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 I don't like being watched constantly...
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Jehaine
New Pal

39 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2005 :  3:08:59 PM  Show Profile Send Jehaine a Private Message
I don't mind the occasional, "is there anything I can do to help you?" comments, but I once went into a local yarn shop that was smallish, but I like going to boutiques I've never visited. The store owner was in the process of knitting as I entered. I understand if she was watching a first-time customer to make sure no shoplifting was going on or any such undesirable behavior, but after browsing for about 15 minutes, I was beginning to feel somewhat self-conscious about the pair of eyes that was constantly follwing my every move. As I picked up each item for further examination, she would comment about potental projects or what other "yarns" I could buy. I understand perhaps she was trying to be friendly (and plug her products), but I like to quietly shop undisturbed. I responded poitely, but sometimes she would also talk about events happening in the street, what a lady was wearing outside, etc! Maybe she was just trying to be social, but when I'm thinking about my purchases, I don't like interruptions. Bleah. Maybe I sound too selfish and anti-social. Thanks for letting me rant though. :)

eclair
Chatty Knitter

New Zealand
320 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2005 :  3:31:52 PM  Show Profile  Visit eclair's Homepage Send eclair a Private Message
Perhaps she was desperate for company? Maybe she hadn't had anyone to chat to for hours? Whenever I go into the local thrift shop I have to check who is behind the counter if I'm short of time. There is one lovely lady there who is VERY chatty and it's impossible to shake her off politely as she mostly wants to find out what sort of thing you are after - then she'll raid the stock room and even remember to keep and eye out for it. Lovely if you are wanting something special but a bit inconvenient if you are pushed for time or just want a quiet browse. If she can't help you with your shoppinng she'll talk about the weather, the road-works, anything.

I wouldn't dream of being blunt and saying 'Please let me look quietly on my OWN' - she found four golf putters for me when we were looking for garden toys for the children and had a mini-golf course (two holes!) put in- we wanted four clubs so they would have one each but the shop only had three. She asked around until she found someone with one stashed unwanted in their shed just to make up the set.

You know, thinking about that, maybe I'll pop in next time I have a quiet day. For a chat as much as a browse, I know she lives alone.

Eclair
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Jehaine
New Pal

39 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2005 :  3:37:27 PM  Show Profile Send Jehaine a Private Message
Hmm, true. When I think back, I was browsing the shop on my lunch break. The press of time may have increased my stress level. :)
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The Irish Ewe
Permanent Resident

USA
1052 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2005 :  10:52:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit The Irish Ewe's Homepage Send The Irish Ewe a Private Message
It's such a fine line too - Do I ask if someone needs helps, or do I smile and say "hello"? Do one and it's hovering, do the other and it's being snotty... I've finally given up, and have realized that a smile and quick "hello" with maybe a "just call if you need any help" works wonders. 99% of customers in the shop like to browse first, then will wander over to talk or ask questions. Those few moments of letting it all sink in seems to make a huge differance!

The Irish Ewe
Norway, Maine
http://www.TheIrishEwe.com
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KL
Permanent Resident

6041 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2005 :  11:07:12 AM  Show Profile Send KL a Private Message
We do as Irish Ewe- Just a "Hello" to acknowledge and "If you have any quetions, we'll be happy to help you." And we pretty much leave them alone. On the other hand, speaking for our store; we have been ripped off horribly on samples- who knows what at this point on yarn and supplies.
Much as I hate to say it, it has been done by a customer. There was only one case where we knew it was done by professionals and they haven't been in again. We find it hard to believe that in our wonderful sisterhood of knitters, there are thieves-but they are obviously there.
Please forgive those who tend to give a watchful eye to someone new- you don't necessarily know what has happened to them in the past. KL
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LittleMousling
Permanent Resident

USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2005 :  11:38:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit LittleMousling's Homepage Send LittleMousling a Private Message
I used to get followed (I'm a younger knitter; I understand why they worry and it doesn't bother me much) until I started coming in with knitting in my hands. I'm not sure what about that made the difference (can't easily grab things while knitting? Obvious real customer?) but there's a huge attitude shift when I come in knitting.

One store I frequent has a big sign in the secondary room warning, essentially, that they can see you. I doubt it (this place doesn't have a cash register; security cameras are unlikely!), but the sign alone seems like it would do a good job.

-Molly, obsessive but not exclusive socknitter
Stash photos and some FOs
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roofth
Seriously Hooked

USA
649 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2005 :  5:57:42 PM  Show Profile  Visit roofth's Homepage  Send roofth a Yahoo! Message Send roofth a Private Message
yea, i really don't like it when i'm followed around too, and i can't browse freely. that's why i get nervous when i realize i'm the only one in the shop (besides the owner or whoever is behind the cash register, etc). and after frequent trips to asia, i realized that it's a regular thing in some countries, where employees get paid commission. browsing around in a mall would bug the heck out of me and whenever i would show interested in one little thing (or even reach out to touch something), and employee would come up to me and try to give me a sales pitch on the item i was examining. i'm still bugged by it, but when i'm in some parts of asia, i have to learn to shrug it off one of these days. =P

========================
http://ruthknits.blogspot.com
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Sang
Chatty Knitter

196 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2005 :  07:27:18 AM  Show Profile  Visit Sang's Homepage  Send Sang a Yahoo! Message Send Sang a Private Message
Y'all try this:

"Oh, I just want to look at all your beautiful stuff and daydream about it...PLEASE don't let me disturb you...go back to your knitting! I'll come get you if I have a question."

It might work...it makes it seem like you're doing her the favor.

Sang.
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The Irish Ewe
Permanent Resident

USA
1052 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2005 :  07:37:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit The Irish Ewe's Homepage Send The Irish Ewe a Private Message
KL, I hear you there! We're finding - of all things - empty pattern sleeves. As in, someone opens the 3-ring binder book, finds a pattern, and steals it right out of the page protector! Sad...

The Irish Ewe
Norway, Maine
http://www.TheIrishEwe.com
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KL
Permanent Resident

6041 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2005 :  07:53:36 AM  Show Profile Send KL a Private Message
In defense of the younger knitters-We believe that the theives of a a Prism purse are a couple of older ladies that have been in about 4 times admiring and asking questions about the bag. They look like Mother and Daughter. Who knows, perhaps one of them grabbed it as a gift for the other- I can't imagine the two of them plotting it together! We have "lost" shawls/stoles,scarves,hats,kits,sweaters, and God knows what else!
Now, we keep a watchful eye on everyone that we don't know in the beginning; but, we don't hover over them either. KL
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minh
Permanent Resident and Destasher Extraordinnaire

USA
3458 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2005 :  08:55:37 AM  Show Profile  Visit minh's Homepage Send minh a Private Message
There's this shop in Boston that is very uncomfortable. They have a knitting room in the basement and if you want to go there, they have to open the door with a key and then a salesperson comes down with you. It's not so much that a person comes with you, but I really don't feel comfortable asking them to take me down to browse -- what if I end up not buying anything?

The Wild and Wooly in Lexington also has a basement room but it's wide open. They let me browse alone and just asked me if I had any questions.


KL - how are your samples displayed? In some of the stores I have gone to, the samples are put pretty high, on top of the cubbies or on coat hangers hanging from the ceiling.

--Minh
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Destiny
Warming Up

69 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2005 :  09:03:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit Destiny's Homepage  Send Destiny a Yahoo! Message Send Destiny a Private Message
When i worked in retail we where always told that the person that comes in to steal is usally not the younger person with a trench coat or baggy clothes. People who go out to steal want not to be noticed.
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KL
Permanent Resident

6041 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2005 :  09:57:19 AM  Show Profile Send KL a Private Message
Minh- Our samples are way too accessable as people want to see stitch/construction. We have now strung up a pole near the back office with most of the sweaters/shawls on it and keep just a few hanging around. also on knitting tables, but, then there is always someone from the store teaching so they are pretty safe. It really galls me that we have to do this! KL
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klfrazier
Permanent Resident

1745 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2005 :  11:37:09 AM  Show Profile  Visit klfrazier's Homepage Send klfrazier a Private Message
Back when I worked for the mouse, it was part of our training to send new cast members out to the mall to see how they were treated in other stores. 90% of the time they were either followed closely or they were ignored.

I eventually became the person who taught customer service there, and provided the same service at subsequent retail jobs. One of the most difficult things to teach is how to be attentive without being a nuisance. This is compounded by the fact that the best way to deter potential thieves is to become their very best friend until they leave - and it's very hard sometimes to figure out who's up to no good and who just wants to browse in peace.

I would also like to add that most small retail stores do not have the benefit of professional customer service training. Oftentimes they are learning as they go, and they may or may not have past retail experiences. Add in any issues they may be having (recent thefts, poor sales, extremely busy day, lots of paperwork to attend to, maybe just doens't know how to deal with people) and you could be left with a less than satisfying experience.

Polite, firm feedback is always the best response. Also, never forget that you can choose not to spend your money or visit a store if you aren't happy with their service. There's no reason to support someplace that doesn't leave you feeling satisfied and comfortable.

Kristin
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Lissa
Permanent Resident

USA
4942 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2005 :  12:49:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit Lissa's Homepage Send Lissa a Private Message
Shop owners can't win - some people get miffed if they AREN'T hovered over, some find even the greeting intrusive. Your best strategy is to be up-front: "Thanks - I'm a low-maintenance shopper - may I let you know if I need help?"

Lissa

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a
revolutionary act. -- George Orwell


Oh, and I now have a blog:http://knittnlissa.typepad.com/knittnlissa/
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azblueskies
Permanent Resident

2378 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2005 :  1:02:24 PM  Show Profile Send azblueskies a Private Message
The most annoying experience I've had wasn't in a LYS - as a matter of fact, the staff at the one I visit most often is very helpful but never pushy. This was in JoAnne's. It was a new store and the one woman in the yarn department asked me if she could help me find something. I said no, thank you, I just want to look. That was fine - the annoying thing was she asked me the same question EVERY time she saw me until I left, which was about 6 times. It seemed like I ran into her at the end of each aisle and I was up and down the aisles several times. Evidently when she looked at me, she didn't SEE me. I left without buying anything.
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mokey
Permanent Resident

15375 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2005 :  1:13:48 PM  Show Profile Send mokey a Private Message
azblueskies, I'm impressed - personal service in a chain shop? You lucked out!

"An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Martin Luther King Jr.
www.femiknits.blog-city.com
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knittingdiva
Gabber Extraordinaire

394 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2005 :  2:31:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit knittingdiva's Homepage Send knittingdiva a Private Message
I really like the ideas here of being direct - and that you'll ask for help. I worked at an Old Navy eons ago, and we had to watch a training video for what to look for to see if someone was a likely shoplifter. Guess what? I totally shopped like a shop lifter (and so did most of my family)! Now, instead of changing how I like to shop, I address it right up front.
:)

sometimesatypical.blogspot.com
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KL
Permanent Resident

6041 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2005 :  08:10:33 AM  Show Profile Send KL a Private Message
Knittingdiva- Please profile a shoplifters shopping habits so we know what to look for and not just be suspicious. KL
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Vicki129
Chatty Knitter

USA
106 Posts

Posted - 11/10/2005 :  9:33:04 PM  Show Profile Send Vicki129 a Private Message
When I'm scheduled to work in our yarn department, I've found that the "Hello, if's there's anything you need help with, I'm here" approach works best with most people. If I sense a person wants to be followed around (and there are some who do) I devote more attention to them, but most people seem much happier to be left to themselves, knowing there's someone to answer questions if they need. As to theft, we tie everything down, literally. After having multiple things stolen, everything is attached to something immobile with large safety pins or those plastic tie things. Everything is still accessible and touchable to the customers but they can't walk off with them.

- Vicki, knitting and typing from sunny SoCal
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CrazyforEwe
Chatty Knitter

USA
159 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2005 :  8:04:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit CrazyforEwe's Homepage Send CrazyforEwe a Private Message
It's so hard to decide. Most people are painfully honest, and I've never had a bad check, and have not had anything stolen from me. So, I try to err on the side of total trust. However, I had a bad experience with that naive attitute. In the last 6 weeks or so, a member of KR forums put out a request for two balls of yarn in a particular dye lot in order to finish the neckline of her sweater. I checked my stock, and lo and behold, I had that yarn in that dye lot. How often does that happen??? So, I called her and mailed it to her with a self addressed, stamped envelope for payment by check. I know, I should have gotten a credit card payment, but since it was through KR, I thought it would be all right. I've done it many times with my customers before, and I always receive a check within a week. Call me naive, call me stupid, whatever, but I'm so disappointed. When I try to e-mail her, my messages are blocked, and doesn't return my phone calls. It's just such a letdown when you discover that people are not always honest.

Ellen

A bad day at the yarn shop is better than a great day at the office!
www.crazyforewe.com
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