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Did you find everything o.k ?

Updated on March 12, 2012

I have absolutely no shame whatsoever in admitting that I am a power shopper! I love it when there is an associate waiting at the door or they find me to see if I am finding everything o.k. If I'm in a store more than fifteen minutes, that usually means I am having trouble finding something or I can't decide between two or more brands of the same product. You will never see me go grocery shopping without a list and I don't go to home improvement stores without a printed out or advertise picture of what I want. I know that this kind of behavior is odd for a woman, but I am one of those few who despise going shopping. The less time I can spend in a store the happier I am.

Since recently moving to a new neighborhood I have had to spend more than my regular fifteen minutes in stores because of not knowing the isle layout and I have also needed to do more than my normal share of shopping buying things for my new home. Two question that seem to keep being repeatedly asked of me is "Did you find everything O.K.?" or "Did you find everything that you were looking for? How on earth am I supposed to respond to such a question when it's being asked at the check-out counter? Are these cashiers under the impression that I have early dementia and forgot what I came in for, and they need to remind me?

I had to stop myself from laughing when I was told by a clothing store manager that in sales and marketing they call the "Did You Find Everything You Were Looking for" a golden nugget question. Retail consultants say that companies can expect to have a 5-10% increase in sales by using this approach. I have no idea who these sale consultants are, but they themselves can't possibly be real consumers. Companies are insistent that their cashiers ask these questions when customers are paying for their items because they honestly believe that "sometimes" this acts as a memory jogger for other items, and "sometimes" the customer simply could not find what they needed, but did not ask. I personally believe that "sometimes" this might make me want to take my business to another retailer.

My close friends say I'm cynical, I say I’m honest and a realist. Please do not ask me a stupid question and expect me to smile, lie and move on with my day. I recently was grocery shopping and for the third time in a row, the store was out of my brand of yogurt. When I reached the cash register, the bubbly young cashier asked the infamous question "Did you find everything you were looking for today?" I responded with “no”. I told her that when looking for xx brand yogurt, their store was continuously out of it each time I had been in. She was suddenly possessed with a deer in headlights look, which was quickly followed by a look which was nothing short of shear panic. The response? "Oh," "sorry about that," That's it? That’s all I get? Sorry about that? She didn’t offer to help me in any way, inform her manager or even check to see if they had some in the back. She did absolutely nothing with the information. Not that I expected anything to change if she had shared the information with anyone. My only real goal was to get her to stop asking the question in the future.

Business consultants say that a simple question like, "Did you find everything you were looking for today?" is an effective way to make customers feel important, and open up the opportunity for an extra sale in case they couldn't find something they were looking for. My personal opinion is that if you waited until I reached the register to ask me this question you’re not going to make any extra sales. I need to be helped on the sales floor before I’m done shopping. If this store really cared about my business, they would have made sure I didn’t get to the checkout process without being asked that first. I don't know about you but for me, finding an associate to help me these days is like finding a gold nugget in a Cracker Jack box!

The main reason that retailers lose customers is because they show no genuine care or personal attention. We simply just don’t matter to them. If you don’t care about your customers they will go somewhere that will care. I personally feel that these two questions are insulting to a customer’s intelligence. Surely there are other ways to engage your customers, from a customer service perspective. These questions do not make me feel important or appreciated. As a matter of fact they tend to do just the opposite. They always seem to add insult to injury. It patronizes and belittles me. This is how these questions play out in my mind. Cashier: Did you find everything that you wanted? The customer: No, I could not find X product on your shelves. Cashier: Awe that's too bad, how does it feel to want?

The reality is that perhaps I am a bit cynical. I strongly believe that people are motivated more and more by self-interest. These people have no vested interest in what I’m buying or if I had a pleasant shopping experience. I have no idea when these questions started being asked but I can definitely tell you when they need to end! As devious as it may be, next time I am asked this ridiculous question I am going to reply with Well..."I was searching for a reason to live, but since I couldn’t find a single associate in your store to help me … Or in the famous words of that great modern day philosopher "Bono"....and I still haven't found what I’m looking for. Not that they will help me or do anything with the information.


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