My recent rant about receipts and store guards shows that shopping is not an exercise that I enjoy. It is almost as if there is an anger inside me that shopping releases. Amongst the more memorable of my experiences has to be the abandoned holiday shop. This was the last shop before Christmas, one that I normally try to get done out-of-town. Having beaten the crowds to find all of the items I required I ran them through the self scanning till. There was one item that wouldn’t scan, I called the attendant to investigate. The resulting conclusion was that the item hadn’t been put onto stock so couldn’t be sold. Let me be clear, said item was fresh, undamaged and perfectly fit for sale this was simply an issue of paperwork. I believe that my reaction was appropriate and proportional, I abandoned the entire shop and left empty-handed. I guess I should point out that the item in question was the turkey, the most important item on the list.
I can now add another experience to my list of shopping horrors. I recently visited a gents clothing store, it wasnt a critical shop but I had ten minutes to kill. The store was running a deal where if you purchased a £14.99 shirt you got another one from the same range free along with any tie from the £4.95 range. Now these may not have been top end shirts but hey you can always use an extra shirt right? As I entered the store I browsed some suits out of curiosity. Almost immediately I had a sales assistant on hand asking me what help I needed, I politely said I was OK. This wasn’t enough, the shop assistant clearly decided that I was out of my depth looking at suits and shirts, he wasn’t going to let go.
The thing with sales assistants is that whilst they may want to say “there’s a shop down the road that may be more your style” commission stops them. I decided that I would take a shirt and the guy was on hand to ask if I had any idea what size I was, oh and to explain that it was neck size that they used on shirts. Having assured him of the size of the shirt that I required we started the debate. Did I want long or short sleeves, short collar or formal, pockets and did I want button or cufflink cuffs. He actually tailed off at cufflinks because it was clear to him that as a new entrant to the world of formal clothing that would be a step too far. By this time I was seething, I selected the right shirt and as we reached the till realised that I had inadvertently been up sold. The shirt on the counter was £32, but by now I was so annoyed that I was happy to purchase and get out of there.
Having scanned the shirt he asked if I would like another ‘because there is a deal’. Oh yes I will have that candy stripe in the same size please, hey if it’s buy one get one free they might as well both be £32. Duly scanned the till must have prompted him and he asked “do you have a tie?” apparently I could have one for free. Of course I could have dragged the young sales assistant across the counter and beaten him whilst explaining that appearances can be deceptive, I chose the tie. I selected a tie that I liked and it was scanned, I paid, collected my goods and fled the store. I was smiling as I left and the reason was printed on the receipt, two shirts at £32 each and a tie at £14 should total at £78. My total was £14.99, the sales assistant had manually edited all of the prices to honour a deal that was not on offer, doubtless whilst muttering at the ‘bloody till’.
If the sales assistant should ever happen across my blog then i would like to take the opportunity to set him straight on some things. Appearances can be very deceptive I am an excellent example of this. The long-haired, baseball cap wearing, tattooed man who you met may have been wearing jeans but he owns half a dozen suits and well over a dozen shirts. Where you wear a suit to work because the company provide it and that is what you sell I wear suits to high level meetings in industry. When you judge me by what you see it is you that loses and not me. Only the ill-informed and narrow-minded make snap judgements on what they are presented with, the rest of us are too used to being judged.
In fairness the shop assistant is not alone, despite the celebrity trends for tattoos I still don’t present a cuddly image. When I stand behind somebody at the ATM they tense and their body language changes yet I have never mugged anybody. When I walk in an alley the person in front will quicken their pace despite the fact that I have no interest in them. If I stand by a door in a bar people will ask if they can enter or if there is a cover charge. I guess that it is not all bad though, it makes it a little more special when the nice people take the time to know me. Oh and I couldn’t leave this post without recalling the travelling fair. When my children were younger we visited the local fair and I stood waiting for the children to finish on their current ride. By the time the ride had finished I answered three questions on age restrictions and took £6 in cash. Apparently my appearance does fit some environments.