You know what yanks my Cord…

…commissioned sales people at retail stores. Alright, I am fully willing to admit the extent of my disdain might be because I don’t like talking to or dealing with people generally.

Maybe it is just a function of my cynicism and anti-social behaviour. But I know I am not the only one that hates getting swarmed by a cloud of overenthusiastic and irritatingly cheery sales people when I walk into a store.

You know the drill: keep your head down, walk quickly making it clear you know where you are going and never, ever make eye contact with one of them. If you show weakness they will strike.

And even if you make it clear you don’t need help, they will hover around you like sea gulls at the beach hoping to capitalize on a potential purchase as long as you are in the store.

But is this really necessary? Is it too much to ask to be left alone when browsing? If we want help we will ask. But the reality is a lot of the time we know what we want more than some minimum wage high school student who in this day and age is quite possibly at the peak of his or her working career.

And sometimes we don’t have the time to hang around as the salesperson spends a half-an-hour desperately trying to up-sell us pretty much entirely for his or her benefit.

This is not to say that having friendly, respectful sales people is a bad thing. But incentivizing nuisance behaviour is the wrong way to go for that goal. Companies should simply reward quality service with routine evaluations and provide adequate training.

Having worked in non-commissioned retail, not even those solutions are done satisfactorily. Sure, experiencing a sales rep with a bad attitude due to a lack of stake in completing the sale is a terrible consumer experience, but no more so than spending your time dodging detection like Snake in Metal Gear Solid. A better balance needs to be found between the two extremes.

So a tip to all those commissioned sales people out there. When you see a customer enter the store, don’t pounce on them like artists on a subsidy. Give them some space and take a deep breath. Your customer will appreciate you for it.