This is a story about a customer that I had yesterday. Let me start by saying that she was a regular, not at my store, but a regular shopper at my brand's stores. I had never met her before. I went ahead and changed her name to "Kim," becuase I don't want to use her real name.
Kim came into my store about 2:00 yesterday. I was there until 6:00, and I had been having a pretty rough day, organizing the back room (racks and posters and stuff), and sending out a lot of merchandise to other stores. Needless to say, I really hadn't had any customer interaction all day, and I was ready to take a break from all the hard work and work with a customer for awhile. Anyways, Kim came into my store and I could tell that she was looking for something specific. I approached her and greeted her, then I asked her if she needed any help. She looked so relieved that I was there to help her! She explained to me that she was leaving to go to Nevada on Friday (yesterday was wednesday), and she didn't have anything to wear, so she needed to figure out what she was going to wear that day. She was going to a pre-wedding get-together for her son and his fiance. She was stressed out to the max.
We walked around the store and I showed her some stuff that would be good to wear to that kind of an event. She wanted something not too dressy, but she didn't want it casual, either. I knew then that we were going to be looking for awhile. After we walked around the store for about thirty minutes and she didn't like anything I showed her (too shiny, too thin, too short, too long), she started telling me about the things in her closet. Apparently she had been trying to buy things for a long time for this occasion, but had pretty much only gotten bits and pieces, and not a whole outfit. Finally we decided on a couple of pieces that she thought she could put with her stuff at home to complete a couple of outfits. She was still a little worried that it wasn't going to work out right, so I told her to get her stuff at home and bring it back the next day, and we would match things up for her.
This morning at about 10:00 she came back. She brought a couple of skirts, some jackets, and two sweaters that she had bought from me the day before. I talked her into trying everything on so that we could do some matching. In the end, we created four outfits for her. She was only going to be gone for two days. She was SOO excited!!! The look on her face when I showed her what she could put together and what few more pieces she needed was priceless. She thanked me about ten times and gave me a big hug. She was so thankful and told me that she will be coming back to our store in the near future. She told me that no one had ever helped her put together outfits like that before and she was glad that she found a place that was so helpful.
Another lady that we had come in today was a great customer also. She was pretty shy when she came in, and looked pretty nervous to be there. She looked to be about 30-35 years old, but she was walking with a cane. I greeted her and asked her if she was looking for anything specific. She said that she had never been to my store before and was just looking around to see what we had. I told her that we had some really good sales going on, and I pointed her in the direction of the clearance areas.
A few minutes later she called me over to her. She looked really confused. I asked her what was wrong, and she told me that she didn't know what size she was. Every once in awhile I get a customer like this, but they're usually from overseas and they don't know what American size they are. This lady was from my town. I asked her what size the pants that she had on were. She didn't know. She told me that they were hand-me-downs from a relative of hers. She hadn't bought her own clothes in over TEN YEARS! All of her clothes had the tags removed, so she just wore them based on how they fit, not what size they were. I told her that she should try a size 20 just to get a relative idea of whether she needed to go up or down. She told me that she thought that she probably wore a size 24. We grabbed her a couple of pieces and I led her to the dressing room. She tried on the size 24, and they were too big, so she went to a 22. They were too big also, so she went to a 20. This went on and on until she got down to a size 16. Ten years earlier, she had been a size 24. She had lost almost ten sizes and she didn't even know it! When I was ringing her clothes up at the register, she finally came out of her shell. She had suffered from a stroke a few years earlier and almost didn't make it. She was supposed to be in a nursing home, but her husband refused to leave her there. She was no longer able to drive, and she had to use a cane to walk. She had been through a really rough couple of years and was on the up and up. She was so happy that we helped her get some clothes that actually fit her.
People like these two women are what makes me love to go to work everyday. I always said that I wanted to help people, but I didn't realize when I got into the retail people that I don't just sell clothes, I also help people's self esteem.