how not to make a sale

Angela and Dave came yesterday, and asked me to go to PC World with them to help buy a printer. Angela and Dave are not the most clued up people when it comes to technology, and wanted my input.
We had a look around, and I made suggestions about print resolution and checking the price of ink carts, and Angela decided she wanted a sales assistant to tell her why printer A was different to printer B, if they were the same price.
I always bitch if I am crowded by sales staff in a store. I hate it. If I am asked more than twice if I can be helped, I will leave and go elsewhere. Same if I have to wait around to be helped. If the staff are busy, fair enough, but if they are not taking any notice of their customers, they can go take a walk. Someone else can have my business. Mind you, if I neeeeed whatever it is badly, I will wait, but it will trigger Grumpy Customer mode, and it’s just not worth it.
The sales staff in PC World were avoiding us. Perhaps they had some psychic inkling that I was going there, and I should be avoided because I hate their plastic view of “buy this it’s a bargain – not necessarily what you want, but hey…” I went towards three of them, and they wandered off nonchalantly, with their hearts in their mouths. Eventually, Angela found one. He looked as though he had many better things to be doing on a Saturday, and if he’d had any sales training, then I’m a monkey’s uncle.


You know when you’re shopping and you’ve made your mind up, but you just need that bit of affirmation – well this was one of thos situations. I guess we were naiive to look for comments like “This is a really good printer” or ” I’ve used Hewlett Packard before and they’re ok” or even “what will you be using the printer for?” Saturday Boy #483 was having none of it. When we asked about it’s features, he read from the information card on the stand. We didn’t point out that we are indeed literate. He didn’t offer to check if it was in stock, and broke the cardinal sales rule and didn’t ask for the business. You should always, always ask the customer if they’d like to go ahead and buy product X after telling them how wonderful it is.
It turned out that the printer was out of stock, and they only had the display model left. It was scratched, and Angela is like me in that she hates buying things that have been touched by sticky, greasy kiddies fingers. This thing was covered in enough greasy marks to make McDonald’s envious, and believe me, a comment from the sales staff like “That’s nothing, it’ll come off with a bit of polish” is not going to win. Angela asked for a discount, and #483 said they’d be able to take off 10%. Woo. He seemed offended at our sticky greasy fingers remarks. Perhaps he’d been eating something sticky and greasy for lunch. Angela had to say twice that she wanted to buy this printer, and eventually #483 tootled off to the stock room.
While he was gone, Angela turned to me and asked, “What’s your gut feeling on this?”
I replied, “My gut feeling? He doesn’t deserve the sale.”
He didn’t get it either. We came home, had pizza, and Angela ordered a cool printer and digital camera package online. Maybe #483 had a gut feeling about us…

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One thought on “how not to make a sale

  1. Angel says:

    It always seems that computer sales staff are either overly eager or too damned nonchalant, doesn’t it?
    Its a shame, because I think there are sales to be made.
    Are sales staff at PC World in the UK on commission? Or is it a straight salary? I have found that this is almost always a factor.
    I think that stores which do NOT offer commission should at the very least offer incentives to the employees. Like, say… whichever employees are top sellers that month get ‘insert freebie item’. Stores are ALWAYS getting some sorta freebie items anyway.
    :puzzledlook:
    I’m glad Angela found something good online.
    🙂
    p.s. I’m liking your new blog, Kitkat

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