A CULTURAL DIFFERENCE?
Let’s say you go into a Bloomingdale's, you wander around for hours, probably with minimal interaction with the sales people, in and out, end of story.
In Israel, where we are known for being too honest, when you walk out of a shop, you say “Thank you”, I think it's the same in Europe.
I noticed in the boutique that women that didn't end up with a purchase feel the need to terminate our short term relationship with a promise for a better future in the form of a commitment to come back.
It was so weird at first, I actually wrote a mental note about someone that needs to come back after lunch, after work, after they pick up the kids, after the Dr. appointment, after they'll lose few pounds, before the next season, after they check their closet....
At some point, it made me feel like a school principal, making the kids feel guilty for being late and staring at them while they think about a creative excuse I haven't heard before.
In 99% of the cases, they don't come back, they were not even thinking about coming back, this sentence by itself is a pretty good indication that I will not see them again…
One time, someone came in with her friend, they were looking around and we could tell they were not interested, there was no spark which is perfectly OK, we are actually very proud to be kind of a niche when it comes to our collections and understand it's for one out of ten.
While walking around with their thick socks tucked in the Teva sandals, one of them whispered to the other: “who would wear THAT"?? Not the spark we were hoping for, nevertheless, on their way out the same women said "you have beautiful stuff (we especially appreciate the "stuff" reference), I'll come back when I have more time". It just blew my mind!
Is it a say? is it a say like "how are you"? Is it a rhetorical statement? Should I respond?
The funny thing is, I never heard it coming from shoppers, just from browsers. I am trying not to analyze it too much, just accept it as a cultural difference, a sensitivity that is not part of the Israeli culture.
Nothing can come between an inspired woman and her new dress, especially not "time". Screw the parking ticket, dinner can wait 10 more minutes and the kids will have to sit patiently while mama is trying on her new best friend!
It really reminds me a story from when we just came from Israel to the USA (right off the boat as they say), about 20 years ago: We lived in a nice suburban neighborhood, the kids would play outside, the concerned mothers watching every move, and once in a while one of them would say “we need to get together”. The first few times I was SO thrilled, I would go back home to tell my husband we are going to dinner with the Smith’s, we are making some American friends.
20 years later, we have never seen the living room of the Smith’s nor their dinner plates.
Just need to get over it.
"Star trek characters never go shopping"
— Douglas Coupland