A good shop assistant is a ninja: she is trained to overpower you and take your money before you have time to feel a thing.
She knows exactly how long to give you before she makes eye contact, and starts flirting (about five seconds after you enter). She knows exactly when to ask you how it's going while you're in the change room. When I worked in retail, I was trained to peek under the door: when the customer's feet turned to the side, it meant she was looking at herself in the mirror, and that would be the perfect time to knock and ask "How does that look?" A sneaky technique, but it works.
Your well-trained sales assistant ninja even knows how to run around like crazy while you're in the fitting room to find you something "that will go with those pants", because she gets more commission on multiple sales than on single ones.
So, if the sales lady is so well trained, how do we, as shoppers without any training in the martial-shopping-arts, defend ourselves?
Read on, and learn the art of Defensive Shopping...
Rule 2: Get your Ninja on
The first thing we need to learn in defending ourselves from the shop assistant ninja, is to fight like she does. Being rude is not going to get you the dress you really want, so you have to play the game.
Firstly, to avoid being caught in the ninja-net five seconds after you have entered the shop, do the Stop-in-the-Doorway Block. If you stand in the doorway of the shop (unless it's a large department store), you should be able to see most of the clothes. Have your colour swatch in one hand, and your Hit List in the other, and compare the colours in that shop with your colour swatch. If you can't see at least four or five colours from your swatch, and there is no item that "calls" to you very loudly (as in "Look, I'm your colour and shape AND I'm on your list AND I'm just fabulous!"), then
turn around and leave. The sales lady will not have had a chance to greet you yet, therefore no relationship will have been established, and you won't have to feel that you're rude if you just walk out again.
DO NOT set foot in a shop that doesn't OBVIOUSLY have what you're looking for. You will only set yourself up for failure.
If you do find a shop that looks promising, go in and be prepared to speak to the sales assistant. Never mumble "Oh, I'm just browsing." This is, of course, a thinly disguised way of saying "Leave me alone," but it's not going to get you those white pants you came in for.
This is an excerpt from The Shopping Rules, an article from issue 2 of Forever Stylish.
Forever Stylish is a hefty 48-page style, colour and shopping guide, which focuses on your wardrobe needs and your personal style.
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