Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hawk Attack

I am a shopper. I love the art of the big find - that amazing vintage dress or that pair of shoes that makes the heart beat just a bit faster. I don't really shop online, because I really do enjoy perusing the brick and mortar houses of style, browsing the isles and holding the latest Tracey Reese up to my reflection in the inevitably skinnier-than-reality mirror. I had decided that my next GAP posts would chronicle my adventures through some of Philly's best boutiques. But before I do that, there's something I must get off my chest.

This evening after work I strolled westward down Walnut St., and popped in BCBG, lured by an open door and balloon-lined entry. As fate would have it, the store had a 15% off event going on. I learned this from the pleasant yet hawk-like sales associate that swooped in at me from outside of my peripheral vision. As if I did not understand English or her verbal description of the sale was not comprehensive, she then thrust an oversized postcard into my hand to really hammer home the message. A little much, but still manageable.

I then turn to begin my perusal, and Hawk #2 swoops in, a younger, perkier version of Hawk 1, delivering the exact same message. I smile and say a quick thanks, careful to turn my eye contact away so as to clearly communicate my lack of interest in continuing our conversation. I resume perusal. No more than 20 seconds pass, and I am attacked by Hawk #3 informing me of the sale. REALLY? During this time, I have moved...maybe five feet. Did Hawks 2 and 3 not hear Hawk 1 deliver said message? I thought that hawks had keen senses.

Thus describes the ebrasive and off-putting experience of chain store shopping. The constant attacks of sales people who know nothing about fashion and even less about connecting with a target audience. During this particular five minute stint, Hawk 2 swooped in for a second round, squawking about some sale dresses on the lower level. I have at this point lost my patience. Now, even if I had found any items of interest I would not make a purchase solely on principle. After this I may have shot Hawk 2 a sarcastic "uh huh" and a mildly dirty look. Just like that, the hunted becomes the hunter.

Don't get me wrong, a really good salesperson with a sense of style and the ability to read a customer can be a lifesaver. I find that many boutiques employ such people (except for the now-defunct former midtown village occupant Bshehu. Pushier salespeople have never existed.) But for the larger chains, a word of advice. Stop training your salespeople to resemble large birds of prey. Less is more. If I need help, I'll be sure to ask.

1 comment:

Bridget said...