Dear Retail Sales Person, Am I Putting You Out by Shopping in This Store?

The GPS of Life...
The GPS of Life Took Me Off-Course for a Reason
December 17, 2017
January 8, 2018
Build Relationships First

A key Think Like A Negotiator strategy is “Build Relationships First.” It seems like in retail they forget that most days.  Oftentimes it feels like they are doing you a favor even being in the store to work vs being of service to you as a customer.  While many customers can be rude and disrespectful, it should not come from the store salespeople as rude, disrespectful or less than interested in helping you.  That’s suppose to be their job, or maybe I’m confused?

While many purchases can be made online, I prefer to go into a store to try on certain things.  Athletic shoes is something I prefer to try on and get some help with different features of different shoes. I went to my local mall last night and to the only store there that had a selection of running and other athletic shoes.  I have knee problems and wanted to see if I could get a shoe that would allow me to jog a little and take the impact from my knees.

I went into the store at 6pm on New Years day.  The mall was open until 9pm and there were a couple other people in the store.  I was looking at shoes when a sales person came to the area I was standing walked right in front of me and put a shoe back then turned around and walked away without saying a word to me.  I stood there a bit perplexed, did I not look like I needed some help?  Do they not ask anymore?  She went back to the back of the store and started folding clothing.

I walked over and asked for help she wasn’t thrilled but came over.  I asked which shoes were running she sort of haphazardly pointed to a few.  I asked if she knew of something specifically that would help more with impact, no help, she sort of mumbled something that I didn’t understand.  I asked if a couple shoes were running, she said yes.  I gave her my size she walked off to get them, came back with 1 pair, gave it to me and turned to walk away.  I stopped her and asked for a couple other pair.

When she brought them back, she said the one I asked for was not available in my size.  I asked if any other colors were in my size (do I really need to think of this myself?).  She got me the only pair gave them to me and walked off.  I opened the box, they were 2 right feet of the same shoe.  Really?  I guess she didn’t bother checking.  I went up to the cash register and she was there folding clothes.  I said there were 2 right shoes, she pretty much ignored me.  Another sales person offered to help.

Not only did he find the left shoe, he offered some advice for some inserts that would help with the impact and said the first shoe I tried on was a great running shoe.  I bought the first pair with the inserts suggested by him.  The other salesperson just walked off and said nothing.

This in my opinion is why retail is failing.  We are made to feel like they are doing us a favor for being in their store.  I couldn’t help thinking of all the people who would love to have a job that would be happy to be helpful.  Now of course that one salesperson could be hung over from New Years Eve or having a bad day but suck it up butter cup, you are at work.  You are there to do a job and provide a service.  Do you think anytime in my military career when I went through a divorce, had a miscarriage or was sick in some other way that wasn’t contagious that I gave my commander attitude and didn’t do my best?  No! Not even close.

I am going to write to the company about this situation.  If I don’t say something that will make it ok for her to treat others the same way.  I for one am tired of walking into a retail establishment and being treated like I am bothering the employees by being there.  It happens way too much and I’m sure this isn’t how the company wants their employees to treat their customers.

If you see something, say something.  We need to stop tolerating bad service and demand people work in excellence or make room for those who will work in excellence.

Keep Thinking Like A Negotiator

To Your Success


Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at


  1. Both Sides of the Coin says:

    I work in retail so I know what you say is correct. As an employee, I’ve seen this behavior and I’ve heard similar complaints from customers regarding some co-workers. As a consumer, I’ve experienced the rude, unfriendly, ignorant, lackadaisical treatment from sales people. With unemployment being so low, someone unhappy with their job should be able to find a more suitable position. Should that employee not take the initiative to find a more suitable position, it should be the job of the store manager to express disapproval and provide training.

    Retailers, if you want your business to survive become more customer focused and train your sales team to provide (no less than) good customer service.

    Going off track, I have a message to consumers. It’s wrong to use a store to research products and then shop on-line. Once a customer enlist the assistance of a sales person they should feel obligated to purchase from that person. To intentionally use our time, our talent and (in some cases) take away our commission is unethical and deceitful!

    • Eldonna Fernandez says:

      Thank you. It makes the in store experience something to dread when customers get treated that way. I also agree with the doing research to buy online. That’s probably another reason retailers are struggling. Not cool to do that. It’s out of integrity.

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