Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Different Kinds of Shoppers at American Eagle

After working at American Eagle for a while, I've come to recognize various types of shoppers. There are many. Most of them suck, but every once in a while someone really fun to serve comes along. Obvs not all people fit into these categories. Most of them do because, newsflash, we're all the same. If you work in retail, or in a walk-in store, you probably know these people.

+The Silent Shopper
This customer doesn't speak English, French, or any known language. When you ask them a question they stare blankly at you. You assume they don't want your help.

+I Don't Need Your Help
These are the people who think they know the store better than you. They don't look at you when you ask if they need help with anything, they just keep walking and say to the air "no, thanks". These people will never make eye-contact with you. They think of you as a silly child and wonder why you're bothering them with questions like "what size are you looking for?" when they're destroying all your hard work looking for a shirt at the bottom of the pile.

+The Teenyboppers
The teenybopper is never alone. Usually they come in groups of 3 to an entire classroom of children. They never buy anything, they just mess up the shirts you just spent an hour folding. They try on 8+ items and then leave them all in the fitting room. Then they stand around and talk and be loud and touch things and leave their candy everywhere.

+"I'm In a Rush"
This customer makes a beeline for the nearest employee. They demand your immediate attention. They are looking for something specific, usually for somebody else because they got the size wrong last time. They want you to find one item in the entire store and they want you to find it now. They're very busy and will tell you so. They also assume that you are not busy even though you're helping someone else. Sometimes this customer will come in 10 minutes before close.

+I'm Looking for Something That Doesn't Exist
There are 2 different types of this kind of customer:
1) They describe something with such precision and claim that it was on the website and yet it is nowhere to be found. Or they want you to search the entire backstore for it.
2) They saw something in American Eagle in a different store than the one you're working at in 2005 and are wondering if you still have it.

+I Want to Try on Everything in the Store
Though this customer is usually friendly and open to suggestions, the downside is that they will literally try on everything you suggest. This is the customer who will spend $500+. They will also take forever and will want new sizes in everything. They want your opinion about two jeans that look exactly the same. Usually it is a family or at least more than one person. Sometimes they will come when you're about to close and stay half an hour after you've already shut the doors.

+The Dudes
Dudes are pretty easy shoppers. They listen to you while you try to describe a pair of jeans they might like even though you're a girl and don't know anything about boy jeans. They try on 1-3 pairs, find one that fits, and buy it. Usually spends about 10-20 minutes in store.

+The Couple
They want to kiss next to the shelf you need to get something down from. They hold hands. One will say "I don't like that colour" and the other won't buy it because they don't have a mind of their own. Either they will keep coming back to the fitting room to try on different things and think it's a really fun date to go shopping together or they will just walk around being annoying and in love without buying anything.

+The Grandmother
Two types of grandmothers:
1) Shopping for her grandchildren. Has no idea what to buy. Will buy pretty much whatever you say is "cool".
2) Shopping for herself. Likes cardigans. Will buy pretty much whatever fits/is comfortable.

+The Space Shopper
This customer is lost in space. They walk in quickly, never stop at a table but look around at everything. Like the "I don't need your help" customer, they don't like eye-contact or help. They never touch anything in the store, do one quick walk around, and leave after 30 seconds. This customer only serves to lower your conversion rate.

+The Angry Mother
Is sometimes combined with "I don't need your help", "I'm in a rush", and "looking for something that doesn't exist". This customer is shopping for her children. She isn't sure what size they are because they are growing. She asks you lots of questions about the promotions and sales. She will interrupt you and try to outsmart you. She wants that 30% discount. She thinks you are stupid and uses "that tone of voice" with you. You know, the reprimanding one. She is impatient at the cash register. She'll also check over her receipt in case you made any mistakes, and when you don't she will glare shiftily at you as if you tried to deceive her in any way. Her look is one of "just because I didn't catch you, doesn't mean you didn't do it".

+The Family
This is a crossover between "I want to try on everything in the store", "I don't need your help", "the grandmother", and sometimes even "the ideal shopper" featured below. They need a lot of different sizes. They crowd the fitting room. They always want your attention. The plus side is that they are willing to spend hundreds of dollars. Can spend over an hour in the store.

+The Ideal Shopper
The ideal shopper can potentially make you love your job. They come in, have an idea of what you want but will let you suggest other things that might interest them, they are polite and smile a lot, they try things on with the intention of buying them, thank you profoundly for your help, feel really good about themselves, and walk away with a new pair of jeans. They are patient when you are looking for a size and they recognize that you may have to help other people at the same time. The ideal shopper is 18+ years of age, and actually wants your help.


Ashley Skye said...

Oh man, it's like you summed up my 2 years of working at the Gap in one post.
I loathe the Angry Mother. She is Satan, and especially in combination with Young Children Who You Want to Punt.
Now, if the Angry Mother is combined with the Upper-Westmount attitude, you will need the entire staff to take her down. She may or may not charge with racist/sexist/politically incorrect comments, and glares at the staff members who do not resemble future CEOs. She's also under the impression that you had to take a job at minimum wage because you've dropped out of school & are currently running from the government.

petite.sorbitol said...

this was highly entertaining and I'll never forget it.
I am now following this blog.

saint modesto said...

ashley: i'm so glad i don't get the upper westmount attitude. i work in the west island so it's probs more like "why don't you speak french" though the angry mother usually seems to be anglo for some reason.

petite.sorbitol: you are ever so kind!

k.c. danger said...

but where's the shoplifter?

other than that, obvs i knew i could trust you to turn everyday retail into a peoplewatching blog post. i mean that in a good way.

saint modesto said...

the shoplifter is too sneaky. i don't think i've ever been around when someone has shoplifted.

Anonymous said...

Ahahaha! So true!
Same in Switzerland! :)

saint modesto said...

oh, i love switzerland so much.