I had an encounter at the mall earlier this week. I needed to get a short, white jacket to wear with my summer dresses.  I entered a store, was looking around when this young lady came to assist me in selecting my purchase, asking whether she could help me. I explained to her what I was looking for and informed her that I had already looked around and did not think they had exactly what I wanted.  She said that she would check her stock at the back and, after a few minutes, came back with several ladies’ jackets. I looked at each one and kindly explained they were not what I asked for.

The young lady began explaining to me that the shorter jackets were out of style and these are the latest fashion. They were seen on the runways of New York and Paris.  I again told her that I wanted a specific jacket.  She said the benefit of having one of these jackets is that I could go from spring into summer and then right into fall. The colours she had were spring and summer colours.  I explained again, in case she had forgotten, that I wanted a short, white jacket. She then informed me that white, as a colour for spring and summer, was out and the popular colours were bright green and bright yellow, and if I got one of those jackets I would be the envy of my friends.  The price is great, she said,it is at 50% off today and if I had a friend who is a senior I could get an additional 15% off.

As a former sales person myself, I must commend the young woman; she new the benefits of her product, she did her best to sell them to me, she informed me that I would be right in the fashion of the times since this was seen on the runways of New York and Paris for the spring, and that I would be the envy of all my friends with my new runway jackets. Then, she went for the jugular by informing me of the price and the discounts.  Who in their right, impulsive mind could let that amazing sale pass?

The sales woman did not hear my needs, she wanted to sell these jackets and her job was to convince me that I needed the jackets even if I had come to the store for something entirely different.  My needs were completely forgotten. She had an agenda and it was to sell me those jackets. I love these encounters and when I get one of them I often try to put myself in the place of the impulsive shopper.  What would an impulsive shopper do?  Would she agree with the sale person and purchase the runway jackets?  What then would she wear with those summer dresses?  Would she now have to purchase something else to wear with these new jackets, I know she could not wear the jacket without a skirt or a dress?   So the impulsive shopper would leave that store with a bag full of unintended purchases, a maxed out credit card and a belly full of regret before even getting home.

I politely told the young lady that I was not interested in the jackets and left the store.

When you go shopping, you should always be sure of what you are looking for and how much you plan on spending. Remember that the sales person’s job is to get you to buy what they have in their store. You must be aware that they are not your friend, you just met them and they are doing their job… and some can do their job very well.  Often, when we get into those stores and the sales person is helping you, they already know what has to move from the store today.  There was a sales meeting prior to opening and the manager gave them their target for the day or for the week.

When you enter a store you are swimming in unchartered waters.  Be careful as you might drown in a sea of debt before you know it. The bright, spring sunshine can push us into spending more than we plan this season… especially after the cold and snow-bound winter we just experienced.

Take your time and plan your shopping wisely. Take a friend who will tell you the truth no matter what and do not depend entirely on what the sales person has to say.



APRIL 2ND 2013

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