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Consumers Informative - They're Not Talking About You

Review by 73784 on 2009-02-14
This is a review of consumers, not a company, but, based on something I experienced today and, because I have read similar things on this site, I needed to say something.

I was in a shop in Toronto's Chinatown today and the two clerks behind the counter were speaking to each other in Cantonese. Perhaps they should have been paying attention to the customers they were checking out, but they weren't and that is just the way it is sometimes. As the two clerks started laughing, the customers began yelling at them, telling them: "Don't speak about us. What are you saying?"

The clerks were talking about their plans for Valentine's Day. I know this because I speak Cantonese. I'm about as white as you get and no one would know looking at me that I speak Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese and several other languages. I understand many conversations people are having in stores. And I can assure that 99.9% of the time, clerks in a shop who aren't speaking English are NOT talking about you. I promise. They have better things to talk about.

So, please, don't assume that someone is talking about you just because you don't understand. The clerks in the shop were quite upset by these customers' remarks, for good reason.

When you are rude or short with a clerk because you think they are talking about you, you are going to get bad service. Just remember, they are not talking about you.
Comments:10 Replies - Latest reply on 2009-04-12
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-02-14:
It doesn't matter if they are talking about me or not. The simple fact of the matter is that they are not doing their job, which is customer service, and the fact thet they intentionally speak in a foreign language (which presumedly the customer cannot understand) adds rudeness on top of the inattentiveness. It is never acceptable.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-02-14:
I have no problem going into a store where the clerks speaking another language may be talking, amongst themselves when there is not a customer at the counter. However, if they are assisting me with my purchase, I expect to have their full attention until my transaction is complete. Whether they speak cantonese, spanish, tagalog, or even english... it doesnt matter. The personal chit chat can wait until my transaction has been completed.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-02-14:
"THEY" ARE talking about YOU! Hey, I'm talking to YOU.
Posted by Nohandle on 2009-02-14:
financiallyfit, you yourself stated: Perhaps they should have been paying attention to the customers they were checking out. I have a problem when the sales clerks are so busy chatting among themselves that they appear to find a customer is an inconvenience, language barrier or not. I have wondered sometimes when a clerk speaks perfect English and then converses in another language to another employee if it is the usual chitchat that should take place at another time. You've answered that question.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-02-14:
I don't disagree with any one you. Of course they should be paying attention to customers and doing their job. I would love if every customer service rep did their job and kept chit chat for later, but it doesn't always happen. My problem is with people who automatically assume the workers are talking about the customers just because the customer doesn't understand. This isn't the first time I've heard this sort of thing in a store and it likely won't be the last.
Posted by Ben There on 2009-02-14:
Well said John. I don't care what language people are speaking as long as they do a good job.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-02-14:
financiallyfit, every action causes a reaction. If the workers had been performing the action of good and attentive customer service they would not have received the reaction of displeasure and accusation from the customer(s). You are correct in one thing: as long as their are inattentive CSR's, you have not heard the last of this.
Posted by Principissa on 2009-02-14:
I'd be upset too and I speak 8 languages fluently. When you are at work and dealing with a customer your focus should be 100% on them. And to speak in a foreign language in front of a customer who may or may not speak that language is a slap in the face. For all I know that clerk was giving my credit card number to the other employee. When I am making a transaction I want that CSR's undivided attention until that transaction is complete and if not I will walk out.
Posted by Ju_ju_Bee on 2009-02-16:
...harsh... People are people.. I have no problem with idle chit chat at a register..as long as I can join in.
Posted by Failalot on 2009-04-12:
It's amazing how narcissistic people can be these days.
People aren't doing their job if they're talking to each other?
They "intentionally speak in a foreign language"?!
You, dear first poster, sound like a NAZI!
Holy crap, has the day finally come where the modern world no longer welcomes diversity?
I bet you five dollars that they would not consider Cantonese a foreign language! Dx
People are people...Not service droids.
Anyone who expects complete english speaking attention all the time needs to go become a drill seargent for the US Army. Store clerks are not soldiers.

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