November 07, 2007

It's Hard to Find Good Help These Days

A FEW DAYS AGO, The Wall Street Journal's "The Wealth Report" blog had an interesting post on a Troubling and Serious Issue facing America's salespeople. Apparently, the salespeople are now annoyed because -- quelle horreur! -- they can't tell whether the customers are wealthy anymore. This situation means they now have to be nice to everyone.

My initial reaction to this story was to feel good about living in a country that prizes capitalism. After all, there's something to be said for a nation when so many people have money they can do their own thing without giving two cents about what others think of them. Then I got to thinking about it, and I thought: why the devil are the salespeople being smarmy to potential customers?

You would think that salespeople, particularly those selling luxury goods, would realize the master-servant dynamic of such a commercial relationship and exploit it to their benefit. Being nice, last time I checked, has never killed anyone, and neither has providing good service. When you provide good service to a customer, or a potential customer, you are usually rewarded in the end -- either through a commission or a tip or what have you.

This goes especially when your customers actually are wealthy, because they usually have a soft spot for people who do good work for them. Even upper-middle class and middle class consumers would tend to be receptive in such a situation, because they value both the service and the fact the salesman at the fancy boutique did not look down on them. Salesmen, for that matter, have no business looking down on anyone. That's not part of the job description. The job entails selling product and as long as a customer has cash or credit, that should be enough.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at November 7, 2007 10:56 PM | TrackBack
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