Interruptions

What do you say to all the customers who keep asking you where is this and where is that? Is it my job to help them find it or a employee who could? I get asked a million times a day where something is or do you carry this. If it's something pertaini g to what I'm doing of course I'm going to help, but outside of that what should I do? In 2 of my stores I get so many Interruptions it's ridiculous! I try not to wear even the slightest shade of the color shirts that the employees wear.
I try politely as I can so I don't get the stare of death put on me, that I do not work here that I'm a vendor and for them to try to find someone with a ... shirt on.

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If I really can't help them, for instance if they ask for a specific item and I have no idea if the store carries it, or where it's located, I explain that I am a vendor and I try to point them in the direction of a store employee-or find one for them. If they are asking for something I can quickly help them with, I will. But I also explain that I am not an employee, in case they need more assistance than I can provide.

One store where I am constantly asked for help is where I work for a merchandising company that pays me by the hour with a cap on how long each project should be. I can go over my time limit if I have a good reason. So sometimes when I am doing harder resets, I am on a time crunch and really can't help people a lot. That's when I just point them to store employees the most.
This happened various times when I was doing product audits recently. There were a few things that I knew and could answer quickly (like where the newborn diapers are), so I just answered. Otherwise, I just said sorry, I don't work for the store, you should ask a store employee who can better help you.
This happened to me so often! Especially in Walmart stores! Many years ago I found a company that sold large (3" diameter) buttons that pin to your shirt that read: "OUTSIDE VENDOR, NOT A STORE EMPLOYEE"....and I would be asked where something is REGARDLESS! Even while they were staring at my button! Once I apologized and said I didn't work there, then it seemed to click for them. But honestly, even wearing that button did little to stop the asking!
What if you wore a red t-shirt and you happened to be shopping in Target? I used to get asked for help by shoppers whenever I happened to wear a red t-shirt. After a couple of trips, I realized that the Target associates all wore red shirts/t-shirts.
I work for a company that has a rule that we are not allowed to wear red shirts or khaki color pants while servicing Target. If I want to hit a few different jobs in one day, I can not wear red, blue, or green shirts. Every store has their own color. Not that it makes any difference. Huge VENDOR name tag, wrong color shirt, still asked for help. I love the customers that act like you are lying to them about not working for the store.
Yep - all the same advice. I usually say I am a vendor and this isn't a store I normally shop in so I don't know where anything is. I usually give the name of the employee who works in the department.

~~*~~*~~*~~ kal ~~*~~*~~*~~
Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just forget to load the film.
If I am 100% sure of the answer, I usually try to help, whether it's in a retail store, in the street, etc. However, if I am not sure, I refrain from giving an answer and mislead the person. In a retail store, I usually give them an answer if I know the location but I add that I did not work there.

Yesterday, I was in a grocery store. A Chinese lady was frustrated because there was no one available to ask a question. She asked me although I am not Chinese and did not speak the language. I read the label on the bottle, which were mostly Chinese and told him in English what I thought it was and referred to the description on the price tag. She seemed to have understood me, smiled and went to the cashier to pay.
I had to laugh last night... So after I posted on this thread, I was doing a reset in a store where the employees don't wear a distinguishable uniform, but they do wear obvious name tags. I was in the middle of the reset, making good time, and a man came and asked me for help. I wasn't exactly sure if the store carried the item he was asking about, so I told him I am not an employee, but that I would find someone to help him. He followed me as I found an employee and all was good.

About ten minutes later, he came up to me (I was still in the same aisle doing the reset) and asked me if I knew whether the store carried another item. This time I just reiterated, politely, that I was not an employee and that he'd have to find an employee and I didn't stop what I was doing.
A guy told me today (after finding out I didn't work there) "you are my witness. I'm not a thief". And stood and waved stuff in front of the security sensors to get someone to check him out, LOL. I couldn't help myself. I laughed.
That's what I'm talking about! They see me pushing carts with stock in it or filling displays and I say no they look at me bewildered. I tell them I'm a vendor and they apologize and say oh, I saw you working so I figured you worked here. NOPE!! Read my GREEN badge!!!
I had a lady a few weeks ago argue with me that because I was putting up merchandise in a certain department that I then worked in that dept. Not understanding at all that I do not work for Target. I think after a few seconds of our "conversation" she realized she was wrong but didn't want to look even less smart (being polite) gave up and just walked.
She asked me if they carry something and I told her I didn't know that I was a vendor.
I've had that happen without wearing a red or blue shirt!!! My daughter and I would be out shopping and someone would come up to me while my daughter was looking at something, and ask for help! I guess I just have that air about me!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/2016 04:29PM by dishopper.
I had a little old woman on Monday come in and asked me are you the saleslady and if I sold any rings? I showed her where they were and went about my business. A few seconds later the same little old woman walks up to me and asks are you the saleslady? Do you have any rings? Again I show here where the rings are and go back to where I was working. You guessed it a few minutes later this same little old lady God bless her little heart, came up to me and asked Are you the saleslady? Do you have any rings? So once again I walk her to the rings. This time I'm doing some of my work right next to where she is looking at the rings. An older gentleman comes to ask if she is ready to go because everyone is in line checking out. (She was probably on a field trip). She turned to him and then turned to look at me and said to him I have to ask the saleslady if there are anymore rings. I smiled and giggled to myself and told her these are all the rings we have. She said ok and then tried to remove the ring that she had tried on her finger. It was stuck!! I thought OMG! What am I going to do now!! She's twisting, turning and pulling but it's not coming off! I thought this sweet little old lady who so desperately wanted to find rings now found one but it stuck on her finger and she doesn't want it. Finally after a lot of maneuvering she got it off!! The gentleman told her we have to go now. She said ok, but let me ask this saleslady if they have any rings first. I know she is suffering from early dementia or some form of it, but she was still just the sweetest thing, she made my day!!!!
I want to buy a BIG NEON SIGN that says I'M A VENDOR NOT A STORE EMPLOYEE!!!!!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/2016 04:31PM by dishopper.
@dishopper wrote:

I want to buy a BIG NEON SIGN that says I'M A VENDOR NOT A STORE EMPLOYEE!!!!!

LoL! ...and maybe wear it on your back.? ...where they can see it better...?

******* ***** ***** *****
To the World You Just Might Be One Person,
But to One Person, You JUST Might Be THE WORLD!
******* ***** ***** *****
I have had days where I am in a business jacket/jumper/blazer and dress pants, browsing aisles with no clipboard, no phone, no scanner, nada, and someone will ask me where something is. I think people do it on purpose to be mean -- "bring you down a notch" mentality, when all I'm trying to do is earn a living -_-

MegglesKat
I am SO MUCH ENJOYING these stories!!! HOO-BOY! About 90% of them have happened to me while I was heavy in merchandising up till health issues in 2013 forced me to lay off up until about 6 months ago. So now I'm doing just a bit of it here and there......and TODAY......I did some HP audits in Staples and Office Depot. The manager of the Staples I went in was one I've worked with before. But now, because my hair is now salt & pepper (instead of "boxed" brown), he didn't recognize me at first....but WHAT DO YOU THINK gave it away and caused him to remember me??? My "OUTSIDE VENDOR - NOT A STORE EMPLOYEE" button!! He said as soon as he saw that, he remembered me, saying that he had never seen that button worn by anyone else but me! Ha ha!! I thought that was funny! And I told him the button never works anyway, but I still wear it!
I had a woman come up to me yesterday and say you don’t work work here right? I laughed and said yep I'm a vendor, but do you know she still asked asked me where the Halloween stuff was! LOL!
@clinen11, you must look smart. That's why folks are asking you questions.

One day it seemed that everyone was stopping me to ask where to find items. It was just a regular shopping day for me, not MSing. I must have looked exasperated because a gentleman told me it was because I wasn't carrying a purse, so folks were assuming I worked there. I guess people would draw the same conclusion if you aren't wearing a coat in winter.
Y'all aren't going to believe this but...

Before I retired, I would often stop in a grocery store, Walmart, wherever to grab something for lunch. I can't count how many times people mistook me for an employee and asked for store assistance and I was a cop in full uniform!

I don't know what they were thinking. I'd usually try to guide them in the right direction if I could but shrug sheepishly and say, "but I'm not really sure because..." I'd let my voice trail off while I pointed to my badge, gun, TASER.... Invariably, I'd see the growing realization in their faces before they'd give me a muttered thank you and rush off.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
You gotta wonder what goes through some people's minds!! Come on a cop! Maybe there's a added job detail for the security guard they are a greeter and shows everyone where everything is!! They way no steals anything because he/she knows where you went!! LOL!!!
Sorry, I don't work here but I just saw Sarah, I think she's in the next aisle. Gets them away from me but gives them a solution and a little hope.

Except our elders in CVS or Walgreens, I say I don't work here but I know where everything is, what can I get for you.
Spicy1, that is how I always respond, "No, I'm sorry, I don't work here, but I do shop here. What is it that you are looking for?"
I've had some say, "Okay, thank you." While others have said, "No, that's okay, I don't want to interrupt what you're doing. I will find an employee. " At this, I will point them in the direction of where I last saw an employee. :-)

******* ***** ***** *****
To the World You Just Might Be One Person,
But to One Person, You JUST Might Be THE WORLD!
******* ***** ***** *****
I say that too, but the "No, that's ok, I don't want to bother/interupt" you part is usually the rude part because they think you're lying!
Working as a merchandiser inside Lowes Home Improvement in the mid 1990's there was a period where all vendors had to wear the same vest as Lowes employees. When the store manager informed me of that change I looked him in the eye and slowly told him "I have my work to do while in the store and helping your customers is not what I'm here for." A couple of weeks later that policy was changed and vendors no longer had to wear Lowes vests. I suppose word got to corporate about customers walking up to people in vests and being told "I'm not an employee, just a vendor" I remember lots of customers walking away from me mumbling"but you're wearing a Lowes vest!"
That's so funny iwahstore.

There's a woman here, locally, um, obviously, that works for Hallmark. She bought a bright yellow vest, like the ones the Courtesy Clerks use in the grocery stores to go outside and bring the shopping baskets in. Then, in huge red letters, probably about 11 inches tall, on the back of her vest she had sew "VENDOR" and in small letters she had sew in "Not an employee". Nevertheless.......she said she was 'pestered' all the time.
Nevertheless.......she wears that vest all of the time. I can't help cracking up when I see her.
I find wearing any type of name tag at all just aggravates this dilemma, so when it isn't absolutely required I don't wear one ( or else I attach it to my work satchel sitting in the cart). Looking as much like a shopper as possible is the only true defense, but of course that still doesn't work. I mainly just smile and say "Sorry, I am not a store employee" then just turn back to my work and ignore them. Sometimes I do help, but you have to make it the rare occasion.

One time I did this however I felt so guilty that I chased after the customer (who was riding in an electric disabled cart) . I had actually directed him to the aisle that he needed but it dawned on me afterward that he probably couldn't get out of the chair well enough to reach the product. So I left my task and followed after him.

It turned out he was wanting to get a very specific canned item (that he knew was very inexpensive from his previous visit) but his eyesight was so poor he couldn't distinguish between the different brands.

He thanked me, shook my hand and introduced himself by name ( I reciprocated). He then chuckled that he probably needed to get some better glasses.
I helped him get one more item from off the shelves then went back to my work.

It really kind of made my day to help him out, but I almost didn't do it. Lesson learned.
I think we merchandisers know where some stuff is more than the employees. I was doing a fitbit demo last week and a customer asked me where an item was. I said I wasn't an employee but directed her to where I thought I saw the item item. She came back to to thank me saying I had to thank you personally. I asked 3 employees where they were and they had me travelling all over the store. You sent me right to them and you don't even work here. smiling smiley

~~*~~*~~*~~ kal ~~*~~*~~*~~
Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just forget to load the film.
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