Monday, November 23, 2009


If one goes to a shop to purchase something, in general you would expect the following to happen:

Customer finishes browsing the store, after being acknowledged but not harrassed by staff, chooses item and proceeds to payment counter.
Sales Assistant: "Hello, how are you?"
Customer: "Good thankyou, how are you?"
SA: "Pretty good thanks! Gosh that's a cute/lovely/bargain dress/bag/shoes/accessory,"
C: "Yes, I'm pretty happy with it!"
SA: "Certain amount of $$ please"
C: "Here you go...thankyou"
SA: "Thankyou, goodbye!"

That's pretty bland and open to all sorts of interpretation, but the general gist is a basic, simple, and effective transaction. SA gets on with their day, C leave shappy and will probably return in the near future.

What you don't expect to happen is one of the following (note: these all happened in Myer within days of each other, to me or the person I was shopping with. Myer HR peeps please take further note).

Customers drawn into busy department store by large pink sign which reads "30% off all bags". Sign notes high end designer bags are not included, but does not note that the bags were perhaps the staff in this department.
C: "Oooh brilliant, here's this insanely practical and versatile tote I was planning to purchase anyway. Might as well grab it today!" trots off happily towards register, before being halted in tracks by the ridiculously long queue (bags and shoes are in the same area, service dby a grand total of one register).
C: "errrm......" *lightbulb goes off above head* "I'll head down towards the register where the scarves and stuff are, save waiting in line behind 465 people asking to try on shoes."
Customer arrives at counter. Beyond-middle-aged woman behind counter stops sucking lemons and turns around haughtily. Emits no sound.
C: "Could I buy this please, the line at shoes is really long."
SA: "Not really, you need to pay for it in it's own department."
C: "Well ok....but there's nobody here at all! I don't really have time to wait behind that line of people waiting to pay shoes. There's only one register over there, after all."
SA: sniffs "$119.95"
C: "oh the bags are 30% off today."
SA: "no if you buy two you get 25% off BUT YOU ARE ONLY BUYING ONE"
C: taken aback "oh sorry, there's a one-day sale sign over there that says 30% off all bags"
SA: "I TOLD YOU, it's 25% off if you buy two."
C: "But the sign..."
SA: "LOOK I'll give you 15% off but nothing else"
C: "Well thankyou, but the offer is 30% off?"
C: "Can you see the pink sign there? It says 30% off? Maybe if you go a bit closer to read it?"
C: puts bag down on counter and backs away slowly, back towards the giant pink sign stating 30% off.

I thought it was only older people in big stores like this who are far too comfortable in their job to try, care or even begin to be bothered to offer some kind of service. But then:
C can't help but stop at rows and rows of lovely colours on display at high profile cosmetics counter. Considering most of her makeup bag is full of this particular brand, and previous experiences have been favourable, she decides to pick up some new eye colours.

Bored looking young SA with super shiny barbie pink lips. So shiny, C is tempted to pull sunglasses off head and back over eyes.
SA: "Can I help you?"
C: "Hi, yes I'm just after one of these eye colours" holds out hand with samples smeared all over
SA: deadly silent, points at one.
C: "err, ok, I think that's the one I liked best too"
SA: "Should I get it out for you?"
C: "yes please"
SA removes eyeshadow pot from locked drawer that C presumably had no access to and storms off to counter. C hasn't finishe dlooking so doesn't follow. SA returns.
SA: "Did you want something else?"
C's Companion: "I was after a blusher"
SA points to chair "Sit"
CC, not used to being talked to a la canine, stands stunned for a moment then sits
SA removes CC's makeup and applies powder followed by blusher. "You need lots of powder because of the redness in your cheeks"
CC looks in mirror. "Oh yes that looks nice, what was the other product you used?
SA as if she was speaking to a toddler "it was a powder" and turns away. CC rolls eyes, dismisses any idea of purchasing powder on top of blush. Both head to counter.
SA: "So you get 15% off yeah?"
C: "oh is there? thanks!"
CC: "is it 15% off everything?" (meaning, all the cosmetics your brand sells)
SA: "nooooo, just cosmetics"
CC: "yes, off all your products"
SA: stares like she has two heads "yeeeeesss. but I don't know about other labels. I've only been here, like, 2 days, this is, like, my second day." names discounted price.
C: "thanks. so what was the original price?"
C: "yes, thankyou, but what was the original price?"
SA: "you got the discount! why do you want to know?" throws bag on counter
C: "alright then, byyyyyyeeee"

2 days in, a heck of a lot to learn. Personality of a hairbrush, much?

Finally, the haven of the wrinkled and fuddy: homewares. That's not quite a fair assumption, but seriously every person who works in this department seems to have previously worked connecting phone plugs in an old time telephone exchange.

2 separate customers approach counter. Stout old matron doesn't look up. Nice customer gestures to the other, "you go first, I've got more things". Other customer thanks her graciously and puts towels down on counter.
SA: "I'm busy you'll have to go to another counter."
C: "Oh, right...notes there are no other customers aside from gracious lady I've only got these 2 towels?"
SA: "I'm busy!"
C: looks around and can't see any other staff "Is there anybody on the other counter?"
SA: "I don't know! Probably not, usually I'm the only one up here."
C: "Er, well if there's nobody else here..."
SA: "Look, go to the counter in giftware"
C: not keen to attempt a purchase again in different department "um, can I please just buy these?"
SA: huffs and puffs "look, fine, give them here " snatches towels, scans and roughly shoves in bag "there are never enogh staff. And I barely get a lunchbreak...*carries on in said vein for entire transaction. gracious lady turns and flees*...there." turns away again.
C: "Well thankyou very much".

It's understandable that people have bad days. But is it neccessary to be a total mole? Why not, oh I don't know, go out on a limb and try to not be standoffish? Maybe if you smile, despite your shit day, the rest of it might improve? Unfortunately Myer is one of those stores you keep going back to regardless. I'm sure they aren't the only ones with questionable service staff. Harvey Norman also springs to mind...but that's another story!


  1. Oh my, this was such a great read. Myer is terrible... last Christmas season, I swear the Grinch had multiplied into horrible, crude old women, working on (what should be) the most happiest floor of the store - Christmas Trim.

    I went to the counter to purchase some Christmas Chocolates, and there was a sign only at the counter (not on the chocolate display area) stating "25% Off Christmas Confectionery" - I said to the lady serving me: "oh hang on a tick, I would like to get one more because of the 25% offer."

    As I turned away, there was a lady behind me waiting to be served (she looked cool as a cucumber) but the sales assistant said to her: "They ALWAYS do that. Sorry that you have to wait, so rude."

    I grabbed my 2nd lot of chocolates and got back to the counter and said: "It might be a better idea to have the sign over on the Christmas Confectionery stand, so that customers like myself don't waste you and other customers time... as you so clearly stated."

    She snapped and rolled her eyes: "that comes to $..."

    I had enough of the immature manner so I said: "You know what? I work in retail too, I know what it is like at this time of year, but for crying out loud - you work on the Christmas Trim floor - talk about being a Grinch! Get over it and be grateful that you even have a job! Consider this my complaint to your supervisor."

    And I haven't seen that lady working at Myer since!

  2. hehe well good on you! Myer have little complaint forms you can fill in, and if you get the person's name they do actually confront them about it. Not that it seems to change much. Grinchly, indeed!

  3. Myer has the worst customer service of any store I know of. There are never enough staff either!!! Grr.