A few weeks ago I went to a boutique in Gulshan 2 with my mother-in-law who happens to be a renowned singer. During that visit, the salesgirls fawned over us and claimed I could choose anything in the store and they would alter it to my size or re-make it if necessary. Pleased with their amazing service, I ordered a kameez for myself which they promised to alter and have ready as soon as possible. They said I could pay a small advance and make the full payment when I pick it up later, which is the policy for most boutiques. When I returned to pick up my kameez last week, it seemed I had walked into a completely different store. It looked the same, the salesgirls were the same, but the attitude was completely different. Without my celebrity mother-in-law, it appeared they didn’t have much interest in me. My kameez had not been altered properly and when I asked why, they said “It’s meant to be worn like this;” a fact she failed to mention previously. I remained polite and requested that she make the changes I asked for and asked to look at a few more clothes.
It seemed however that they had a problem altering anything I chose, saying uninterestedly, “It will be difficult to change this;” or “The design will be ruined if we alter this;” all the while making me feel extremely uncomfortable and unwelcome. Deliberately ignoring them, I chose three more kameezes and insisted they alter them. When I asked how much advance I need to pay, one of them said derisively, “You still have to pay for the one you ordered last time.” When I pointed out that they had not altered it yet and that I would pay for it when it’s ready, they said, “It’s against our store’s policy to accept an advance, our customers always pay in full so you must pay for everything you ordered now.” Surprised, I asked why they allowed me to pay an advance the last time and they said, “That was different, your mother-in-law bought a lot of expensive clothes last time. Please pay the full amount which comes to Tk_____ or atleast 50 percent. Do you have it?” Shocked, I reached for my visa card (there was a big sign on the front door that said they accept visa and master cards), and seeing this, one of the salesgirls said “Eije arekta problem, cash aney nai” (Here’s another problem, she didn’t bring cash). This was a bit much for me to handle I cancelled my new orders, gave them a piece of my mind and stormed out of the store, without a word of apology from any of them. Sadly, this lack of proper salesmanship is a common problem in this country. Business owners fail to have proper training for their staff to make sure they act professionally and be attentive to all customers alike, which is an integral part of having a successful franchise.