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Shopping Rant

Pardon me while I rant a little bit, but have any of you noticed that going shopping anymore is a study in extremes? Granted, I've never been much of a shopper. I'm not one to spend hours and hours out looking in stores and not deciding on something. If I don't find it fairly quickly, I'm usually out of there. But even so, the shopping experience has gotten even worse than ever. Case in point #1: Say you decide to go shoe shopping, and you walk into a DSW, just to browse. You are immediately descended upon by employees, acting as if they work for the NSA. Right to browsing privacy? Not on your life. It's "finding everything ok?" every 2 seconds, helpful to the point of intrusive and stalking. You find yourself stuck in an episode of "The Prisoner", where no matter where you turn, you're caught in an endless flow of staffers who won't let you out of their sight, let alone out of the store. Heaven knows what would happen if you really stopped and said that no, you weren't finding everything ok. Seriously, thinking about going to DSW again makes me feel like becoming an agoraphobe.

Then there's the other extreme, the Discount and/or Department Store, where no one even cares that you exist or that you want to spend money. Case in point #2: Say you decide to shop for just the right thing. For example, today I was searching for a wedding registry gift at Kohl's. The item that I (and the Bride) wanted was not found anywhere on the shelves. I looked and looked for someone, anyone, who could provide assistance. Not an employee anywhere to be found. In fact, when one saw me heading his way, he immediately turned and ran in the other direction. I walked around the store 3 times, feeling like the little kid in "Shane" ("Come back Shane! Come back!") before I finally found someone who said it wasn't their department. She led me to two other people who had no idea, and just told me they didn't have it. No offer of searching at another store, no offer to look it up to see if it was in stock. Nothing, Nada. It was as if I was Public Enemy #1, but nobody cared. I went down to Customer Service, and it was more of the same. I had to beg the woman at the counter to even check the inventory.

Whatever happened to actual customer service? Actually trying to help a customer find just the right item? Knowing when to check on them, and knowing when to give them space? You know that scene in the old movie "Pollyanna"? Where all the employees snap to when Jane Wyman and Haley Mills come in to the shop, and proceed to get everything out and make suggestions, and box everything up and carry it to their car? Wouldn't that be awesome? I might totally enjoy shopping then.

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