Holiday Hassle. The Hard Sell Holiday Season

December 23, 2008 • Magazine

Salesperson_2Desperate times call for desperate salepeople which is one reason I have shopped online again this year. With holiday volume tanking, retail sales associates are pulling out all the stops in an effort to get shoppers to spend. Many times in the most annoying ways.

At least that’s how some customers characterized the above-and-beyond — and at times over-the-top — customer service they have received, which contrasts with the common complaint in previous seasons of being totally ignored.

They are doing whatever it takes, but not everyone likes the extra attention.

Besides stalking customers and offering unsolicited advice, some salespeople areHoliday_shopping_2  making it obvious they are after the big commission. Salespeople at several stores said they are in the red compared with last year because of sharp markdowns, rampant returns and slow store traffic.

At Henri Bendel, stylist James La Porte said he and his colleagues, who work on commission, are trying to save more, knowing this season has already had its share of returns and more are inevitable in the post-holiday period. Four-digit commission checks are no longer a given, and three-digit ones have become more common, he said.

Holiday_shopping_3A Lord & Taylor saleswoman said, “It’s like playing Lotto. You can have $3,000 in sales one day. And then you go to lunch, and by the time you get back, you have zero [due to returns]. You have to try to be on top of things and sell more, but it’s tough.”

Bergdorf Goodman shopper, Judy Kaufman said, “I live in Michigan and what I find here is startling. There is such enthusiasm and excitement from the salespeople. In Detroit, even the sales at Neiman Marcus and Saks are desolate. I know it’s depressed here, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Detroit.”

If you don’t like a hard sell…shop from home for the holidays, like I do.

Read "Salespeople Put on the Hard Sell This Holiday Season" here.
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