Friday, 20 June 2008

To Korean shop clerks selling to Western customers:

If you follow us around at a distance of closer than two and a half meters, and smile expectantly each time we glance over at you to determine, "Is she still following me?"

You actually decrease your chance of making a sale.

Just thought you'd like to know.

(p.s.: and if you watch my every move, it makes me feel like you suspect me of shoplifting. . . another detriment to your closing percentage.)


Anonymous said...

It really sucks when I need laundry detergent at a large supermarket. These hawkers nearly make it impossible to do price comparisons or make a choice on my own.

It's gotten so bad that I will take their bag, walk to my choice, exchange bags, and then "take what I want to buy" to the checkout line as they cuss me out to my back. Sparking isn't it.

John from Daejeon

MiMi said...

When I used to go in Korean owned stores, they'd follow me around (which is ONE of the reason why I don't go in those stores, anymore)

What I did was put them to work. I thought, 'you wanna follow me? FINE!' 'Can you get this for me?' 'Can you see if this is in stock?' 'Can you hold this for me?' 'Can you get a basket for me?' 'Which do you think is best? Why?' 'Can you take this to the register for me? Thanks!'
I'd make them do all my shopping. They caught on to what I was doing and left me alone, lol. I'd walk in and they'd look at me, smile and say 'hello!' and stay behind the register or stay in the stockroom. LOLOL!

As a matter of fact, whenever I go into any store and folks start that profiling business, I put them idiots to WORK. They soon leave me the heck alone. They'll start saying, 'do you need anything else?' With a weary look on their faces. Sometimes, I let them go. Other times, I really lay it on thick, so they'll 'learn'.

Oh, I can play their games...

Roboseyo said...

:) I like your response, Mimi. . . sometimes I freeze and look at them like a deer in the headlights, and try to evade them like an animal being stalked, until they figure out that I don't like being followed.

John: sometimes I do that, too. Or I take it, and then set it nicely on the nearest open space of a nearby shelf.

I think it's just a difference in approach -- some of my students like the "hand and foot" treatment, and are indeed swayed by the hard sell, while we NorAms at least, are more accustomed to wandering around the Sears' hollering, "Hello? Anybody got a key to the fitting room?" and pushing back with passive-aggression or resistance if somebody lobs a "hard sell" at us.

lunalil said...

It would be nice if I could look at clothes in Korean stores without being told that "SIZE NO". I'm not that huge, and I actually do fit into Korean clothes. Not the teeny ones though. I'm no toothpick.

It would also be nice if I could try things on. That would greatly GREATLY increase my chance of buying something.

Korea Beat said...

This only happened to me when I was looking at menswear. With neckties, it would be 110% of the time. Sometimes two women would be following me at once. For shirts and jackets it wasn't quite that much but it was close. In any other kind of store, never.

AgentX said...

There's an easy way around that...
If its a woman, make a pass at them in fast-speak English or straight-up Ebonics. Even if they're in their 50s.They go total deer-in-headlights on you.

If it's a guy, just tell him what you're looking for, in vague terms. After a little negotiation, they'll figure it out soon enough and find at least something.

The same trick works wonders in Western countries as well.

Brian said...

The only time I ever recall it being oppressive was at ABC-Mart or one of those shoe stores. Really awkward, made worse since the shoes there are ridiculously expensive, so I'd walk around flipping each one over to find the price, and quickly flip them back.

Actually it almost never happens to me at all anymore, and it sometimes makes me sad. I'd like the people to hawk their wares at me once in a while, but I guess they assume I don't understand or that I don't need whatever they're selling. One time a woman selling Welch's grape juice gave her sales pitch to me, and because she was friendly I bought some. Awww.

Roboseyo said...

I agree. ABC mart is one of the most obnoxious shopping experiences I've ever had -- the ones I've been in play this aggressive, loud techno music that doesn't just fade into the background, or relax me enough that I'm susceptible to buying, but it ACTIVELY puts my guard up through its noisy unpleasantness. Music is more important than people realize -- a coffee shop near my workplace is going to fail soon, in part because it plays crap music.

I've found clothing stores to be the worst for "followers" - I have a feeling it's simply a matter of assigning the one who speaks the best English to the westerner (often) -- and sometimes you get the hilarious "oh shit!" face (as in, "oh, shit! I don't speak any English!") followed by a "you deal with him" mini-shoving match. . . but EVERY consumer experience can't be THAT fun.