Asking = Good
I have noticed a new trend in my shopping habits lately: I will ask for help from a “sales associate” much faster than I did previously. This could be a product of the instant-gratification culture, but I really don’t have much patience with floundering around a store trying to find what I need, especially if I have done all of my research earlier and show up at a store with just one thing in mind. I will go to great lengths to find a live person because even if I spend 3-5 minutes trying to find help, they will most likely be able to help me right away. That said, I won’t just grab the first employee that I see in the store, I will actually make a reaosnable effort at finding the item first. After getting help, I can look at my handy palm pilot and see if there’s anything else in the store that I need.
I have noticed that Target is especially good at having random people walking around the store doing things that are quickly dropped in order to help a customer. In addition they have these nice little buttons sprinkled around the store that you can press and the entire floor staff gets paged notifying them that you have a question. I prefer this to the “pick up the phone” approach, although that is also available in some stores.
The worst store by far for this strategy that I have come across is Home Depot. You sometimes have to walk a very long distance before you find anyone, and then when you do, they just point you back in the direction that you came from and said that someone over there can help you. If there was someone over there, I wouldn’t be asking over here. I wonder if they just think I’m too stupid to read the HUGE SIGNS which state what is where in a Depot.