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Old 20.02.2011, 01:58
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

ikea is not globus or jelmoli.

if you are shopping at ikea, you should (...) know that you will have to choose the right items, pick them up yourself, load them into your car, have the right car for transporting them, etc. shopping at ikea means: you get it cheaper, but you have to think a little bit more in advance.

so don't criticise the concept for having other expectations.
would be like hoping for a dry aged fillet steak in my whopper.

kindness & helpfulness of staff: as ye sow, so shall ye reap.
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  #142  
Old 20.02.2011, 06:15
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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ikea is not globus or jelmoli.

if you are shopping at ikea, you should (...) know that you will have to choose the right items, pick them up yourself, load them into your car, have the right car for transporting them, etc. shopping at ikea means: you get it cheaper, but you have to think a little bit more in advance.

so don't criticise the concept for having other expectations.
would be like hoping for a dry aged fillet steak in my whopper.

kindness & helpfulness of staff: as ye sow, so shall ye reap.
This is exactly right!

It doesn't make any sense that you have to drag your own furniture from the warehouse, assemble it yourself at home yet some how the people at the depot are going to load your car for you!? You went to the wrong store. Try Roche Bubois instead.
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  #143  
Old 20.02.2011, 08:36
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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This is exactly right!

It doesn't make any sense that you have to drag your own furniture from the warehouse, assemble it yourself at home yet some how the people at the depot are going to load your car for you!? You went to the wrong store. Try Roche Bubois instead.
If they begin to offer this service, they will need extra staff so it means extra cost so more expensive goods.

I like Ikea the way it is. If I want more, I go somewhere else!

When you shop, smile, smile, smile! And smile some more! The clerk may have been dealing with a few jerks before you and your smile will make a difference...
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  #144  
Old 20.02.2011, 09:06
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

Many years ago I used to work in the service industry in Davos. On 90% of occasions English or Americans would speak to me straight away in English. I initially polite and spoke in English (being English) Then it started to irritate me that they made no effort to speak the local language so I pretended not to speak English and enjoyed their confusion. I think it is important to make some effort. I speak no French and I am lost in France (like bonnie Tyler) Well actually I know some French but only "Je suis dans la salle de classe avec Claudette" ....seems to work with French waiters as they then speak English
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  #145  
Old 20.02.2011, 13:13
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Many years ago I used to work in the service industry in Davos. On 90% of occasions English or Americans would speak to me straight away in English. I initially polite and spoke in English (being English) Then it started to irritate me that they made no effort to speak the local language so I pretended not to speak English and enjoyed their confusion. I think it is important to make some effort. I speak no French and I am lost in France (like bonnie Tyler) Well actually I know some French but only "Je suis dans la salle de classe avec Claudette" ....seems to work with French waiters as they then speak English
I think it's actually a no-win game. I speak French, German and am trying to learn Baseldeutsch. I will make no grammatical errors and speak with no English accent immediately after my house is perfectly clean all hours of the day and my children never make mistakes. Seriously! I'm working on all three . . . it's a little stressful.

Back to the point though . . . I ALWAYS begin my conversations in the local language. But, am often greeted by eye rolls and a response in English. There often seems to be an implied "How dare you think I can't speak English?"

To me, knowing the local language in a service situation only seems to allow you to navigate a bit better between which the individual seems to find least offensive.

Also, if you don't know the language, as others have said, being able to say that PLUS "I just moved here" in that language can go a long way.
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  #146  
Old 20.02.2011, 13:24
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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. I ALWAYS begin my conversations in the local language. But, am often greeted by eye rolls and a response in English. There often seems to be an implied "How dare you think I can't speak English?"
Very conviniant theory for the ones who need the last push to give up learning the local language and keep their empire-colonial attitude about English. As I do not think that you are a colonial b*st*rd, just keep trying and keep learing, one day, your language skills will be good enough for the locals not to switch to English. I experienced that in Danmark and Netherlands, I know the feeling, I sympathise.

I have another theory:
"you" means in this context not Sleepless but other people who are just not good enough in the lingo to be understood easily, even if they put efforts in it.
They mean actually "how dare you work so little on your language skills?" kind of attitude warning you about the fact that a new language is hard work and that by the sound of it, you underestimated it, keep working on it until we can actually understand something. The actual level of language command demanded by the locals is nothing we outsiders can do anything about, even if it is really unfair in some countries. We all have to live with it in our different languages in different countries and accept it.

Yes, the whole world speaks basic english and should keep learning it... but we do not learn English in order to make your life easier but to make our lives easier.
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  #147  
Old 20.02.2011, 16:58
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Very conviniant theory for the ones who need the last push to give up learning the local language and keep their empire-colonial attitude about English. As I do not think that you are a colonial b*st*rd, just keep trying and keep learing, one day, your language skills will be good enough for the locals not to switch to English. I experienced that in Danmark and Netherlands, I know the feeling, I sympathise.

I have another theory:
"you" means in this context not Sleepless but other people who are just not good enough in the lingo to be understood easily, even if they put efforts in it.
They mean actually "how dare you work so little on your language skills?" kind of attitude warning you about the fact that a new language is hard work and that by the sound of it, you underestimated it, keep working on it until we can actually understand something. The actual level of language command demanded by the locals is nothing we outsiders can do anything about, even if it is really unfair in some countries. We all have to live with it in our different languages in different countries and accept it.

Yes, the whole world speaks basic english and should keep learning it... but we do not learn English in order to make your life easier but to make our lives easier.
I think the OP's original language was also not English?

I only think it's put me off from making any hint of frustration here on the forum. I'll try to continue only with practical advice.

But, you're right, whatever the percentage, more people should make the effort to learn the language.

It was only a personal reaction to the statement about starting in English vs the local language. I'm fluent enough to do my taxes, read the papers and novels, have business meetings, and have social friendships in these languages (excepting Baseldeutsch). I still work hard on them each day and hope to continue improve. It hurts when I get the 'eye roll.' Knowing the language is a very different skill from speaking it without an accent.

I know and have seen that situations like these can be discouraging for someone who is in the process of learning and just recently immigrated. Also, as probably in the OP's case, someone who already speaks several languages fluently, but just not this one yet. There's also an assumption that if your mother tongue is English, you're a colonial b*st*rd.

What I said sarcastically, is very true. People can get offended either way. We can not control their reactions, but we can our own. Learning the local language will help to smooth most social interactions, but it will not guarantee them. Learning the language is however, absolutely necessary in order to integrate and also appreciate fully another culture.

So, I guess I'm adding my two cents to the very practical advice of:
1. Learn to say "Bonjour" and either 'I just moved or am learning French'. Make your own best effort.
2. Take a deep breath, thinking 'It's Ikea,' "He's had a bad day," etc. And continue your efforts to be gracious.

Step 2 is the point I think Faltrad has misunderstood me on -- probably from my earlier statement of frustration. I switch from the local language to English or vice versa, depending on the situation. I try to follow their lead in order to have the most pleasant interaction -- swallowing any hurt pride and moving on.
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  #148  
Old 21.02.2011, 11:50
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Veering slightly off topic... my husband and I went for a Chinese meal on a Sunday evening at Stadelhofen, very friendly service (I insisted on trying to speak in German and they insisted on replying in English!)
I speak fluent Swiss German (no detectable accent) and in every Chinese restaurant here (be it any of the Suan Longs or another), I'd say that 50% of the time, they respond in English because they don't know German very well. Ironically, the Chinese in Zurich seem to know better English than the Chinese in USA...

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...When I was a student, my GF and I got shouted at once (this was in Germany mind you) for running up an escalator that was going the other way. The escalator was going real slow and there was nobody coming the other way so we really weren't getting in anybody's way. Eventually the manager came out and rather than telling the jobsworth to f*** off, he joined in the shouting telling us that we shouldn't do that. I bet these people eat bile for breakfast.
Having seen someone fall flat on their face running up an escalator the wrong way, I can totally see why they told you to stop. It's a liability if you fall down and injure yourself. Even if you don't sue, they don't want to have to call an ambulance and close down part of the store because some idiot didn't wanna use the escalators the right way and cracked his skull open. I would have told you to stop, too.

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...but I have had more positive experiences than negative ones in France and Germany (and Switzerland for that matter) just by attempting the languages. While learning German most folks were just happy to see a foreigner giving it a go.
While that's certainly true with the French, and in Germany, I can't disagree more about Switzerland (or the Zurich metropolis, at least). When we moved here, I was a kid so I picked up German pretty quickly. But even after almost 2 decades, my Mom still speaks a somewhat broken mish-mash of standard German and Swiss German. Invariably, if a salesperson or cashier has heard me and Mom speaking English to each other, they will respond to us in English, even if explicitly addressed in German. It got to the point where, for my mom to be able to learn German, we had to say "Mir chönnd scho dütsch!" (Of course, if someone politely asked "May I practice English with you?", we were happy to oblige.)
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Old 21.02.2011, 12:14
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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I think it depends on the sales person. When I was working in a café, I would constantly have exchanges like this:

Me: Hello!
Customer: 2 coffees and a tea [please].
Me: *sigh*

I got so fed up of these initial encounters (which I'm sure the customer didn't think was rude, but that made me feel like I was just some sort of machine, that they didn't even see a person behind the counter), that I started having exchanges like this:

Me: Hello!
Customer: 2 coffees and a tea [please].
Me: Hello!
Customer: *confused expression*
Me: Hello!
Customer: Erm... hello... *looks at me like I'm a serial killer* Please may I have 2 coffees and a tea?
Me: Certainly.

Why on earth these people found it strange that I required a "hello" in return for my own I don't know. I just wanted to point out that, sometimes, the service you will receive depends on your initial impression. People in customer service get fed up with things that may seem trivial to the public, but that they have to put up with all the time.

Of course, some people are just grumpy sods.
I probably would have looked at you a little weird, too.

When I worked in retail (most recently, at a premium computer/electronics purveyor), I was always lauded for my customer service skills. (Every single customer survey gave me top marks except one, from a woman who was apparently so distracted by my piercings that she couldn't focus on a word I said.)

A lot of the issues with customer service in retail, I think, stem from the retail industry being treated like grunt work. It takes special, talented people to happily deal with the public on a daily basis, but the low pay and other issues means that those very people soon leave for better opportunities, leaving behind pools of folks who shouldn't be anywhere near customers. They're only in retail because they can't find anything else.

If retail paid better, I'd do it again -- I enjoy it. But not enough to deal with irregular hours, asshat managers, and idiotic promotions and programs from corporate yahoos who have never spent a day on the shop floor. I actually miss the customers.

(If I were a retail manager, I'd pay better and hire good people. I wouldn't want soulless, people-hating bozos interacting with my customers! Only Apple, Starbucks, and a handful of others seem to get this -- and even then, it's never 100%.)


The coffee story above also reminds me of a fantastic anecdote from the amazing Not Always Right:

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(I’m working in a diner at the crack of dawn. A surly trucker sits down at the counter.)

Me: “Good morning, can I start you with something to drink?”

Customer: “Coffee. Now.”

Me: “I’m sorry, we’re all out of ‘coffee now’. All we have left is ‘coffee please’.”
An anecdote of mine:
When I was working for the aforementioned electronics vendor, a (gay) coworker/friend of mine was working as a technician. A customer came in to get his gadget fixed, but refused to get off the phone the entire time. (I think that's incredibly rude.) Anyway, my friend tried to get the customer's attention to tell him he could replace the broken gadget, for which he needed some additional info. So the customer says to the person on the phone: "Hold on a sec, this faggot here is trying to tell me something." Upon which my friend slammed the broken gadget on the counter and said "Sorry, there's nothing I can do" and walked off. (And the managers refused to have any of the other techs replace the gadget!)
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  #150  
Old 21.02.2011, 12:58
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Having seen someone fall flat on their face running up an escalator the wrong way, I can totally see why they told you to stop. It's a liability if you fall down and injure yourself. Even if you don't sue, they don't want to have to call an ambulance and close down part of the store because some idiot didn't wanna use the escalators the right way and cracked his skull open. I would have told you to stop, too.
There is a difference between telling people to stop and shouting at them for 10 minutes and continuing to shout at them and threaten them even when they try to walk away. You know, with a bit of friendliness I might have started liking that store or God forbid, even have ended up buying something. Oh, but I forget, that would make extra work for the staff. The customer is a nuisance, life would be better without him.
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  #151  
Old 21.02.2011, 14:42
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman



Now here'to teach you some good behavior with your customers
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  #152  
Old 21.02.2011, 16:04
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Me: Hello!
Customer: 2 coffees and a tea [please].
Me: Hello!
Customer: *confused expression*
Me: Hello!
Customer: Erm... hello... *looks at me like I'm a serial killer* Please may I have 2 coffees and a tea?
Me: Certainly.
I waited a while, too, and honestly, while I do think people should be polite and all, I do not think my role was to give a crash course on manners, either. There are so many times I greeted the staff here who was busy chitchatting to another staff about their personal stuff, while customers waited, etc. and then said hello and did nothing until you said hello back, unbelievably arrogant, especially if they were already greeted but ignored it. I do not think when people's minds are brainfarting and already busy with what they would like to order, it is appropriate to stomp our waiter's feet and demand being acknowledged. Usually people who are kinda bugged about their job or need to be smiled at all times and need to feel appreciated at all times, would be peeved by this, I totally didn't care when I worked in retailing and behind a counter. It's like when I worked as a nurse, I cared very little if patients actually followed some procedure of common curtesy, time was vauable to me and them, so one put up with a lot, ignoring it. So, while I totally get your point (and love your posts), I think our role as clerks is not dwelve on customers' politeness, but rather, do a good customer service. If people do not respond, their bad. Not ours.

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The collection depot is the worst though.
Yes. I could care less that they don't help loading, they have their own work, I wouldn't expect that. But the fact those yodels gave us a wrong fridge right before xmas and had us wait 3 months for the one we actually bought, while the wrong fridge couldn't even fit into out cabinet, that was very irksome. They came to replace it when we didn't really need a bigger frigo anymore. They dispatched a wrong product, then wanted us to rent a van on our own, pay for it, and come for the right product we actually bought. Unbelievable. The sad thing is, they tried to push us, knowing, some not as assertive folks would actually do this. Yikes.

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..One even thinks the IKEA catalog is good bedtime literature (I joke you not).
How dare you... When's the next recycling day?

I love Ikea. I love their meatballs, their family approach, kiddie garderie, the food is 20% of price elsewhere. The quality of stuff they sell, mostly crap. But, it costs little, so folks who are skint actually have some remotly furniture resembling stuff at home..
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  #153  
Old 21.02.2011, 16:34
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Of course, some people are just grumpy sods.
Of course some people just want their tea/coffee and don't give a damn about you and just want their frikin' tea/coffee.
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  #154  
Old 25.02.2011, 11:46
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Something quite in principle. Wherever you are in the world, try to greet people in the local language and then continue in English or French. This is a very basic rule and works quite universally.

And of course, where does customer service "exist" ? To be mentioned are the USA, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey. But the U.K., France or Germany are definitely NOT among the league
Can't say I have been everywhere in the world, but Switzerland is one (similar to Germany and France but UK are way better!) where customer service is really poor. I have never in another country where I have been:
- Shouted at...
- Called an "inbreath german farmer"
- Got eye-rolled, "sighed" and grunted at on a daily basis
- Get treatment as a shoplifter (i.e. the salesman follows you around, annoying as hell)
etc.

And this is still due to the fact that I speak the local language...

It's the only country in the world where you as a customer has to treat the salesman with silk gloves...

You as a customer should be glad that you are allowed to take up their precious time and buy their products...

And can we please stop comparing to other countries once for all, it is not relevant...only because they have sucky service is Germany does NOT excuse to have sucky service here...
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  #155  
Old 25.02.2011, 11:53
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Not an excuse but the reason. Add to this that sales personnel in the Romandie react rather aggressively to Swiss German speakers who do not at least try to speak French. So that the thing above was just a tiny bit of this problem.

It right today had nice service at the Tsarina in Seefeld by a nicely Swiss German speaking very nice Russian girl ! and at Coop across the road from a cashier of Iranian origin. And on Thursday evening at the Wollishofen Supermarkt near the Shamrock the tremendously nice service of that Moroccan girl from Meknes, often around in that place

And yesterday at one of the local Coops got served at the cashiers desk by one of the two "aging" and a bit grumpily looking but quite humourous and competent "cashier-ladies". Helpful and nice.

And also yesterday, at the local ZKB, by one of the best members of that superb small team they have there, who manages to give you the feeling that this ZKB station has just been built for YOU !

True, my personal technique has always been to give personnel anywhere the message that they were exactly the advisor I was looking forward to meet, and it almost always works YOUR positive attitude helps, but if you look like the definite complainer, they will retreat into their shell
Yes I know how to "handle" the situation in shop here, it's the reality here and we have to (sadly) deal with it, because you are dealing with a ticking time bomb...

I just feels that it weird that you as a customer has to contribute (except for buying their products which in turns give them their salaries, but that is not relevant) to get a sufficient service...

But it's like the common attitude here..."if you do not like it go somewhere else..."...and I guess that is what people are doing...
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  #156  
Old 25.02.2011, 12:31
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

I haven't been to Turkey so can't say what service is like there. But in the USA I don't think really service is better. Salespeople are more focussed on getting a sale and will go the extra mile to sell something, but that's not always the same as going the extra mile to serve me. One thing I've really rarely heard salespeople say in the US is "we don't sell X but this or that shop does so go there instead". They much rather say, "we don't sell X, but X is cr*p anyway, you should buy Y which we do sell". Many US shopkeepers have a "if we don't stock it you don't need it" attitude rather than "the customer is always right so even if prefers a useless overpriced product over the 1A product we want to sell him, we get him what he wants rather than what we want". Just sometimes in small mom and pop shops you get that service, but elsewhere it's rare.

Some of the most honest service I've ever received was in a small village in Spain and also once in a little town in Poland where the salesperson explained things to me in great detail and ended up advsing me not to buy any of his stuff at all as he said the product that best suited me was one I could get in another shop. I felt so humbled by the honesty of the salesperson that I gave him a good tip for his time.
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  #157  
Old 25.02.2011, 22:11
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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I speak fluent Swiss German (no detectable accent) and in every Chinese restaurant here (be it any of the Suan Longs or another), I'd say that 50% of the time, they respond in English because they don't know German very well. Ironically, the Chinese in Zurich seem to know better English than the Chinese in USA...
Does Zurich has the better English Language courses on offer ?
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Old 25.02.2011, 22:21
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

I have to say that the place where the customer services was THE WORST EVER was the Netherlands, they have an awful "it is not my problem" attitude! But I still love them!
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Old 25.02.2011, 22:34
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Can't say I have been everywhere in the world, but Switzerland is one (similar to Germany and France but UK are way better!) where customer service is really poor. I have never in another country where I have been:
- Shouted at...
- Called an "inbreath german farmer"
- Got eye-rolled, "sighed" and grunted at on a daily basis
- Get treatment as a shoplifter (i.e. the salesman follows you around, annoying as hell)
etc.

And this is still due to the fact that I speak the local language...

It's the only country in the world where you as a customer has to treat the salesman with silk gloves...

You as a customer should be glad that you are allowed to take up their precious time and buy their products...

And can we please stop comparing to other countries once for all, it is not relevant...only because they have sucky service is Germany does NOT excuse to have sucky service here...
<> the "good customer service" in the U.K. is something fixed in the minds of many Brits but as real as a Fata Morgana while sure, I still remember the "old" lady who in autumn 72 near Paddington Station each morning had "my" FT ready for me. I on holiday trips visited her shop
for many years but one year she told me that she was finally retiring. THIS was good traditional British service and presumably what so many Brits still are dreaming about. But REAL British service is when British Airways needs a few hours to get a 20kg airfreight parcel from Larnaca to London but TWO full days to get it onward to Zurich, when people at FlightGlobal/FlightInternational need more than three days to reply to a very simple info request. Good traditional British service however is when a supplier of aircraft and truck models carefully hides a delicate truck models under the wings of a large Super-VC-10 model.

<> I am never shouted at by sales personnel here in Switzerland ..... whatever the reason (in fact also not abroad)

<> I am not eye-rolled nor grunted at ......... neither do I get treated as a shoplifter (not in Switzerland and not elsewhere)

<> I have never heard a term similar to "inbr.... German farmer" you might clarify this a bit

<> I do not treat sales personnel with silk gloves, but neither do I treat them as if they were my slaves

<> and, yes, you sometime get the feeling that

<> not compare ? but you compare all the time, with some non-existant heaven somewhere in the galaxy

<> and yes, many need their time to discuss vital topics with their colleagues and feel molested when being asked questions. This can be a problem. Best you stand beside them and start to participate to some extent in their discussion. They suddenly have all the time in the world for you
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Old 25.02.2011, 22:43
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Yes I know how to "handle" the situation in shop here, it's the reality here and we have to (sadly) deal with it, because you are dealing with a ticking time bomb...

I just feels that it weird that you as a customer has to contribute (except for buying their products which in turns give them their salaries, but that is not relevant) to get a sufficient service...

But it's like the common attitude here..."if you do not like it go somewhere else..."...and I guess that is what people are doing...
What ticking time-bomb ? Not least as you generalize. We in our place here have a salesman and some temporary staff who are well-liked to their giving an excellent service to everybody. And you can get a really good service in quite many places, even some Coop and Migros outlets among them.

Strange that you have to contribute ? Really ? As the customer you are the king, and the King is the one who is creating the tone and the music. The relationship between customer and salesman is and must be a partnership. It does not matter whether it is in a bazar or in a fixed-price-department-store.
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