Overstaffed Store

10:41 PM

December 1st, a new store opened in Bangalore. What kind of store? The second most dangerous kind of store for me after a bookshop : A Home decor and furniture store.

It's not exactly a new concept in India, they already have a couple of those around the country, but this shop is new. Mostly because it's bigger than all the others.

December 3rd, I decided to have a look at that new store...hard to keep me away from a home decor heaven really.
I stepped into the "lobby" area which is decorated with Poinsettias or Christmas Star as we call them in French (perfect for that time of the year). I was greeted immediately by the doorman (whose jobe is to hold the door for customers) and immediately after him was greeted by another employe inside. I didn't do 10 steps that a third guy came to welcome me again, and offered his assistance in the process. He explained to me were I could find what and then finally was alone wandering throug the shop...not for long though! I stepped in the candles section and a lady came asking if I needed any help. I told her politely that I was just looking around. 20 meters away was the potted plants section, and I had my eyes on the poinsettias. I loved them in Switzerland and I wanted a little Xmas spirit in my home.Two persons jumped on me offering their assistance the instant I looked like I was yes indeed interested in something. So, I asked questions about the care this plant need (I have a brown thumb, any help there is good help), they provided lots of infos and asked if I will take the plant...I told them I wanted to explore the 1st Floor and then come back.

First Floor...rinse and repeat. I was greeted by the curtain guy, then the towel guy, then the cushion lady. And at this point I started to feel very unconfortable, because all I wanted was to be left alone and have a look around without being asked every two minutes if I needed help. I noticed that more than half the persons present in the store were employees ready to assist any customer wandering by.
I went back to the ground floor to check what they had in the kitchen section, and again 2-3 persons jumped on me offering their help...ARRRRGH!

I headed back to the plants section, announced that I'll take the poinsettia and they sent it to the cash counter while I tried to have a look at the candles again. Two employees in tow, describing and showing me every candles in store, while the only thing that mattered to me was the price tag and whether it was smelling Christmassy. After 10 minutes in the candles section, I told them very diplomaticaly that I will come back another day for more shopping. That today I was here just to have a look. I took 3 candles, kept my shopping party happy by asking more questions about the store and announcing that I was part of the reward program offered by the department store to which HomeStop (the name of the shop) is part. Five persons proceed to cash my bill, put my goods in a nice bag and hand it carefully to me. In the 20 meters I had to cover from the cash counter to the exit I'm wished a nice day by 7 or 8 persons.

I love the quality of service in India (it really sucks in Switzerland) but there it was a bit extreme really. I felt more pressurised to buy something, anything than anything else. The main reason for that overload of attention was that the shop is new and not many pepole know about it yet. I hope that in a couple of weeks thing will be a bit less awkward and that I'll be able to shop peacefully.


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