So after a bit of an absence . . . I’m back!! I’m going to do my darndest to blog every other day . . . starting today! I’ll keep it short, not always so sweet, but definitely entertaining.
So today I’d like to discuss retail.
Do the head honchos of major retail companies really think that it makes customers feel better about themselves if salespeople refer to them as ‘client’? I was in Sephora the other day on my way to a gallery opening and let’s just say I wasn’t feeling fresh. Don’t judge me, it was a busy day, and it was humid out, you smell the picture, right? So I took a detour and stopped into Sephora to spritz myself with cologne. I won’t even tell you how disappointed I was with the men’s cologne selection – I finally picked Tom Ford’s Noir – mainly because he’s handsome and I was desperate. Wait, that doesn’t sound exactly right, does it? Hmmm, actually it kind of does. Okay, moving on.
So I’m in the store and I hear all these Sephorabots shouting, “May I help the next client?”, “Will the next client please step down?”, “Excuse me client, would you like a makeover?” We’re not clients, we’re not guests, we’re customers. What’s wrong with calling us that? Why must we sugarcoat everything? Why must we pander to the ego, can’t we just be direct? What’s wrong with, “May I help the next customer?” And please note that I used the word ‘next’ and not ‘following’, which is another pet peeve of mine. I just don’t like how it sounds. I know that it basically means the same thing, but would you say “Who’s following in line?” when you want to say “Who’s next in line?” No you would not. Now back to the issue of client vs. customer.
I know that the CEOs are trying to create a relationship between their salespeople and customers and make the latter feel as if they’re important and essential and they are, but labeling us ‘clients’ just rings false. It’s like when you walk into a store and a salesperson doesn’t look at you, but shouts “Hi! How are you?!” They don’t care, they’re not interested in my well-being, they’re just shouting out words because they’re being told to do so. It’s artificial and it’s phony, like when a customer service representative with a thick Indian accent says, “Hello my name is Jennifer.” No it isn’t! Your name is Shakti. Or Chandrakanta. Both lovely names, both a far cry from Jennifer. But Jennifer is American and therefore more appealing, reassuring, and familiar. And that, I guess, is the Corporate American way. Do whatever you can to appeal to the masses and reassure them that they’re giving their money to a familiar face. So should I really make a fuss out of this? Should I really care that this is a relationship built upon a lie?
Maybe it’s all just a waste of time and the only thing that I should worry about when it comes to the retail world is that I leave whatever store I enter as one happy client. I mean customer!