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HappyinHeels

When Silence Tells All

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Hey All,

Many of you from kneehighs, HiStiletto, Shafted, et al have written about how the freedom for men to wear heels as they wish already exists but it is blunted by the frequent mental barriers erected in their heads based on what other people may think or may say upon seeing them in heels whether or not these things ever get said at all. Some members have noted that the only outward sign of negativity was a long stare or the silent treatment.

Yesterday evening I went to Nordstrom Rack on the north side of Chicago dressed in a Bakers knit cap, a Kenneth Cole Reaction coat with the belt around the middle, black bootcut jeans, and black wedge heels. I scoped out sandals and pumps, tried on a Mia macrame wedge, a Marco Santi platfrom sandal, and a Jessica Simpson sandal (a total of just $81) and then went back to the "Shoe Mate" counter at the back of the store. FOr those unfmiliar with "the Rack" the store stocks the right shoe on the shelf and customers take that shoe to the rear of the store so it be can be matched with the left shoe. Under this system no boxes are used and they can fit far more product on the shelf.

There were a guy and girl at the counter and I said to the guy, "I have three of them for you." I waited several minutes before he emerged with the three pairs of sandals. No greeting, no clarification, and no thank you was said by either himself or the girl there, in fact, not one word was uttered. It was clear they scoped me out and clammed up. This is probably as bad it will ever get for any of you so I thought I'd pass it along. All one needs to know is contained in the silence. When I paid up front then I related my experience to the cashier. I reminded her that after having seen Steve Madden close half their stores in 2011, and Bakers closing 2/3 of their stores in 2012, that there was little room for staff indifference. I stated that ALL customers should be welcomed equally since the currency in their pockets is also of equal value. I spoke my peace.

This goes to the point that others have made; be confident and stand your ground. Like Vince Lombardi said many times, "when you reach the end zone act like you've been there before." Our "goal line" is the point where we realize (even demand) that we be treated with same level of respect as any dignified human being should enjoy. Like one wise member said; "act like you belong in those boots". HappyinHeels

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Good for you for this thread, and for saying what you did to that snot of a cashier. Word of mouth when it comes to poor customer service spreads like wildfire, and with retail in shaky condition due to the crappy economy, that is serious trouble. I agree that we DO have to stand our ground and DEMAND to be respected just like everyone else, regardless of how we happen to be dressed. I consider myself lucky that I've never been treated as shabbily as you have, and I've been in stores wearing spike heels, thigh high boots and short skirts. Most retailers get it, that customers have to be treated like royalty so they'll spend their money, and come back to spend more. Bottom line, when greeted by silence, it would behoove us to take the initiative and speak up.

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Well done that you spoke up Happy, silly people not realizing that you are paying there salary.

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It's often not the fault of the employees, but the fault of management for not training them better. If the cashier doesn't like his or her job, has a snotty attitude, or doesn't treat customers well, he or she should be fired and replaced. Unless you know differently, you should ask to see the manager and point out any bad customer service you receive. The manager can't always be on top of everything that every employee does, and feedback from the customer can go a long way toward training the employee to be a better one or the employee can be replaced by a better one. Steve

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Hey All, Thanks for the comments.

Steve63130-Sure it would have been more effective to speak to the manager at the time instead of to the cashier checking me out but there's still a week left in the OVERALL holiday shoppng season considering after-Christmas sales and clearance so chances are the same people will be working the "Shoe Mate" counter at the Rack. I should go in dressed in the same cap and jacket but, instead of stealhy black wedges, wear some boots with more noticeable stiletto heels. That ought to be give some defnition to the situation :). I don't know how soon I'll really be back there but you do have me thinking. It will get worked out one way or another. HappyinHeels

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HappyinHeels, It's the Christmas season. New hires to handle the workload and they're gone after new years. Standard operating practice. That should explain it.

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HappyinHeels,

It's the Christmas season. New hires to handle the workload and they're gone after new years. Standard operating practice. That should explain it.

Then I know the first place I'm applying at after New Years' ;)

Granted my store goes or went no where..

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Maybe they have never seen men buying heels before? It should not mattered anyway! If could be for you, or for someone else, but it should not matter. Its their job to respect and be welcoming to every customer without regards to gender. I went into american eagle outfitters to get a pair of girls jeans. I picked up a pair of size 4 long. I was on my way to the change room. The male attendant asked if I found everything okay. I said could you find me a pair like this in a size 2 long (I know I'm supermodel skinny!) He said very rude: these are womens jeans!! I said, please bore someone else with your comments! He brought me a size 2 short! I asked for a size 2 long. I told him he brought the wrong lenght I asked for. I told him ill shop somewhere else where I can get treated properly! The manager overheard everything and probably sent him home or something. I now shop at a different location with no problems. What it comes down to, a costomer will not come back is he is treated poorly. I bad experience for a customer, and lost revenue for a store. Very unacceptable in this hurtiing recession!

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When I bought my latest heels (www.hhplace.org/topic/7858-who-has-bought-some-new-shoes/page__st__4960#entry303721) I was served by a male assistant who spoke to me and didn't have a problem with what I was buying, even as I was not paying full price. Maybe HappyinHeels was just unlucky, maybe the assistants thought that given other retailers failures their jobs may be marginally safer but who knows ? The main issue is that if the attitude they showed is/becomes pervasive, all us heel lovers of whatever gender will loose out. For me that would be a big problem as shoes are one of the few things that can't be bought online; unless you have prefectly sized feet that match the makers' last.

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So far, the oddest (not unpleasant, mind you) experience was in a Burlington Coat Factory. Nordstrom Rack, no problem. DSW, no problem. Nine West Outlet, again, no problem. Either it's far more common than I thought in this area, or people unsurprisingly don't care, or I'm just a person people feel comfortable around. On thing I noticed that was interesting that Chicagoland Nordstrom Rack's have the shoes set up like that. Here in Missouri, they are in pairs in boxes (not always the original), and may have anti-theft devices depending on the brand. I saw at least two to three men buying women's shoes prior to Christmas, so for that sort of poor customer service, they need better training. Better to focus on the business at hand, or talk about some other subject rather than get caught up on 'this is a man buying size XX shoes.' More important things in life.

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inquisitor, While some Chicagoland stores are set up that way the store on State Street in the Loop is set up with the shoes in their boxes and, it is my understanding, more Nordstrom rack stores are moving to that format. The State Street store has the biggest clearance I ever seen or dreampt of which is why I refer to it as "Heel Disneyland".I think Shafted had it exactly right when he said the extra help hired for the holidays will soon be gone and the problem will resolve itself. I've tried on shoes many times in the all the stores you mentioned and never had any reaction. The silent treatment by the Rack store employees at the shoe mate counter was different but far from insurmountable. My entire reason for mentioning it was to highlight what others finding their way might encounter. Just stand your ground by standing for dignity! HappyinHeels

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