Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a movie star? Always dealing with paparazzi, fans, and never being able to finish a sentence to a companion without being interrupted?
If you’d like that experience, may I suggest being obviously foreign and going shopping in Singapore? Sales people don’t just show up and offer to help you…they follow you. If you linger at an item (like oh, a printer) they begin to do a HARD SELL on that particular printer. They will keep talking after you say “no thanks.” If one sales person gives up on you, another will swoop in, hoping to get you to buy whatever the first person failed at getting you to buy.
Honestly, the beggars in India could take a lesson from Singaporean salespeople in persistence (and we were once followed down a street by a group of beggars, who also waited outside the store we went into to escape from them).
For all I know, working retail in Singapore could be a straight commission job, so the sales people have the ultimate motivation to get you to buy. But as a customer, it very quickly reaches the level of harassment. It turns me off. It makes me not want to buy something, especially given that many stores do not have a return policy…buyer’s remorse is not a fleeting thing here.
It’s not that the phenomenon doesn’t exist stateside. Victoria’s Secret, for one, has incredibly aggressive salespeople. Which is a reason I stopped shopping there. But for the most part, it has been my experience that if you make it clear to a salesperson that you aren’t interested in help that they go away. Here I’ve looked a salesperson in the face as he was blithering on about a printer AFTER we made it clear that we weren’t interested in help, and said “No one is listening to you,” only to have him keep giving us the hard sell.
Now, to be fair, it isn’t all stores. Just try to find someone to help you in Toys R Us, for example. Or Mustafa…you can walk around for DAYS in Mustafa (especially as it’s open 24/7/365) and not find a salesperson to help you. But Courts or Best Denke (the local equivalents of Best Buy), a clothing store, electronics stores? You walk in and from their perspective, IT’S ON.
I will also say it would be far less annoying if they actually knew what they were talking about. But when we bought out tv and, more recently as we’ve looked at a new printer, it becomes quickly clear to me that they are reciting product guides. Ravi will ask them a question about the blah-blah and they have no idea. But from R’s perspective (as someone who knows things about electronics) it’s an important and valid question. It’s something that people who review tv/printers/dvd players for a living talk about in their reviews and he wants to know how the blah-blah on this measures up. Or, by comparison, when I’ve tried to figure out sizing for my daughter…they only know that she’s 2, so she SHOULD wear size blah. It’s great that she SHOULD wear size blah…she’s small for her age, so is she 1 or 2 sizes smaller than you think she should be? How do the sizes compare to US sizes? If I know her height and weight, can you help me figure it out? Nope. Which is, among other reasons, why I don’t tend to buy many clothes for Elanor here; if you can’t help me figure out the right size, then why should I pay an inflated cost for your clothing?
Shopping was always a big thing for me in the US. But between the price increases and the aggressive salespeople, while I spend a lot of time in shopping “districts” and shopping malls…I spend very little of it in stores these days.