So this post is a personal musing of my thoughts, and I will categorize such posts under the title “Musings.” How appropriate, right? Well, I am sort of a religious shopper, mostly that of a thrift shopper, but occasionally I like to shop around the mall. I have also been known to shop for things I don’t need, or can’t afford, but I can’t help the fact that sometimes I get drawn in by a gorgeous dress, or pair of boots, or sunglasses that I cannot leave the store without. Tiffany sunglass, at a thrift store, still not cheap, but I couldn’t walk away without them.
Anyways, I went shopping today, and I left the house with a couple of specific errands that I planned to spend money on, as well as the intention to shop around leisurely and buy myself a little something nice for making it through college. I think it’s necessary to reward yourself every now and then. Let me just say that this is not a rant. However, I do intend to relay a message about what I noticed across the places I stopped in today.
The message is this: we are no longer in a recession, people are buying, and wanting to buy, but the problem is the art of selling. I studied to receive a degree in business for two years before I changed my major to English, and I learned that even for an interview, the most important skill is selling – to sell yourself. Any job requires you to believe in the company you work for and to promote the product or service it offers to customers. An employee’s first and foremost responsibility is to be passionate about that product/service and to try to promote it to as many customers as possible. I think this is the key to selling.
So today…I experienced inconvenience in finding what I wanted to buy, and did not receive help or guidance. At Apple, there seemed to be employees teeming everywhere, but I was shuffled in and told to look for “the guy with the red iPad case” for help because the employee I was speaking to was “busy directing traffic” within the store. No joke. I finally did receive help, but the product I was looking for was not for sale. This was not the only instance. In Sephora, I was greeted very nicely and offered assistance. I explained what I was looking for and was showed a product, which was not exactly what I had in mind, but when I tried to rephrase and ask for more help, I was promptly abandoned. As a buyer, I was shocked, and I thought, “Maybe she isn’t willing to deal with helping me if she doesn’t get a commission off of what I buy.” In reality, I don’t know for sure why she walked away while I was asking questions. However, someone who looked like a manager saw me looking around, confused, and came to my rescue, helping me find the perfect products to ring up to a total of $63.87.
My experience as a shopper today troubled me because I recently graduated from college and am desperately seeking to find employment. Not only do I really want to work, but I want to make money and I also want to spend money. I am a born shopper. It was to Sephora’s detriment that the first saleswoman refused to help me, because it deterred me from buying more. I could have been convinced to buy unnecessary things if only someone explained the value and quality of these items to me. That’s the thing – many consumers are easy to push over when it comes to buying, at least up to a certain price point, but especially within the impulse buy zone (which for me is up to $20, although under $15 is perfect). Even after saying no, a majority of those resistant consumers can still be heckled into buying or convinced that they really do need the product. And if a salesperson does get through to a customer, it is most likely that that person will go on selling the product to their friends, doing the salesperson’s job for them. I rave about all my favorite purchases and talk about the products that impress and please me the most (Birchbox). Word of mouth marketing is far from dead.
As a former business student, I was baffled by the poor business practices that I witnessed in terms of selling. The upswing is that, for anyone seeking jobs, competent, passionate, and driven sellers are in high demand. I was actually recruited by Express while I was shopping. Here’s what happened:
I walked in and the girl working at Express said, “Oh, hi there, you look so cute!” I felt confused, again, and looked behind me over my shoulder and said, “Uh, are you talking to me?” Luckily, she laughed and asked if she could help me find anything. Great service, thumbs up to Express. There was no specific purpose except that I wanted to see if I could find anything good on the sale rack, so I stuttered, “Um, tank tops.” She asked if I meant the casual type of tank tops and I said yes, and she directed me to the right. Then she started asking me personal questions while I was trying to fake shop through the tank tops and ignore her hovering, while secretly trying to scan around the store for that sale rack. She said, “So are you on a break?” I looked confused. She said, “I mean do you work at the mall?” I said no. She asked, “Are you in school?” I said no, and I think I may have started to look hostile, worrying that she might mistake me for a high-schooler, as I often am mistaken for someone much younger, offered kids’ menus, and given the child price for movie tickets (it’s not all bad). She picked up on this and said, “Did you just graduate?” The questions continued until I explained that yes, I just graduated from college and am currently looking for employment. She then told me that she thought I looked stylish and they were hiring at Express so she thought she would try to recruit me. The jobs are out there! Companies need people to believe in what they’re selling! Money is in the hands and pockets of people who want to spend it, and businesses rely on their employees to sell to the best of their abilities. If there is something out there that you love, you can most likely get a job selling it, just by talking about it. I can tell you right now, the things I am best at selling are FOOD and Hemingway novels.
My message is that the market needs passionate people. The opportunity exists. The graduates of 2014 do not need to fear. Businesses are looking for strong candidates to sell their image and products or services. The economy is forward moving and fastpaced…it demands that we match it.