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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, December 19, 2018 1:00 am

Bypass obvious questions for better retail connections

Lisa Green | The Journal Gazette

I wouldn’t pull something from a shelf if I weren’t interested.

I don’t think that makes me unique, which has me wondering if some retail employees might be better trained on meaningful inquiries, not to mention how to best greet customers.

During a visit to Glenbrook Square to pick up some makeup from an anchor store, I stopped inside a smaller retail shop when a black handbag caught my eye. Within seconds, a store employee asked ‘You like the purse, hon?’

Um, yes. That’s why I pulled it down, I shared in responding to her.

Now when it comes to purses, I have to pull out the typical paper stuffing and sort of test whether it might provide the kind of space I’m looking for by putting my wallet and sometimes a couple other items like my cellphone inside.

It seemed like the purse might work, although buying one wasn’t a priority this particular day. So after pulling my items out and restuffing the purse, the same employee asked if I was thinking about getting the purse. She again ended her inquiry by adding ‘hon.’

I cringed. Just like the first time she said it. I told her I was still debating, and added a ‘hon.’

I am guessing I might have been old enough to be her mother, so hearing her call me ‘hon’ hardly felt appropriate. Seems too intimate for someone you don’t know.

Sure, every customer is different. But a better approach might be a simple hello, good morning or good afternoon. Maybe then point out any special discounts or sales. And the employee could also introduce themselves by name and invite the person browsing to let them know if they have any questions.

But certainly if you’re trying to start a conversation, don’t do it by asking the obvious.

Of course I liked the purse.