Way too many Colombo stores seem to think it’s OK to silently follow customers around and just stare at them. It’s not. It’s just creepy and weird.
Recently we went to Leather Collection. The manager immediately started following us like five feet behind. It was so obnoxious. They don’t even greet you or anything, they just follow you around like you’re a criminal. It’s a really bad way to run a store and it’s plain rude in human terms.
You know that feeling when you get when someone is staring at you? It’s creepy. A lot of customer service staff seem to think that this is their job, but their weirdness just turns people off. Now I just leave because I feel like their staff wants to molest me.
Another time Shru was at Cool Planet and the Manager asked her to stop writing prices down. I guess not taking photos is one thing (kinda self-defeating in the social media age), but not writing? He said she might publish the prices (which we will) but that’s even more absurd. The right to speech including publication is in the Sri Lankan Constitution, if you want to go that far. You can write and think what you want and shop managers aren’t mini-tyrants.
Israel Grade Security
Neither should their staff be mini secret police. Shoplifting is an issue, but there are much more effective ways to prevent theft than stalking your customers. For example, look at how the Israelis do airport security. There’s no are few airports terrorists would like to blow up more, yet they do it without stalking everybody personally. The Israelis have trained staff that ask passengers a few simple questions, where are you going, what’s in your bag. Based on the responses (nervous, rushed) they single out 2-5% of people for additional screening, which is hardcore.
The application to Sri Lanka is that managers or customer service can just greet customers and have a normal conversation (which they should be doing anyways). From that you can tell who’s suspicious. More importantly, it makes the customer feel at home and among friends, which in turn makes them more likely to buy your stuff.
Sri Lankan Stalkiness
Sadly, the basic Sri Lankan security model gets neither security nor prosperity for shop-owners. The current behavior is that the staff doesn’t greet the customer at all, they just silently follow them, staring at them from behind. I mean, really? In what other context is that polite? It’s not. When a stranger follows you around just staring at you silently, that’s called stalking. It’s creepy and a bit illegal. This creepy customer service has got to stop.
Tell us if you have any similar experiences, we’ll collect a list and contact the managers of these stores. These guys need to know in order to change.