Posted by: joha5 | May 27, 2010

I Hate Shopping: The Case of the Armani Exchange Stalker

I am not – and have never been – a big shopper.  It isn’t that I don’t like doing it or that I find it boring, it is just that I have the hardest time ever making decisions about anything.  Do I like the dark blue shirt of the light blue shirt?  What about the tan jacket versus the grey jacket?  I always have the best of intentions when I go shopping but I always end up leaving disappointed or aggravated.  The only time shopping ever goes well for me is when I actually bring myself to commit to spending money because once I know that I am definitely going to spend money, all inhibition seems to fall by the wayside for me.  This, however, is the only time when shopping is enjoyable experience for me.

Oh, and there is one more problem that I have with shopping.  The sales people

Sales People: Helpful or Harmful?

I must say that I have nothing against them personally.  It is their job to sell things and make money for the store so the store can pay them and so they can keep their jobs.  I get it.  I have worked in retail myself and I am very aware of the ethos of the standard – and euphemistic sounding – ‘customer service representative’.  I just wish that they weren’t so damn annoying.  It doesn’t matter what store I walk into – drug store, electronics store, clothing store, music store, convenience store – I don’t like being followed around and asked if I ‘need help finding anything’.  What a ridiculous question.  If I needed help finding something wouldn’t they think that I would just ask? 

There are only two reasons to ever go into a store: to browse or to buy.  If I am planning on buying something then I am in their store for a reason and have a general idea of what I would like to purchase.  Therefore, just the fact that I am in the store in the first place means that I am already well on my way to finding what I need.  The tough work is done.  All I have to do is locate it in the store.  Simple, right?  However, if I am just there to browse or to look at what they are selling then I don’t need any help finding anything, do I?  It is very rare that I have ever had to ask for help finding something anywhere.  I will almost always turn the store upside down before even thinking about engaging an employee in conversation.  The only time I will ever ask for help is to ask if they have a different size or what their return policy is.  I can think of no other reason to ever speak with one of them.

However, this does not seem to stop their constant social onslaught on my sense’s.  “Hello!  Welcome to (Insert Name of Store Here)!”.  “Do you need help finding anything today?”.  “If you need any help then let me know”.  I mean, I can go on and on…and on.  The worst is when they follow you around and make suggestions of things to buy.  I went to go and buy some clothes a month ago at Armani Exchange with some birthday money that I was given and had one of the worst experiences I have ever had with a sales person.  Her name was Maryska and she was an energetic, 20-something go-getter with blonde hair and a slightly crooked smile that already put me on the defensive as soon as she approached me.  

Armani Exchange

“Hello and welcome to Armani Exchange!  Is there anything I can help you find today?”

“No, thanks”, I replied.  “I’m just browsing through the store”.

This should be enough to ward off any normal sales representative.  But not Maryska – not today.  As I walked around the store looking for things to spend my money on I heard Maryska’s accented English again. 

“Oh!  Do you like that white sweater there?”

“Yeah.  It’s pretty nice…I guess.  I’m just looking though.”

“Okay okay…no problem”.  And off she went to bother somebody else – or so I hoped.

I moved on to look in the shirt section and before I knew it, Maryska was back with two items of clothing in tow. 

“I saw how much you liked that sweater.  These two are our most popular items right now and they are better than what you are looking at.  Here.  Try these on.”

“Umm…yeah.  I mean, they’re nice but I’m just looking for now.  I see them on the shelf over there so I’ll just take a look at them when I go over there.  Thanks though.”

“Okay okay…no problem”.  And with that she was gone again.  Irritated and no suffering from anxiety and hot flashes, I moved to another section of the store entirely.  Surely she can’t follow me across the span of the store to harrass me after I have told her 3 times that I am just looking.   I saw a polo shirt that I thought looked really nice and I picked it up to look at it and to gauge whether or not it was around the right fit.  It seemed decent so I crept around the perimeter of the store hoping that Maryska wouldn’t see me.  I made my way into a changing room and felt a sense of calm come over me.  I was safe.

I tried on the shirt and it was exactly what I was looking for so I changed back into my original shirt, unlocked the door and swung it open.

“Oh, that shirt is one of our hottest items.  Here.  I brought two other shirts to show you since you seem to like that one so much.”

“Okay.  Listen.  I came in to try this shirt on because I liked this shirt and just this shirt.  I’m just going to get this today but you can be sure that if I see anything else that I think is nice that I will try it on and probably purchase that too, okay?”

“Okay okay…no problem”.  And like a pasty Polish apparition, she was gone again. 

Feeling as if I was about to have a stroke, I bolted towards the closest cash register that I could see, whipped out my debit card, and threw the shirt on the counter.  I must have looked like a crazed maniac – well, that or a huge fan of polo shirts from Armani Exchange.  The ‘customer service representative’ rang me up, put my shirt and receipt in the bag, and handed me back my card.

“Thanks for shopping at Armani Exchange” he said.

“Yeah.  Thanks.”

I meandered quickly through the racks of clothes hoping to never see Maryska again when all of a sudden…

“Thank you for shopping at Armani Exchange!  See you again very soon!” 

The shrill voice made me bristle and I hustled out of the store pretending not to hear her.  As I walked out of the store and took in my first breath outside of Armani Exchange, I felt like I had escaped a war zone.  This woman had single-handedly caused me stress, anxiety, misery, and feelings of hatred in the span of about 5 minutes. 

I am not – and have never been – a big shopper.  While I could have complained to the store’s manager or to their corporate headquarters, I know it wouldn’t do me any good.  Ironically, this is exactly what Armani Exchange probably wants: a 20-something go-getter with a smile slightly askew who can push clothes on people like her life depends on it.  I get it.  It’s no wonder they do such good business there.  People are probably buying the clothes just to get people like Maryska away from them rather than really wanting the clothes that they see in the store.  

I am not – and have never been – a big shopper.  Is it any wonder why?

...The Next Item of Clothing that I Plan on Buying



  1. Loved this post..Gave it a well deserved 5 stars.

    I thought bad service like that only existed where I’m from, where you’re constantly assailed with the annoying “Can I Help You” and they tail you the whole way making you feel like some kind of shop lifter. It’s pretty insulting and makes me leave the store right away. I hate shopping unless they leave me alone. I’d rather shop online if I am really desperate for something.

    • In recent yars I have definitely taken to shopping online more and more. I just very rarely buy clothes from stores online unless I know exactly what size I need because if it is the wrong size or I don’t end up liking what I bought, the return process is lengthy and expensive – not to mention a HUGE inconvenience. I just hate the feeling I get in these kind of stores when you can feel the employee’s eyes following you around the store. Myabe they think I am stealing something or maybe they just really do want to help me find something…but all I want is for them to LEAVE ME ALONE! Haha! Thanks for your comment!

  2. I tend to have the opposite problem. Whenever I do need help- because I’m too lazy to search through the entire store for what I need, I can never find a sales clerk to help me!

    But your sales clerk sounds like she is on contract to the devil with how ‘helpful’ she was.

    • Hey Rachael! Thanks so much for commenting! I have had the opposite problem a handful of times before. Maybe it is something in the water in D.C. or something that makes people super excited to help or get involved in your business. I don’t know. All I know is that it happens way more than it should and I don’t like it one bit. As far as I am concerned, there is a fine line between helpful and harmful and Maryska certainly walked on the side of harmful! Then again, when I have worked in retail I am sure that people have looked at me and said ‘Wow, what a totally unhelpful employee that Jon is’. Haha! Oh well. To each their own I suppose! Hope to get another comment from you again soon!

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