Buying what they're selling

entering a shop in southern california, i know to expect most sales people will make a certain amount of friendly effort to engage me. many of them are highly trained, highly ambitious or highly caffeinated would-be stars-in-the-making, so they are able to deliver their "good morning" and similar dialog in such a way that one actually believes either they are true optimists who believe this morning is good, or (this one is really crazy) they actually want me to have a good one.

on this trip, i had spent sufficient time in other non-ny-y cities prior to landing in lax so that i could successfully switch gears and enter a more social mode myself. this enabled me to respond civilly (rather than suspiciously) to the big ultra-white toothy smiles and "have a great day!" imperatives that seem to come with so many retail transactions over here. so i thought i was in l.a. mode and couldn't be caught off guard by the cultural quirks of life in the sun, but something happened today that did surprise me - i actually believed a sales person's compliment. has the daily exposure to blue skies and tight clothing corroded my eastern shell? or am i losing perspective? before you answer yes to those questions, let me say that her flattery followed her correct identification of the not-widely-known label of what i was wearing based on the fabric/pattern. this was truly a knowledgeable individual. and for what it's worth, she did not segue into a sales pitch.

how often do you accept, at face value, a compliment you receive from a sales person?

17 comments:

Alexandreena said...

Not very often. I'm cynical and jaded and cannot stop thinking they're just trying to sell me something.

Carlene said...

Sadly, I accept them all. I don't even care if they're trying to sell me something. I can't be swayed by flattery, but I'll accept it as truth, every time.

K.Line said...

It all depends on how good I look. I know when I deserve a compliment and when they're selling me a bill of goods. But I'm with Carlene - I'll still happily accept it :-)

materfamilias said...

My cynical inner voice always wryly points out that there is commission-as-motivation involved. However, if the salesperson's compliment is specific and/or observant enough, and if I'm especially pleased with the shoes she's noticing or the picked-up-in-Paris scarf he's taken with, I'm susceptible to enjoying the flattery even while believing myself wise to the ways of retail. If the salesperson can then manage to hold off on a sales pitch and instead wait for me to ask for help . . .

Anonymous said...

If am I browsing - and steadfast about not needing anything in particular - and the sales person compliments me it can be something to be enjoyed.
But, where I live shop assistants can seem quite aloof so a remark is hard to judge. And I guess it can work either way - maybe sometimes we feel we want to impress a little among all the beautiful pieces…

readysetfashion said...

every time.
girls in chicago do not dish out compliments easily. to receive one here, from a salesperson or not, is a memorable event. but the best compliments always follow with a conversation,and thats how i find great salespeople.

Iheartfashion said...

Never. I am far too cynical.
But that's not to discredit the compliment you received. She probably did like what you were wearing.

Sal said...

Like materfamilias, it all depends. When I get highly specific compliments - like the one you described, Editor - I can usually accept them. Most others, I discard as polite chit-chat or veiled salesmanship.

-h of candid cool said...

ouch. when i compliment people i mean it.

tinetush said...

pretty much always actually.. though it dosen't mean that I will buy the damn thing.. I'll just take it as a compliment and leave it at that, feeling a bit better about myself.. :p

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laia. said...

it really depends, i think maybe since i worked retail i have a good bullshit meter so i can always tell when someone is saying something just to get me to buy stuff or because they are really into it.

enc said...

NEVER! I am a cynic. It's in my DNA.

I'm happy to know that there are exceptions to the phony-salesgirl rule, though.

Are you having a good time on your break?

landis smithers said...

this sucks. we are living parallel lives, but on opposite sides of the world.

paris was filled with "helpful" salespeople. you know. faint disdain until you ask for the MOSt expensive item, try it on, wrinkle your nose, and tell them you preferred the one from last season, whereupon you have "passed" the test, and they pile things on you with comments like "you must try zis, it is new season".

so i'm in l'eclaireur and the insanely chic japanese boy says in french "are those lanvin, really" about my shoes, and when i say yes, from his first season, he literally squeals, calls over his manager, and says "i have heard of these but never seen them".

this is the french way of complimenting.

editor said...

^^why was i so satisfied by a. the recognition that it was a "dries dress" and b. the covetous follow-up question a few minutes later when she pursued me (after i had walked away to browse) to ask where i gotten it since she had only seen that pattern as a skirt.

landis smithers said...

because it's a literal "score".

fashion recognition is RARE.


fashion envy is PRICELESS.

as my mother always said
"it's all about envy, dear."

editor said...

would have been more of a score if she were japanese and i was IN france. ;)

Duchesse said...

Never, unless the salesperson is also a personal friend.

Recent (I swear) dialog in a hip boutique:
Salesperson: Oh, I like your bracelet! Can I see it? What is it?
Me: Vintage Georg Jensen
Salesperson: Is that, like, real jewelry?

American professional sales perkiness is abhorrent to me.