Quote of the Week 41: Don’t let them make you feel less worthy

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This week’s quote has a strange place of inspiration: The Edinburgh Apple Store. Months ago I went in there hoping to purchase a new laptop since my current one was starting (and is continuing) to die a gradual, slow death. Rather than go online, I thought that since we now have an Apple Store in our city I could have the joy of going in and picking a laptop that I could try out and feel, rather than just seeing a picture online.

I went into the store one day and tried to catch the eye of the staff. Nothing. I did all sorts of things to make it really obvious I was interested in the laptops. Nothing. Eventually after about 20 minutes of being in the store I managed to get hold of a member of staff. Asked questions about the research I’d done, how much, could I get my student discount, was it possible to buy one today. “Um…yeah”. She couldn’t have been less interested in selling me anything. I was in total shock. She made me feel dumb for wanting a laptop with a DVD/CD drive in it (apparently they’ve stopped making them this way) and in the end I felt so rubbish, irritated and crappy that I just left the store. I later found out that others who had visited the store had got similar treatment.

Today I decided to give them a second chance. No one greeted me or so much as caught my eye. In fact most of the staff seemed to look and then immediately look away. I stood there for 20 minutes yet again, and eventually after standing next to three staff members chatting and staring at their handheld devices I cornered one and asked if I was able to buy things in this store, and whether there was some kind of system for being able to get help from the staff (bearing in mind they seemed to wander round with the iPads – I wondered if there was some kind of queue I was supposed to check in with, like the meat counter at the supermarket or the collection counter at Argos that I’d failed to see the sign for or something). I’ll admit the guy seemed more of a people person than the last person I spoke to, but still was evasive at giving me any information about buying a laptop. So I left again, trying not to voice the sarcastic responses in my head.

I felt angry that a bunch of staff ignoring me as a customer could make me feel that way. But then I think back to searching for dungarees the other week, and every shop I went into within a few minutes someone offered to help and were happy to answer my simple question “Does your shop sell any blue denim dungarees?” and I realised that my reaction to the staff in the Apple Store was a choice.

I let their dismissiveness make me feel inferior. Of no value.

In my head, I was Julia Roberts in that shop in Rodeo Drive.

And the sarcastic, feisty, ungracious inner Laurie kinda wants to find a shop with better staff who treat customers like humans, make eye contact with them when they come into their shop, go out of their way to help them and offer advice and information about their products when asked for it…and then go back to the Edinburgh Apple Store with a shiny new laptop and say

“Do you work on commission? Big mistake! Huge!” 

Just as a wee side note, I think it’s kinda nice that the actor playing the hotel manager who helps the character of Vivian get help from a woman in another clothing store, in another film quotes Eleanor Roosevelt in another film with a young woman who is being made to feel bad about herself. 🙂

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