Another day in Aspen...

She walks in and right off the bat we all assume she’s going to be one of “those customers.” Wanting to exchange a hat she recently purchased, she asks to see more options. After she found the right one she approached a young man and his wife to ask if he worked in the store. His reply was naturally NO but she proceeded to ask him where the shorts are kept. Once again he tried to explain that he is just a customer as well and doesn’t have the answer she’s looking for.
Author:
Publish date:
WriteContest-Sponsors-Color.gif

She walks in and right off the bat we all assume she’s going to be one of “those customers.”

Wanting to exchange a hat she recently purchased, she asks to see more options. After she found the right one she approached a young man and his wife to ask if he worked in the store. His reply was naturally NO but she proceeded to ask him where the shorts are kept. Once again he tried to explain that he is just a customer as well and doesn’t have the answer she’s looking for.

She furiously exclaimed, “Well, why didn’t you tell me that the first time I asked you?”

Leaving the guy speechless he blew her off and walked away with a quiet laugh.

That upset this woman so much that she had to whine to Megan, a fellow employee here.

Megan explained to the woman that all of the women’s clothing is upstairs and that someone would be up there to answer any of her questions. Well, this woman didn’t want to see the women’s shorts. She wanted to see the men’s. But before she was going to look at the shorts she had to run a quick errand to the local bakery to get her morning sugar. She very unexpectedly asked if we wanted any muffins while she was there. That was a shock to us all to know that somewhere in there may rest a nice, hospitable, sane soul.

We were wrong!

By the time she arrived back at our store we were all fairly busy helping other customers. As she made her way toward the counter and then toward the shorts she said to Megan, “I need you to help me as soon as you get rid of that one,” referring to the customer being rung up at the time.

Megan quickly called for my help and apologetically passed her off to me. As I approached her she curiously asked me why people got upset that she was yelling. “I just need help and it’s your job to help me.”

My response as a retail sales worker was that there are only so many of us working and that we help everyone the best we can.

I proceeded to help her find what she was looking for and soon realized the shorts that are in her hands are the shorts that she was wearing 2 minutes ago. This 60+ year old mental case is changing out in the open for all to see, now in nothing but her t-shirt and panties with all heads turning in her direction.

I offered her a changing room but she declined in a loud tone saying,

“IF I GO INTO THAT DRESSING ROOM I WILL BE FORGOTTEN ABOUT AND YOU’LL HELP SOMEONE ELSE. YOU KNOW WHAT? I DON’T LIKE ANY OF THESE SHORTS AFTER ALL. YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING I LIKE. I’LL TAKE MY HAT NOW AND LEAVE.”

Heads still turned and mouths all dropped, she left and not one customer in the store kept quiet. She was the new talk of the Ute Mountaineer.

Lauren Stovall, Ute Mountaineer – Aspen, CO

Through July 1, retail sales staff answered the contest call to submit a story of survival and perseverance in the face of challenging customers. The story titles with summaries that made the first round of qualifications are listed below, and each is now in the hands of our judges to decide on the top 10. You can read each story in its entirety by going to the contest landing page -- click here.

Ten lucky story writers will each win over $1,000 in product prizes based on the contest judges' votes. Here is where you come in! Of those 10, one will be named the grand prizewinner, cashing in on a trip for two to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2007. Three others will be named official "honorable mentions," and in addition to the valuable prizes, each will receive a gift certificate that can be redeemed toward attendance at an Outdoor Industry Association-sponsored event, such as Outdoor University, Mountain Sports Festival or the OIA Rendezvous. The grand prize winner will be announced at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006. We will determine the grand prize winner and the three runner up winners based on popular vote (sorry judges) -- those among the top ten receiving the most votes win, it's that simple. This is for store pride, for knowing you have a winner amongst you, so vote as often as you like. Tell your friends. Tell your friends friends. Tell your dog -- but only if he can work a computer keyboard.

Deadline for voting is August 1, 2006.Click here to register your vote now!

Did you miss out on this year's contest? Bummer, but no worries. If you haven't already done so, outdoor retail staff can get ready for next year by activating a subscription now at www.snewsnet.com/freeretail/snewsarticle-contest.html. Then, watch your SNEWS® for announcements calling for our next contest entries and get ready to be a winner.

Related

WriteContest-Sponsors-Color.gif

What do you mean you don't carry REI?

I was entertaining myself one day by cleaning up after customers who enjoy remerchandising product in less than conventional ways when a woman approached me and asked if I worked here. I replied in the affirmative. She wanted to know where the REI "jogging suits" she had seen ...read more

WriteContest-Sponsors-Color.gif

Daily Grind

Any one who has had the privilege to work retail, understands the friendliness, patience and positive reinforcement needed to help customers choose the right product and to have the right experience to come back to the store for more. What happens when, all too often, the ...read more

WriteContest-Sponsors-Color.gif

Where Are the Parents?

“Rule #1 for retail customers: No amount of apologizing you can do in defense of your children’s behavior can compensate for the effort you should have put towards actually watching them in the first place,” a knowledgeable employee explained on one of my first days of work.It ...read more

WriteContest-Sponsors-Color.gif

Clashing Cultures

I've been working in the outdoor retail industry for years, but this was my first year working in the states. I had never come across such an amusing day like this before. To start with my accent (I'm from New Zealand) doesn't help the situation when talking to customers who ...read more

WriteContest-Sponsors-Color.gif

Ready for Action

As we all know, there are many types of people in the world. And eventually, all of those people will wander into your shop for one reason or another. Because you never know what each person will ask when you wander up to them for a congenial chat, you have to be ready for ...read more

WriteContest-Sponsors-Color.gif

Imaginary African Safari...

Sometimes it helps to play crazy. At least, sometimes there are good things that come from acting just like your customer. A perfect example of this would be this spry old lady who comes to our store to buy gear for a safari that she's been perpetually "leaving to go on in a ...read more

WriteContest-Sponsors-Color.gif

A Positive Spirit for Sales (Top 10 Finalist)

At the end of a long day, when I haven’t had time to break for lunch much less the bathroom, when I had to patiently explain to first–time kayakers that I couldn’t both hold the boat and help them back onto the dock, when a Yakima Q-tower stretch kit fit goes horribly wrong, it ...read more