Shopper vs. Stalker, Snob, Stylist, Salesman, Student

When I was shopping in KL, I noted five distinct types of clothing shop assistants.

(Maybe some of them are actually shop owners but I’m just going to call them shop assistants because it makes my job easier.)

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1. The Stalker

This creepy shop assistant doesn’t greet you when you enter the shop but politely walks towards you, taking care to keep a one-metre (3.2-feet) distance from you. When you walk, she walks. When you stop, she stops. Ever mindful of allowing you your one-metre personal space.

I encountered a Stalker in a big shop (about two-thirds the size of a professional basketball court). She attached herself to me and silently followed my every footstep. It took me 20 minutes to finish browsing and she silently followed me for 20 minutes. Freaky.

2. The Snob

I’ve met many haughty shop assistants in expensive boutiques who turn their noses up at you if you walk into their shop without having at least one item of Gucci, Prada or Louis Vuitton on your person.

But this particular Snob I met was manning a no-name shop selling cheap stuff in a second-rate shopping mall. When I walked in, she walked out of her counter. She didn’t walk towards me but stood on the far end of the shop to watch me silently.

As I was checking out a rack of clothes, a blouse fell off its hanger. Because I was carrying multiple shopping bags on my left hand, I struggled to rehang the blouse with my right hand. The Snob didn’t rush up to help. She stood watching, three metres away.

When I finally manged to set the blouse right, I turned to look at her. She was staring at me with a borderline hostile look on her greasy, pimply face. What a pity, because I had seen several things I liked in the shop and was planning to spend some money.

3. The Stylist

The Stylist delights in giving you free personal shopper services.

The most enthusiastic one I met was a young, good-looking Chinese guy wearing punky clothes and a punky hairdo. As I browsed, he started to whip out clothes randomly.

“This would look great on you. You could pair it with tights or jeans, and maybe a shiny belt.”

He even went to the trouble of fishing out clothes from different parts of the shop to show me how to mix and match. He remained polite and enthusiastic even when I rejected all his creations.

He showed me about 20 outfits in all. I only bought two items, but it was two more than I would have bought if he hadn’t been such a personable bloke.

4. The Salesman

The Salesman tries to sweet-talk you into buying stuff, telling you how fashionable this is, how gorgeous you look in that.

This particular Salesman, who is, in fact, a woman, went all out to ensure I found something I liked. I had taken a dress and two pairs of shorts into the dressing room. Barely half a minute later, she knocked on my door. “How is it?”

“Er…,” I said, not knowing what to say.

Quickly buttoning up my shorts, I opened the door and asked if she could get me the same pair in another colour. When she returned, she was holding two more pairs of shorts in her hands.

“Do you want to try these?” she asked. “You’ll look very nice in them.”

I didn’t like them so I apologetically no-thanked her before I shut the door to try on my shorts.

Next, I tried on the dress. One strap was twisted, so I once again engaged her help. Later, her colleague brought another piece in a different colour to compare and we found out that the strap was intentionally twisted.

I told them I wanted to try on the new colour. While deliberating over the colours, my ever-diligent Salesmen knocked on my door again.

“How is it? Why don’t you try on these shorts?” she said, and slung two new pairs of shorts over the top of my door.

“Er… no need lah,” I said.

“It’s ok, just try!”

I grabbed the shorts and tossed them in a corner.

One minute later, I was still deliberating between the two dresses.

Another knock on the door.

“How are the shorts? Have you tried them on yet?”

The whole time I was there, she tried to recommend me all the shorts they had in range and made me try on about six pairs which I had totally no interest in.

Stressful.

5. The Student

Shop assistants must all go to the same school and learn to say the same thing. During my weekend in KL, the most-heard phrase was: “This is the newest arrival.”

The phrase just rolls off their lips the moment I step into the shop and touch the first piece of clothing!

Most of them stop at that sentence and allow me to browse in peace thereafter. A few illustrious Students add: “You can try it on.”

And then there are those who rattle out a stock phrase with every piece of clothing you touch, as if they were taught in school that “if a customer touches something, that means the customer is interested! Fuel the interest by saying something about it!”

Touch a blouse.

“This is the newest arrival!”

Touch a skirt.

“You can try it on!”

Touch a dress.

“This comes in three different colours!”

Touch a pair of pants.

“This comes in three different sizes!”

Touch a necklace.

“This is for sale at 20% off!”

They simply must have something to say for every item you touch. Even if they have nothing informative to say, they must say something.

Touch a hat.

“This is a hat!”

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It was great shopping in KL. Most shop assistants are nice, even if some are overbearingly so.

What are your shopping experiences? Have you encountered those listed above or do you have more types to add?

Share them!