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Your job is selling, not spying

entertainment Updated: Apr 25, 2010 01:58 IST
Vinod Nair
Vinod Nair
Hindustan Times
Qutub minar

Last week, I visited our fashion designers’ haven, Qutub At The Crescent near the Qutub Minar in Delhi. It’s been really long since I have been there and I really wanted to know how the shops were doing and what kind of merchandise did they sold.

Barring a couple of stores that I visited, I must say the store people looked at my visit to most shops with unwarranted skepticism. It was not because they recognised who I was (well, even if they did there was no need for those suspicious looks), but because they thought I was there to steal their designs! One lady at a store even asked me, “Are you from this industry?” She later apologised and said this is what they are supposed to ask those who make the mistake of walking into stores the way I did. In another store, I saw the signage saying ‘photography was prohibited’.It was obvious that some of our designers are still wary of people copying their designs. They ask their store managers to keep an eye out for suspicious people walking into their stores to copy their designs. And the store managers in turn, ask awkward questions.

But can copying be checked this way? I suspect not. If I ever decide to copy their designs and then hope to sell them in dozens or hundreds at cheaper prices, I won’t walk in there to memorise the styles or photograph them. I will just go and buy the styles that I like.

The job of retail staff should ideally be to sell and not investigate. They have to be courteous first to make the customer happy and comfortable. On the contrary, most people I found were either hostile or nonchalant. They were either too curious or just couldn’t care less.

What’s really needed is well-spoken and well-mannered sales staff to make a sale. If the customer is not treated nicely, he/she will not walk in there again. So courtesy is what they need to show when people walk into their stores. If that is not provided to the consumer, their clothes are bound to just hang on their racks.