Monday, June 23, 2008

Shop Assistants from Palembang

The thing I dislike most about shopping in Palembang is the 'helpful' shop assistants. These are the ever present, in your face or right up against your backside shop assistants that tail you around the store until they finally drive you away with their breath down the back of your shirt. They're chatty too:

"These are blouses."
"Here's a white pair of shoes."
"We also have the long T-shirts."

Whatever! Leave me alone if you want me to buy something! I can see for myself. I know they think they are being helpful but it is just so annoying. Especially when you finally have to ask them for something important, like if they have it in a different color, they usually only answer in the negative.

Today, I went to the pharmacy to get a simple bottle of Vitamin B complex. They have a sales assistant for each brand they carry (as if one wasn't enough!). Each time I ask if they have a different brand of the B available, a new person showed up. Eventually, I had 4 different people around me, flashing their brochures and telling me that their product had more of such-and-such blah blah blah. I told them I could read it for myself so, they all crowded behind me. Why? I don't know. To give me moral support as I made my decision?! Now I can just imagine the next part in a scene from some cheap movie. I tell them that I can read it alone. So, they all look at me, and then take one step back, just one, but continue staring in anticipation. Its as if they will win some prize if I picked theirs. In the end, I said I had to go across to a competing pharmacy to see what they carried.

It was the same scenario over there. And, since they had almost exactly the same products, I didn't need to do any more comparison and just picked the cheapest one. In a flash, all the 'losers' suddenly had sullen and slightly resentful looks on their faces. At least the 'winner' still had the smile, a genuine one too.

I may sound ungrateful but it is really really annoying....


Bilbo said...

We have similar problems here in the States in some places, particularly car dealerships. Some years back Agnes needed a new car, and we went to a local dealership to see what was available...we weren't ready to buy, just wanted to look. But this salesman followed us around like a trained dog, chattering constantly..."What'll it take to put you in this car today?" "Let me tell you all about this baby!" "If you like this one, take a look at this one over here!" etc, etc. After about 15 minutes of this, Agnes was so angry that the salesman could have offered to give us the car, throw in free gas for five years, pay the insurance, hire a chauffeur, and arrange lifetime free parking, and she'd have still told him to go jump in the lake.

John said...

When I was a kid, there was a hardware store in town that had clerks that would shadow you throughout the store. It was a game to try to lose them...if only for a moment.

Whether they are there to discourage shoplifters or to render assistance, remember that they are just doing their job. If their boss saw a customer without a "shadow" they might lose their job. Just try to ignore them.

Kellan said...

This would make me crazy too - I don't need that much help - HA!

Have a good day, Amanada - see you - Kellan

Mike said...

I think I would start carrying mace. I hate people following me around in a store. And if every brand has a sales rep, how can you even move inside the store? There much be people everywhere! I would have a hard time following Johns 'ignore them' advice.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I don't like pushy assistants either. They drive me out of the shop.

Nap Warden said...

That would have sent me running out of the store...I can't take hovering:P

GJ said...

See incentive schemes (in this case commissions on sales) drives behaviour, sometimes they drive bad behaviour as in this case.
Sorry Amanda, it's impossible to escape.

MamaGeek said...

Oh man that would have had me running - you are right that is ANNOYING!