Retail Confidential, Week 2: Types of Shoppers

Christmas shopping is upon us! Exciting, I love a good shop–the windows, the shoes, the inevitable food court lunch–in general, I would say I’m a happy shopper. But as a retail worker this time of year, happiness and shopping do not co-exist.

To continue my anthropological study from my last post, I have put together a list of the “types” of shoppers one encounters during this Kwanzakkahmas season.

The Trickster: This is the shopper who knows more about the item he or she is buying than myself. At first, this customer will play it super cool. She’ll ask a leading question such as, “Oh, is that an automatic watch?” And I will say yes, because positivity gets you everywhere/I don’t really care, and BAM, that watch was quartz! I’ve lost the sale and am in for a twenty minute lecture on the subtlety of watch hand movements. (I’m sure some readers are thinking, maybe you wouldn’t get tricked if you knew more about the item you’re selling, to which I say, quiet, Mom.)

The Flirter: Ah yes, the flirter. He is almost exclusively over the age of 55, and makes as much bodily contact as possible. He will then compare you to a young Bette Midler, and will ask if you are married. He’s married. He definitely is, and he’ll open mouth kiss your hand on his way out.

The Very, Very Needy: This is a particular breed of shopper has literally no idea what anyone in their life might want as a gift. As a result, they are a high-impact customer. They will ask a kabillion questions. At first, these questions are simple: “Should I buy a gold watch or a leather strap?” But soon, we hit problems: “What if she can’t wear this watch with the necklace I got her for her birthday three years ago? What do women WANT?!” The answer to the first question is gold, it’s good for most complexions, and looks impressive. The answer to the latter question is see a therapist.

The Bulk Buyer: Typically male, this customer comes into the store the morning of a birthday/holiday/anniversary. Very generic and indiscriminate about their purchases. This is as great for commission as it is for the gift receiver. My uncle is a bulk buyer and if you know one of these I can tell you from experience that you’ll either receive the most useful gift ever (a Conair mirror with vanity lighting), or the most perplexing gift (a C.D box set of Frank Zappa covers).

The Time Waster: These are customers who come into the store because they’re waiting for their friend and it’s chilly outside. And boy, do they want you to know that they are meeting a friend but it’s too cold outside to wait on the corner. They want you to know it so badly, they’ll repeat it like a mantra. That being said, it’s these suckers who will buy the most stuff, because their time wasting guilt gets the better of them. These guys are not the worst, as they often bring useful information from the outside world. Just yesterday a time waster informed me that Beyonce is going vegan. The more you know.

So eat, shop and be merry this holiday season! But seriously you guys, let’s talk about Beyonce’s veganism! (She’s a vegan because it makes sense with the number four. She is just the most fabulous Illuminati I know!)

Read more about my retail trials, tribulation and joys next week. In the meantime, be nice to retail workers and happy shopping season, friends!

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