Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Enduring Impoliteness

I had written this for the second edit column

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Today when we step out of the houses, our usual stops are at the multiplexes and malls. Whether one likes it or not, the malls - with their promises of sops, and a 'lifetime experience' - are here to say. With so many new malls, stores, designer boutiques are coming up every other day, there's stiff competition to win more and more clients and customers with 'sales', 'discount rates' and 'membership cards'.
It is a haven for both the shopaholics and for those who indulge in it occasionally. But, what dims the 'lifetime experience' is the demeanour of the staff on the floor who are supposed to guide and help you choose from the vast array of stocks. The experience, at least in my case, has been an indifferent attitude, half nods and fingers pointed in vague direction.
The plausible reasons, which I have come up with for their downright rude behaviour, are that they are ill at ease in their professional attire and the language (English) they have to speak in. The staff tries to cover up its inadequacies under the garb of 'being indifferent'.
I am not being snobbish nor do I intend to put down the youngsters who do not feel comfortable in the 'uber cool' environs of the work place. To make the experience good for both the customers and the employees, I would suggest that the employers/management encourage the staff to extend the same courtesies and warmth, which they are supposed to say in English, in the local and the national language. In our case, Marathi and Hindi.
If the management wishes to stick to English, then it's high time they enrolled the staff in the introductory course of the language and as an added bonus gave them training in etiquette and conducting themselves gracefully.
More than the pricing and the sale offers, what remains with the customers long after the clothes tear, the treatment they received in the stores or the malls. A bright smile and courteous behaviour will ensure that the customer returns to the store again and again.
It's time to brush up on those Ps and Qs!

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