If you're too young to remember either of those stores, or have never owned a pair of Z-Cav's, then you need to get out. Go. Just get out because you don't even KNOW, man. I can't begin to explain it either, because it will make your head explode from all of the awesome.
I'd like to say that these were the women's version...but I'm not even sure there was a difference...
Case in point: the headset.
We've all seen them. You walk into a store and the person greeting is wearing something like this:
(just as an aside....Emily?? Is that you??)
While I understand that technology is everywhere, I don't get headsets. Alright, I will admit that I'm sure they can come in handy when you're at a larger store. A Meijer's. Home Depot. Anyplace larger than a standard strip mall space of an outlet. However, these places aren't where I see this technology deployed. Rather, it's used in a roughly 2500 sq. foot space. Ok, fine. There may be a vast underground storage unit where there are a hundred people and they can only access them by either traveling down a chute located behind the mirror in dressing room C, or they can use the headset and save the trip.
In most situations, that's not the case. No no. The last dozen or so times I've encountered the headset wearing "retail associate" is in one section of the store, or in stores smaller than my house.
I will admit that I do about half of my shopping online. Mainly because I know what I want, and it just saves time from driving back and forth. I also rarely need something last minute. If there's an occasion or if I know I'm out of socks/underwear/tees or whatever, I will usually give myself enough time to shop either online or stop by a store on my way home from work. I can also get better deals online for the most part, and combined with free shipping just makes it less expensive.
When I do venture to the store though, I am always reminded why I like to shop online: the sales people. Now, when I worked retail back in the stone age, we weren't paid on commission. I'm not sure if they even do that in retail any more, outside of big ticket items, do they? Regardless, I like to do my own thing. It's nice when a salesperson acknowledges me when I enter and asks if they can help me find anything and gives me the rundown on any deals they may have going. Nice people are always awesome, and there are times I do need the help. However, if I say I'm just looking, thanks, then that's your cue to back off. Take your headset and go bring in a rocket or whatever you're doing on that thing and I'll see you at the register in a bit. Call me a bitch, but I've left stores where I've been asked every 2 minutes if I need any help. You can help me by not hovering. I'm pretty sure I can read the chart on the back of the Spanx package and find what I need, thanksabunch.
A few weeks back, I was in Kohl's. I have a perfume that I love, and I happened to have a coupon as well as hit a sale at Kohl's, so I was getting my scent at a hell of a deal. If you haven't been into a Kohl's in a while, it looks like they're ramping up their personal care space. Kind of like Sephora but with the B-team brands of makeup: no Bare Minerals or Smashbox or Urban Decay. They have names like "Blossoming Minerals" or "City Ruins" or something like that. It's a nice atmosphere, but it's also the size of my living room. Perfumes are in a closet sized space right next to the makeup. Having not been in a brick and mortar Kohl's in a while, I was perusing the selection when I was approached by a sweet 20 something whom we will henceforth refer to as "SG1". She was polite and asked the standard questions. I told her I knew what I was looking for, thanks, and I was just browsing around since I hadn't been in the store in a while. She smiled, said let her know if I needed anything and walked to the other side of the display. I could see her. Her
SG2 is now focused on a rack behind me, still in the same aisle. SG 1 is on the opposite side of the rack of nail polish I'm viewing when she lifts up the microphone and says - in a normal tone - "Gina, when you're done, can you please come fix this row of eyeshadow?" I'm thinking that she's talking to someone on break or maybe in the underground storage unit only accessed through the mirror in dressing room C. She wasn't. She was talking to SG2. The one right behind me who was in plain sight and close enough that she didn't have to use a headset. Gina answered into the headset - in a normal voice - "Absolutely" and walked around the display.
The what? At that point, I couldn't not ask. I was kind of laughing when I said to SG1: "do you guys use those to communicate with other departments?"
You guys, I had broken the rule. I had questioned the headset. The look on her face was sheer confusion. It kind of reminded me of the look the Dobe gets when we're talking to him. Like, he gets that we're trying to communicate, but we've used words other than food or outside or ride and he has to tilt his head at a 45 degree angle in order to comprehend. Blank stare, then she responds: "What do you mean? Like talk to someone I'm not working with right here? Like in housewares or something like that? Oh no. Other departments don't have these."
I couldn't help it. I was snickering - a bit more obviously - and I said "so you and Gina are the only 2 people here and you have to wear a headset to communciate? Do you guys leave the floor at all?" Thinking are you ever outside of 25 feet of each other during your shift? She smiled and said "Oh! No. If we go on break, we have to leave them at the counter. (apparently there's a high black market for cheap headsets?). No, we wear them because we look more professional. It saves us from yelling to each other."
I was about to point out that their total area didn't take up more than a 12x15 space, but I figured I'd save the breath. Apparently, "Professional looking sales associates" means "looks like they're working the drive through".
I went to check out, and Gina was ringing up the perfume when she had a question. I had to bite my lip and not giggle when she radioed to SG1 that she needed her to bring another package of said perfume up because that one wouldn't scan. SG1 was literally working on a shelf to my left. If I would have turned and taken a step in that direction, I would have run her over.
I get that technology is useful. I love my Kindle, my iPhone, my laptop, my DVR and all of that jazz that makes life easier. I just don't get the use of those headset thingies to communicate with someone who is within a certain radius of you. Personal communication, people. Put down the headset and go look someone in the eye for a change. You'll be laughed at by the consumer a whole lot less, I guarantee it.