Customer: I want to see your giftset displays.
Me: Okay. Right over here in this wall we have several of our most popular gifts-
Customer: No, I want to see the DISPLAYS.
Me (not understanding): Hm?
Customer: You know, what's inside the gift. At the store I was in, in Canada, they had open gift sets so you could see what's inside.
Me: I see. Unfortunately we don't have any like that-
Customer: Why not?
Customer: It's very useful.
Customer: The WHISTLER store does it.
Me: We do list all the products on the back of the tag, with illustrations-
Customer: I. WANT. TO. SEE. INSIDE.
Customer: Can't you open them?
Me: No, I cannot.
Customer: Why not?
Customer: The WHISTLER store does it.
Me: Well, that's the store manager's decision and she is not in today.
Customer: But I want to see what's inside.
Me: Well, I can show you the products that are inside.
Customer's Friend: Well, that would be almost as good.
Me: So, which giftset are you interested in?
Customer: All of them.
Me: ...all of them?
Customer: ALL OF THEM.
Customer's Friend: Maybe if you give her some price ranges-
Customer: No, I want to see all of them.
Keep in mind it's the night before Valentine's and the store is bustling. There were at least six people in the store besides this customer. And we have thirty-something giftsets. She has got to be kidding if she thinks we're going to show her the contents of thirty-something different boxes.
Me: Well, do you see a particular giftset that I should start with?
Customer's Friend: Well, it's for a wedding-
Customer gives her a look so she says no more.
Me: Well, we do have this cute giftset called 'Love to Love You' and it contains these products (read off label.) Does that sound appealing?
Customer: I want to see the products.
Me: OK, it will take me a moment to get them. I'll be back in a minute.
I begin to hunt down objects. Customer complains to her friend about how ugly our displays are, and how useless. She doesn't like our store. Our store is terrible.
I bring the contents of the 'Love to Love You' giftset and show them to her. She is not impressed and wants to see the next giftset, again giving me no parameters with which to narrow the choices down so again I'm out on a limb trying to read her mind. I wander off to get the next set of products and she again complains about how poorly laid out our store's displays are, how awful the store is, etc. etc.
Another customer (again, the store is quite busy and there's only three associates, one of whom is at the till and one who is finishing her fifteen-minute break) asks me a question so I take a moment to answer. Gina comes back from her break and tries to help Problem Customer, who complains that I 'left' her. When I finish with the 'interrupting' customer and return, she's finally narrowed the parameters to 'a giftset with the jellies.'
Me: OK, one of the giftsets that contains a jelly is the 'Little Gem.' [insert contents of Little Gem, etc. I've gathered the products so I show them to her as I speak.] What do you think?
Customer: Are they packaged like that? (She's pointing to the Ring of Roses buttercream, which we sell in the store in a square plastic deli container.)
Me: No, it's packaged a bit differently, in a oval container like the one we use for Angels on Bare Skin. (I point to AOBS's display.)
Customer: And the soaps? Are they shaped like those? (Pointing to a random chunk I grabbed of Rock Star.)
Me: No, we hand-cut them in the store so each shape is different here. The soaps in the giftsets are molded at the factory.
Customer: I want to SEE it. Why can't you SHOW it to me?
Me: Unfortunately, they are custom-made for each giftset so we don't have the exact same products in store. But each giftset has a picture of the product on the tag
The customer once again goes off on how great Whistler's displays are.
Customer: It's such a great idea, why don't you display them like that?
Me: Well, it's never come up before. You're the first person to mention it.
Customer looks put out. (Maybe I shouldn't have said that, but it's true.)
Customer's Friend: This giftset is cute. (She's looking at 'Rock Chick.'
Me: Yes, that's a great one. It's got Rock Star soap, shaped like a star-
Customer: But I can't SEE what it looks like.
Me: Well, there's an illustration on the tag-
Customer: I WANT TO SEE IT.
Customer's Friend: Do you have any other giftsets with the jellies?
Me: I'm not sure, I'll have to check. I'll be back in a minute or two.
While searching for another jellied giftset, I notice a line forming at the register so I go to take care of it. Janie goes to help the customer, and I hear traces of the conversation:
Customer: San Francisco displays all their giftsets this way!
Janie: I'm not sure what you mean.
Customer: Maybe you should CALL the San Francisco store and ask them how they display the gifts!
Janie: Oh, you mean with the cellowrap? I've seen that done during Christmas-
Customer: CALL THEM.
Janie: I understand what you mean now.
Customer: WHY DO YOU SAY YOU DON'T KNOW AND THEN THAT YOU DO?
Janie: I'm sorry, I just didn't understand what you meant-
Customer to friend: This is an AWFUL store.
Customer walks away to Janie helps someone else. Gina returns from her break and since neither Janie or I want to approach the customer again (and we're both with customers anyway) I send Gina to help her.
Gina: I understand you're looking for some gifts-?
Customer: FIRST that girl LEAVES me and then THAT girl DOESN'T UNDERSTAND ME! Who is your manager? I want a card for your store!
Gina: I can get on you one if you'll wait just a moment.
Customer follows Gina to register.
Customer: WHAT is your MANAGER'S NAME? This is a TERRIBLE store and your DISPLAYS ARE BAD AND-
Other customers in the store are staring at her now, bewildered. Some of the customers who have been in the store a while are just staring at her with a what's-wrong-with-that-lady-she's-insane expression on their face.
Customer: I am going to call your manager and complain! We are leaving and this is an awful store and Whistler is better and San Francisco is better and these people are SO unhelpful...
She is still mumbling away to her friend as she walks out the door.
What a crackpot. Why would she think that we would unwrap every giftset in the store for her perusal? Never mind what other stores do, this is Valley Fair and maybe we do things a little differently! And on Valentine's Eve, one of our busiest days outside the Christmas season? Her friend was a decent woman, but this lady had such unreasonable expectations. She was just insane.
And Whistler? Not so great. We're totally kicking their butts in sales.