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When Should You Complain & When Should You Let It Go

With a relatively nice day and the time change yesterday, I slept in a little late, met some friends and went to Saratoga to walk around and grab lunch.  In case you have never been to downtown Saratoga, there are numerous boutiques and shops to either window shop or browse, including women’s clothing stores.  Now, I have been in numerous women’s clothing stores, especially being a woman myself as well as a shopping addict.  I have also worked retail, including at a well known, expensive women’s clothing store here in the Capital Region.  What I have learned from working retail and from also being at the opposite end as the customer — no one likes to feel hounded, watched and certainly not belittled.  I’ve been taught to greet any customer that walks through the door, let them know you are an employee, smile, and be available in case they need some help.  In the event they look lost or overwhelmed, I’ve also been taught to offer further assistance so they don’t get fustrated and leave the store altogether.

Courtesy of Jemal Countess, Getty Images.

With that said, I expect the same courtesy.  I like to browse & take my time; I don’t necessarily like to always buy and therefore, don’t want merchandise pushed onto me.  I know what I like/dislike and will take the time to see everything, even if it’s not jumping out at me.

Yesterday, though, my friends and I went into a particular store after eating lunch and grabbing a coffee.  Ironically, my one friend said, “Are we going to be allowed into stores carrying a coffee?”  Not thinking much of it, I shrugged that idea off by saying, “It’s coffee, not an ice cream cone.”  Within five minutes we walked into a women’s clothing store and about halfway through the store, I was approached by a sales woman who never said ‘hello,’ but instead greeted me with the question of, “Would you like me to put your coffee on the counter?”  I looked at her calmly and replied, “No, that’s okay.  I don’t plan on really looking at anything.”  She said, “Well I can just put it on the counter anyways.”  And then I said, “Is it store policy?”  With more tone in her voice, the saleswoman then said, “I was just asking.”  I could sense the implication in the tone of her voice.  And going against my stubborn nature, I reluctantly handed over my HOT cup of coffee.

Can we say AGGRAVATED!  What am I a little kid?!?!  It’s a cup of coffee with a plastic lid to say the least.  It wasn’t like I was trying to take clothes off the racks and drape them over my arm that was also holding my coffee.  I was simply in the store 2-minutes and in that time, I only walked halfway down the center aisle.  Furthermore, she wasn’t hospitable after that conversation probably because she could sense my irritation.  Luckily when it was time to leave my friend went over Courtesy of Dario Cantatore, Getty Images.and grabbed both of our coffees and we left.  Otherwise I might have not have been able to hold back from saying some thing.

After the coffee instance, I was curious to see upon walking into numerous stores after that to see if this was a common trait amongst Saratoga shops.  Guess what?  It wasn’t!  We went into four more stores and no one insulted me like that saleswoman had. 

At the retail store I’ve worked at, we offer customers water or coffee while they are shopping.  I’ve even had customers come in with children who are literally running around with an opened, slimy tootsie roll pop and  never dreamed of taking it away in fear of insulting the child’s mother. 

So the question is, since I’m obviously still fuming over yesterday’s occurance, do I call and complain to the manager or let it go?  Trust me, I understand this was a nice boutique and they don’t want coffee spilled on their merchandise, but in any business, there are always those types of risks. 

What would you do? 

Courtesy of Justin Sullivan, Getty Images.

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