Saturday, April 6, 2013

Clerking at large: The Real Deal

After repeatedly teasing the accounts of my clerk investigation about town I can finally set down the earth shattering account of my investigation of clerks at large in this city. To go ahead and spoil the overall experience for you I just want to say none of these people are paid anything more than barely adequately at best, and yet they seemed to range from the level of quite tolerable right on up to perfectly excellent. Feeling personally smugly superior as a master clerk went out the door pretty quick, and finding some things to rail against in customer service took some very dedicated searching, which was hard for me because I was also looking for clothes and espresso. I found a pair of pants, a pair of shorts, a long sleeved button down shirt, and an aversion to people saying goodbye to my back when I've already pretty much left their store.

Stop 1. Very busy independent art store.

I was immediately distracted by all the nifty little mini notebooks that I could buy to use for writing blog notes in, but, whoa, it was hard to avoid the fact that these clerks are total high water mark clerks. We know them from many visits and they are happy to see us and nicely jokey, but it's busy here and they do all the chatty friendly stuff informally yet without lingering too long on it. The clerks are social, efficient, knowledgeable, and project a show that goes out to the customer more than in to each other. They work in a very dense, European space, and their sense that they give or make of being slightly overstaffed feels like a luxury for me rather than for them.

Stop 2. Fairly quiet franchise hardware store.

My first encounter with the problem of how I didn't notice too much of what was going on because I was too busy writing notes about what was going on. Clerk left the desk to show us where what we were looking for was located.  This is always the right move when directions would take longer and be blurrier.

Stop 3. Mall store.

Greeted by tattooed lady. That's all I've got. I must have briefly glanced up for half a second from my notebook and registered: Tattooed Lady. I think it was a nice greeting but I'm not sure as I had to hurry and get it in my notebook.

Stop 4. Mall store.

Oh! This is the one one referenced in my opening paragraph! We were in the store for about a minute without any interaction (not that we wanted any) and as we were pretty much crossing out of the store we got a "Have a good day." tossed at our backs. Sort of "Stop! Wait! Goodbye."  I was excited about this one because it kind of bugged me, but have grown considerably less excited as it has become apparent that it does not actually make for a withering critique of retail Clerking and actually instead makes more for a minor critique of people going around with little notebooks.

Stop 5. Mall store (Eddie Bauer).

This was the first place we really got to stand in line and it was pretty exciting because it was for either/or clerks, meaning we got to watch two clerks and be helped by whoever finished first. Did you know that statistically speaking  that is a good situation because seven out of ten times the faster clerk will be the better clerk. It's sort of true, even if I did just make that up. I had a hard time at first settling on who I hoped would help us and ultimately settled on the perky guy. I was later able to see that this was the sound choice as he is who we got (see seven out of ten comment above), he did everything well, and he never shilled for the $15 with any purchase bags, which the other clerk always did. I am thinking the pitch for those bags was a corporate directive and he didn't shill because he felt he could get away with it, which was something he could do for himself and us at the same time. But maybe the other clerk was just overzealous. Either way I think we got the better of the two clerks.

Whew, this is getting long. I will continue with part 2 of this later so you can meditate on, spindle, or forget what we've discussed. But thanks for coming. Remember every comment wins you points! Oh, my lawyer is saying we don't have any points. Also I don't have a lawyer. Once again I am left with "Do as you will." Which is a bit thin, but it's all I've got. I really need to come up with some kind of point system!

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.