What Your Holiday Sales Clerk Won't Tell You
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Retail Reveal1 of 13
By Woman's Day
Holiday shopping is stressful. But shoppers aren't the only ones under pressure — retail clerks have their fair share of grievances to endure. We talked to sales associates across the country to find out what they're really thinking about your shopping habits, plus got their insider tips on how to score the best deals.
Don't Be Rude2 of 13
Aside from the bad karma that comes from being discourteous to well-meaning salespeople, your rude attitude might actually cost you special deals and discounts. "If customers treat me badly, I'll withhold information that can give them access to discounts," says Freeman Hall, author of Retail Hell: How I Sold My Soul to the Store.
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Don't Rehang3 of 13
"It's nice when people hang dressing room items back up, but please do it right-side-out! Otherwise, why bother hanging them up at all?" asks Brooke, a former retail associate from Los Angeles. Instead, return items neatly to the fitting room attendant so she can properly hang or fold them to ensure they get back on the floor faster.
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Respect Store Hours4 of 13
Strolling into a store minutes before it's scheduled to close is fine, as long as you browse quickly and leave. But if you know the clock is ticking, "Do you really need to try on seven outfits and keep the staff waiting?" asks Rachel, a sales associate from Joplin, Missouri. "Like you, we have lives and families to get back to."
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Shop Early5 of 13
You'll find the most chipper — and patient — salespeople early in the day. "Shop in the morning to get good service," says Freeman. "The employees have just had their coffee and are most alert then."
Let Us Help You6 of 13
According to Freeman, the minute he says “hello” to shoppers, many snap back with: "I'm just looking!" "I’m like, well, I'm just saying hello," he says. "So many people will automatically assume that every salesperson is aggressive." And as Heather, a retail associate from Joplin, Missouri, puts it: "If you want to be left alone, shop online."
Play by the Rules7 of 13
"People should take note of the store's return policy, which is usually in plain sight or on the back of their receipt," says Brooke. "It's frustrating dealing with people who try to return things without a receipt and throw a fit when they find out their item has gone on sale and they won't receive a full refund."
Don't Lie8 of 13
Freeman hates it when shoppers lie about their returned goods. Having worked at Nordstrom, which is known for its lax return policy, Freeman says people would attempt to return items that they'd clearly been using for years — all without receipts. Don't take advantage of a store just because it has great customer service.
Come In9 of 13
"The customer standing in front of you is always going to take priority over the one on the phone, so if your matter is urgent, come to the store to get better service," says Elizabeth, a former retail associate from Los Angeles. Marissa, a retail associate from San Diego, gets particularly annoyed when customers try to shop over the phone. "If you're looking for that many things, just come in!" she says.
Deals are in the Back10 of 13
Sale items are rarely stocked near the entrance of a store, because they want you looking at the full-priced items first. "At the back of each department you'll find the clearance rack or a sale table," says Freeman. "Look there first, and work your way into the regular-priced merchandise. During sales, many items on clearance racks will also be additionally discounted."
Hang Up11 of 13
Just because you consider waiting in line to be a great time to catch up with your best friend, remember that you could be slowing down the rest of the line as well as getting on the nerves of everyone around you. Olivia, a former retail associate from New York City, says, "If you’re on your cell phone, you'll be distracted, which adds to the problem and holds up the line."
Don't Haggle12 of 13
Store employees sometimes have access to special discount codes or coupons they might bestow upon kind customers, but don't count on them to change the prices of items at will. For most stores, sales are a companywide decision, not a personal favor. "Don't try to bargain with me — try a flea market instead," says Jordan, a retail associate from Little Rock, Arkansas.
Watch Your Kids13 of 13
Letting your kids run rampant around the store while you shop will only vex the salespeople — they aren't paid to care for your child while you shop. "Teach your children how to act in public. Brynn, a former retail associate from New York City, says, "The dressing room is not for stroller storage, nor is it a childcare center."