Sunday, May 08, 2005


American No Sale

With the warm weather I have been busy in the garden. So today a short 'Eckian' post. Last week we went to an American Sale outlet in the suburbs to buy a set of patio furniture. They appeared to be very short of staff and although we found a reasonably priced set, the one person we could find had no idea how to sell it to us, and rang about four different extensions to locate someone. Eventually we had to give up and leave because the baby became fretful.

Today we went to another American Sale which has opened near our house. Again there was a reasonably priced table and chair set and we had cash to buy it there and then. I finally located an assistant and said to her, we want to buy one of those patio sets, but I can't find anybody to take our money. She said she just needed to give a price to some other people and she'd be right with us. After about ten minutes I saw her on the other side of the store chatting to a completely different customer. I then went to the customer services desk and told them I wanted to buy a $2000 patio set in the next five minutes if somebody could be found to take our money. She got on the P/A system requesting an assistant. We waited around for another ten minutes and nobody showed up so we left. On the way out, my wife told an assistant that we wanted to spend money there, but were leaving because nobody seemed to care, and she replied, blankly, "ok!".

I was very surprised by this because my experience in every other store I've ever been into here in the US has been that you are almost mobbed by knowledgeable staff asking to help.

I think American Sale need to stop opening new stores and concentrate on finding decent managers to run the ones it already has.
American Sale will be another of those in bankruptcy court shortly. I ran into that when I lived in Las Vegas and decided to buy a hand gun. I went into a store that had a pretty good reputation, was looking at the guns in a case while three workers stood about eight feet away in an animated conversation with each other about personal things. After about five minutes I just turned and started out of the store. One of them said "can we help you with anything?" I replied "You could have" and just kept walking. The second gun store was almost the same. I was the only customer, a fellow came walking by the counter and I asked him if the price on the one gun was correct (pretty cheap). He said, "Oh you don't want that gun. It's not made well". Of course this made me wonder why he had it on display in the first place, but he didn't stop to help. He walked into the backroom and I could hear him and another fellow talking about last nights ball game. I left.

The good news is the third gun store was being run like they intended to stay in business, and over the next few years I made a lot of purchases there.
We've had similar experiences, almost always at furniture stores. It aggrevates me to no end, because it seems so ridiculous that they won't let me spend money there.

At a lot of places there seems to be no middle ground between multiple salespeople circling like vultures and having one salesperson trying to handle the whole place.

Oh, and I can't believe you coined 'Eckian', that is either flattering or a sign that I write way too many 'shopping sucks' posts. :)
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