It said that women will try on more than 21,000 clothing items in their lifetime. 

That is garbage. I don't know how a sampling of 3,000 women is equal to represent "women" around the world. Let me specify my title statement. 

A guesstimated 75% of women (all ages) in the Northeast and Midwest shopping regions of the United States are slobs in retail fitting rooms. 

So what? Well here is a little advice. If you are a fitting room slob and need help looking for an item you really need, you will get no help. That is a nice bit of karma. 

If you are a fitting room slob and think the store workers are really nice, do I have some news for you. Those same really nice workers will forever coin you "slob" and drench their hands in hand sanitizer after touching anything you touch.

All I can say is think before you try clothing on because the consequences could cost you that perfect outfit to match those perfect accessories you have waiting at home. No one will help you and it was all because you were a slob in the fitting room.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer 2012 Street Trends: The Romper

The hot weather brings back an old favorite in the fashion industry: the romper. The romper returned in 2011 and has decided to stay.

I learned of this trend the old fashioned way. Every day for the past three-weeks (since the start of summer weather) I receive the same question more than four times a day. "Does your store have any rompers left?" My particular store has no stock of rompers, but our bigger stores carried the popular item.

Somehow a memo went out when the weather changed and young women everywhere want a romper.

Where can you find a romper? Right now most trendy stores (Forever21 and H&M) still have a selection of rompers available, but you must hurry quickly because Fall 2012 stock is already on its way into most major retailers.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Three Suggestions On Buying Jewelry For A Woman

Most women look forward to receiving a specially wrapped jewelry gift box from the person she loves. Most buyers cringe in horror at having to pick out a little sparkling piece of metal out of thousands of little sparkling pieces of metal. Now I cannot speak for all shoppers just the many that I assisted over the years as a Fine Jewelry Sales Specialist.

I quickly learned that only a small percentage of my customers knew exactly what their loved ones wanted and they usually had a cell phone picture or a list with the item's description. Of course I chose the famous "Tiffany Blue" packaging above because of its symbolism, but the item inside the box can make or break a celebration.

Nobody likes to present a gift and not receive an excited and heartfelt thank you. The situation is similar to lighting a firecracker. You purchase the gift and light the fuse of anticipation. The person receives your gift and either they explode in happiness or they sigh in obligatory gratitude for your thoughtfulness. 

So how do you pick the right item? Here are three easy suggestions:

#1 - Rifle through her jewelry box and see if anything is missing. Yes, I know this is an invasion of privacy; however, I doubt she is expecting you to steal her jewelry. Maybe she has several bracelets and rings, but not enough necklaces. Does she have it all? How about anklets or ring wraps? (I will do a post later on ring wraps because women love them, while men have no clue.) 

#2 -  Observe her jewelry habits. If #1 offended your sensibilities then try paying attention to what she is wearing. Does she favor a certain style? Perhaps she has a preference for certain pieces and only wears earrings or a favorite pendant. It takes just a minute to observe the person you love.

This last suggestion is my favorite.

#3 - Ask her. Often the most complex situation has the simplest solution. If your lady loves jewelry then there exists a 98% chance she has already acquired a list of items for you to buy. A good half of my female customers window shop with the aim to send their significant others into the store to purchase a piece that they want.

There you go. It's not rocket science and under ten minutes of following either of the three suggestions above will significantly decrease your shopping time and aggravation.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Awkward Moments: Number One Weirdest Moment

Out of my six years working in retail, the number one weirdest moment happened to me last week. A nice old man comes up to me and asks me for help on sheets. I happily walk over to assist him to the best of my abilities. 

"I'm looking for a rose colored pillowcase," he says.

"Rose as in deep red or are we talking a lighter palette?" I ask because the way we see colors and describe them is different despite all the great words available for description.

He furrows his brow and his sad eyes look at me, "Well it's like a pink."

"I've only got hot pink in the store and our pillowcases generally come in pairs, but we do offer an assortment online that I can check for you?"

He pulls a digital camera out of his pocket and says, "Well I've got pictures of the color I need."

"That's great! Let's see what you got." I smile because pictures make life so much easier when it comes to matching colors.

This is where my excitement transitions into an assortment of reactions.

"You see I just lost my wife a week ago," he states while turning on the camera. "We were married sixty years and she died of cancer."

I immediately felt empathetic for him because I knew what it was like to watch someone you love die of cancer. "I'm so sorry for your loss, I know what it feels like to lose someone to cancer."

He looked up from his camera and smiled sadly at me. This time I noticed his eyes were slightly red with hint of slight baggage beneath. "Well she's free from all the suffering," and he turned back to the buttons on his camera. 

"So you have a picture of something you are trying to match?" I ask in curiosity.
"No, it's an actual pillowcase I am trying to replace." He brings his camera over to me and starts flickering through scenes of what looks like a party of some sort. I focus on his camera buttons because I feel as if I am crashing a party and intruding into his personal memories.

"Wow that's cool that you took pictures of the pillowcase you needed," I attempt to make the situation lighthearted. 

"Yes, well when the funeral home came to take my wife they took her pillow." He continued to flicker through an assortment of pictures in which everyone was dressed in black.

My epiphany came all to late, for he slowed down his slideshow to a body in a casket. As I swallowed my shock and kept my facial expression neutral with a poker face, my mind was reeling at what was happening.

He stopped at a photo of a woman in a casket and zoomed into her face. "You see the pillow case under head?" He looked at me with a serious inquiry. 

"Hmm...yes I do." I could not avoid the grim picture because he pushed the camera very close to my face. 

"I want to replace that pillowcase because they buried my wife with the pillow and I have to replace it. I only have one pillow on the bed and the set is incomplete." He flicked to another picture and I could only focus on not showing any emotion other than polite interest.

"Well I don't believe we have that color at the moment." I needed some way to get this man's camera out of my face without being rude. "We usually get those colors in the spring, so I would check back during the spring."

He turned the camera off and placed it back in his pocket. "Oh well, I guess I will have to check back during the spring. Thank you for your time." The old man's shoulders slumped a little as he slowly walked away.

I watched him walk off into the mall and wondered how many more of these awkward moments would I experience before I left retail all together.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I moved from the Northeast back to the Midwest and I wonder how long it will take to recover. I actually cried when I left my old store. Of course the tears on some of my co-workers faces made my own tears hard to suppress.

You don't just work with people for five years and not form a tight relationship, so it was a pretty emotional break for me.

The "relocation" or transfer was not as easy as I hoped. My company gave me 90 days to show up to a new store after I had my store manager send out letters to the stores of my choice. I figured "Great! Vacation time." I quickly discovered that all stores are not the same, especially when you travel across six states. My store manager gave me the profit margins on three of my choice locations. I chose the store with a similar store layout and adequate profit margin to afford me.

Once I felt well rested, or bored to death, I called the store. My biggest problem was finding someone who knew what they were talking about. That took two weeks. Once I finally talked to the proper person, I received an interview. Can you believe that a six year veteran was offered minimum wage and a temp job?

I turned that store down and promptly called the small store near my home. I did an interview the next day and started work the next week. The moral of the story here is to never underestimate the easiest solutions. I thought a big store like my old store would meet my needs, but turns out a smaller store works out just fine.

Next post, "Job Security" talks about the importance of flexibility.