Sunday, 2 November 2008

Don't Ask Me, I Just Work Here!

For some time I have been increasingly underwhelmed by the shop assistants you find in many high street stores.

What is the point of asking them if they know as much about what they are selling as you do?

From what I recall, it all started out with a visit to a electronic store because my camera (that I had bought in a store of the same chain) was not working properly. The person behind the counter clearly had neither knowledge about cameras nor any intention to help me and recommended going to Jessops. That was a surprising recommendation since I had not bought the camera there and I would have thought their inclination to help would probably be even smaller.

A similar incident occurred when buying a phone which we wanted to make sure that it could be muted. Asking the shop assistant she started reading the pack (which I had done before) and then concluded that the pack didn't say anything. I thought: "Thank you for being my reading assistant, I do have trouble with this occasionally".

I ended up asking her whether we could return the phone if it did not have the feature and simply unpacked it once I had left the store to check. If the mute button hadn't been that apparent I would have returned it right away.

It simply makes you think why anyone should not buy their goods online since the added value of buying offline seems to be fairly limited.

Then again, there are pleasant exceptions: In a standard High Street shop of all places, an employee surprised us with being helpful, knowledgable and - what seems to be very rare - feeling quite passionately about what he was trying to sell.

And you certainly don't want this rare passion to disappear simply because we all end up buying everything from Amazon.