closing tag is in template navbar
timefactors watches



TZ-UK Fundraiser
Results 1 to 44 of 44

Thread: Should shop staff know more ?

  1. #1
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    CUMBRIA
    Posts
    631

    Should shop staff know more ?

    Popped into a H Samuel yesterday and decided to take up the offer of assistance by enquiring as to why some similar looking Seikos were priced at £399, yet a couple of others were £799-£995.
    Expecting some enlightenment I was quite surprised at the grasping bluster with the eventual conclusion that the more expensive were Automatics and the cheaper weren’t.
    ‘But the £399 one has Automatic on the dial’ I said. Cue some squinting and wriggling but no answer forthcoming.
    Spotting another store stocking some more prestigious (or dare I say, LUXURY) brands I spotted a similar collection of Seikos so tried the same question. Neither the member of sales staff or even the Assistant Manager could give me a correct answer. I decided to try One of the £995 Watches on and noted the Crystal had a look of Sapphire (confirmed by reading the text on the case back) and wondered if the Bezel was Ceramic. Maybe someone on here could enlighten me, probably a bit much to expect shop staff to actually know what they are trying to sell.


    Sent from my iPhone using TZ-UK mobile app

  2. #2
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    London
    Posts
    153
    I've always found AD staff to be poorly acquainted with what they're selling. They're at a disadvantage because they have to be familiar with so many different brands and models whereas I have usually done internet research on the few specific models I'm after. But then if I'm supposed to be getting a 'luxury' experience perhaps they could back up the show with some substance. It's not just gaps in their knowledge: it's the bluster, confusing models with each other, or downright lies that really dispel any disbelief I might have suspended over this being a luxury experience. When brick and mortar stores are trying to justify themselves versus online retail, they fail on the very first expectation which is to know their product.

  3. #3
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    CUMBRIA
    Posts
    631
    Agreed, it is unrealistic to be an absolute expert on eveything, but some basic knowledge should be a pre-requisite.


    Sent from my iPhone using TZ-UK mobile app

  4. #4
    Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Glasgow
    Posts
    4,453
    Remember, many such staff are also selling necklaces, rings, earrings, ornaments etc. I cut them some slack. Many will be minimum wage and are just there to serve and process purchases.

    The finishing on more expensive watches is better. They are sometimes newly launched so prices are at a premium because of expected demand. Manufacturing tolerances may also be higher ie wr, durability etc.

    Sent from my CLT-L09 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Pay peanuts, get monkeys. Also lack of investment in staff as the churn in retail will always be quite high. Imagine expecting that level of product knowledge in Tesco asking why one 50 inch TV is more than another 50 inch tv from the same brand. I'd be shocked if they came out with the right answer. This is why John Lewis always have brand reps in the AV section to reel off how great the brand they represent is but can't tell you a thing about any other brands.

  6. #6
    Apprentice theancientmariner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Newcastle, U.K.
    Posts
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by wileeeeeey View Post
    Pay peanuts, get monkeys.
    Nothing at all to do with it. Low paid staff can be just as intelligent and enthusiastic about a product as high paid staff.

    That's what's lacking on the high street, enthusiasm. Unfortunately, at this time, morale on the high street is at an all time low as trade is also at an all time low. Most of the shops I call in seem very quiet compared to how they were ten years ago and the staff in general do their best to be nice and helpful but most of them realise that there's not a career to be had and so all the enthusiasm they could have learning about and selling products could be wasted in a years time when the shop closes.

    I'd honestly say cut them some slack. If you know more about a product than they do the why not have a conversation about it. They may genuinely take an interest and it might break up that monotonous day they're having.

  7. #7
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    swansea uk
    Posts
    587
    With Seiko some of the pricing is baffling to be fair.

    You tend to get a better movement, better build quality and materials, better strap etc.

    They were a well priced company long ago but have put their prices up and up so much now that I buy Orient`s instead and the odd used Seiko.

  8. #8
    Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Warwickshire
    Posts
    1,999
    I think its that we tend to be enthusiasts and usually research the models we are interested in whereas the sales person has to be a jack of all trades.

    This is not uncommon in car sales either, but to a lesser degree.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by theancientmariner View Post
    Nothing at all to do with it. Low paid staff can be just as intelligent and enthusiastic about a product as high paid staff.
    I agree but can't think of how enthusiastic I'd be for £7 per hour. There will be staff in H Samuel who are a lot more intelligent than me and maybe even some of the people I work with so money isn't a factor of intelligence but the effort and enthusiasm people are willing to put in for that money is however probably quite different.
    Last edited by wileeeeeey; 11th February 2020 at 10:12.

  10. #10
    Master snowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Hampshire
    Posts
    9,902
    I'm not surprised, over the years I've found I'm nearly always more informed about cars I'm looking at than the dealer's employees.

    If people selling high price items don't have a clue, then it's probably not reasonable to expect people selling things in the 100s to be any better.

    M

    Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Stockton, Teesside, UK
    Posts
    1,053
    The pricing of almost all watches is entirely baffling - I doubt that the MD of Seiko could have given you a convincing explanation of why some models are priced more than others, except for some marketing drivel about aspirations and target audiences.

    Yes, high street sales staff know next to nothing about the X00 watches they sell, just like the members of the public they sell to. What did you expect? WIS Experts in every store?

  12. #12
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    30
    Always like it when you ask to try one on, and they disappear for a few minutes while they read the notes, then come back and rattle off a list of interesting facts about the brand you're looking at

  13. #13
    I have to admit it irritates me when they don’t even know the difference between quartz and automatic, ask them about a Seiko kinetic and they get incredibly confused!
    Imho it’s like working in Greggs and not knowing the difference between a sausage roll and a steak bake! - no wonder the retail sector is going down the toilet.
    Other sectors are no better - I recently got a new car and even though every review and brochure listed keyless entry as newly added to the model I was looking at, (they added it towards the end of 2019) the salespeople didn’t have a clue, even though the one in the showroom clearly had it too!
    I find myself going online to do my research, and often just clicking the ‘buy’ button on Amazon - far less painful than some idiot squinting at the box and reading it out aloud when you ask even the most basic question. I get the ‘minimum wage’ bit, but have some pride in what you’re selling ffs!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Not handsomely paid, a bit of generalists and not driven by the same desire to know as a WIS.
    Not surprised at the fact that they are not terribly well informed.
    It sure is a pleasure when you come across someone who is a little better informed but even they will not match the knowledge of a true WIS.
    It just amuses me and I laugh it off.

  15. #15
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    London
    Posts
    62
    As others have said, while you will happily spend your free time reading and researching watches and the latest releases, for many of these people it’s just a job they may not have any interest in and will not know anything beyond their basic store training, which I would not expect to be particularly extensive especially in the big chain jewellers

  16. #16
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ashford, Kent
    Posts
    18,434
    I wouldn’t expect them to be WIS. I just expect them to know enough about their products to inform an ordinary customer honestly.

    Anything less (like the OP’s experience) is simply unacceptable. Regardless of how much they are paid.

    McDonald’s employees know the menu and what is in each item. I would however only expect the manager to know reliably about allergens.
    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

  17. #17
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Sheffield
    Posts
    255
    A visit to ost Richer Sounds branches usually reveals retail workers with a true interest in the items they are selling...

  18. #18
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ashford, Kent
    Posts
    18,434
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan1981 View Post
    A visit to ost Richer Sounds branches usually reveals retail workers with a true interest in the items they are selling...
    Indeed. Even Go Outdoors usually employ people who practice what they sell.
    Making an interest in watches and a willingness to learn more could be a requisite in the recruitment. Proper training given by the chain/shop -and the brands when they visit- wouldn't go amiss, either.
    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

  19. #19
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Wixams, Beds
    Posts
    861
    I thought most AD's had brand experts, certainly when I bought my Breitling I was seen by a sales person introduced as their 'Breitling Ambassador' and someone else was in the shop talking to someone who seemed to know what they were talking about when it came to Omegas. The person I dealt with has a very good knowledge of the watches I was interested in, and was very helpful pointing out details of the different straps available, various ceramic bits and even mentioning that the caliber was a joint venture with Tudor.
    That said I did have to wait for the person to be 'summoned', I suspect that if the girl behind the engagement ring counter I spoke to first of all had been the one trying to sell me the watch I wouldn't have bought it.

  20. #20
    Master snowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Hampshire
    Posts
    9,902
    That used to be my experience in Dixons.

    Someone knew a fair bit about cameras, someone about TVs, someone about PCs, etc.

    Trouble was that you usually got the TV person when you were interested in an SLR...

    M

    Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk

  21. #21
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    West Yorkshire
    Posts
    289
    Should sales assistants know more? Yes, probably but then again, it’s tough to keep on top of everything in the watch world. I could point you to an AD (high end but also some cheaper brands), where every member of staff can give you a pretty good level of detail about most of their stock, deferring to the true experts when necessary. Given they sell 9 (I think) watch brands, plus numerous items of jewellery, along with all that entails, I think it’s pretty stunning that they can either answer or find out the answer to most queries, without a single Google!

    My wife works in retail. It’s a sole destroying experience at times. I’m biased but I’d say she’s as close to an expert as you could get. Especially for 7 quid an hour. Imagine spending your life trying your best to provide great service, for minimal pay, when plenty of customers are just ‘looking’ aka pricing up, trying on and p’ing off home to buy online. I’m not sure jewellery is quite in the same position but I’m darned sure most high street chains pay minimum wage to some staff and not a huge chunk more to the management team. Anyone with an ounce of interest, backed up with some initiative, will be looking to move on ASAP.

    The only reason I can point to the good service/knowledge example above is that there are staff who have worked in that jewellers for many years, learning not only how to sell stuff but also training on the products, visiting exhibitions, manufacturers, etc. In fact, making a career out of their job. Something that isn’t always possible in retail, however much someone would like to.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  22. #22
    Craftsman ozzyb123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    London
    Posts
    304
    Find it weird shop staff don’t know at least as much as enthusiasts given ...it’s their job! And they’re handling more pieces so should have more experience and opinions on what’s what / what’s good/ etc. Typically they’ll know and understand Rolex and that’s about it


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyO View Post
    I think its that we tend to be enthusiasts and usually research the models we are interested in whereas the sales person has to be a jack of all trades.

    This is not uncommon in car sales either, but to a lesser degree.
    It’s really just this. No point getting too worked up about it either :)

  24. #24
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    nj,
    Posts
    35
    I really think there is nothing to it.

  25. #25
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Somerset
    Posts
    587
    Quote Originally Posted by faken View Post
    As others have said, while you will happily spend your free time reading and researching watches and the latest releases, for many of these people it’s just a job they may not have any interest in and will not know anything beyond their basic store training, which I would not expect to be particularly extensive especially in the big chain jewellers
    +1. H Samuel, Ernest Jones, Beaverbrooks, Goldsmiths. The same as Currys, Comet, Dixons. Same sort of thing, just selling lots of different goods. Staff have no hope realy.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

  26. #26
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Burscough, UK
    Posts
    6,881
    Quote Originally Posted by ozzyb123 View Post
    Find it weird shop staff don't know at least as much as enthusiasts given ...it's their job!
    Because at low-end retail - it is largely impossible. A watch nerd might spend hundreds of hours over a year researching a single watch and brand.

    No zero hour or low paid worker has the time or inclination to spend hundreds of hours research every single product line they carry - especially for a job they might only have for months or a couple of years.
    Last edited by Alansmithee; 12th February 2020 at 09:23.

  27. #27
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ashford, Kent
    Posts
    18,434
    Quote Originally Posted by Alansmithee View Post
    Because at low-end retail - it is largely impossible. A watch nerd might spend hundreds of hours over a year researching a single watch and brand.

    No zero hour or low paid worker has the time or inclination to spend hundreds of hours research every single product line they carry - especially for a job they might only have for months or a couple of years.
    Calling 'low-end retail' a jeweller selling luxury brands is a bit of a stretch
    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Calling 'low-end retail' a jeweller selling luxury brands is a bit of a stretch
    The OP was about a £399 Seiko. Assuming I read your post correctly.

  29. #29
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ashford, Kent
    Posts
    18,434
    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    The OP was about a £399 Seiko. Assuming I read your post correctly.
    Well the OP was asking for an explanation as to the price difference between 2 watches, one £400 and the other £800. Already we have left the low-end retail with its bargain baskets and its wear and throw away range.
    But the lack of competence goes higher than just Seiko level.

    I like watches but do not consider myself a WIS (well, maybe the "I" part). So the last thing I would try and do is try and trip the salesperson by asking sophisticated questions that require really specialist knowledge: if I am that interested, I can Google just like the other guy.

    However if I see 2 watches that look reasonably similar, from the same manufacturer, one being twice the price of the other, I would expect the vendor to be able to tell me what the difference is.
    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

  30. #30
    Craftsman ozzyb123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    London
    Posts
    304
    Quote Originally Posted by Alansmithee View Post
    Because at low-end retail - it is largely impossible. A watch nerd might spend hundreds of hours over a year researching a single watch and brand.

    No zero hour or low paid worker has the time or inclination to spend hundreds of hours research every single product line they carry - especially for a job they might only have for months or a couple of years.
    Maybe you’re right, and manufacturers need to do more to educate

    Booze brands do loads for bartenders


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  31. #31
    I called in Ernest Jones near me today to look at the Omega.

    According to the sales assistant the Speedmaster moon watch is 40mm and not 42mm

    They had never heard of the 321 Ed White re-issue until I told them about it and despite mentioning some details they referred to it as a Moonwatch.

  32. #32
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    286
    Went into an independent AD a couple of weeks ago and was genuinely surprised when the salesperson started going into how certain models are produced and even Rolex philanthropy.

    On the other hand, had another experience at a Rolex boutique where salesperson told me they were unaware of a Oyster Perpetual 36mm model.

  33. #33
    Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Stockton, Teesside, UK
    Posts
    1,053
    Quote Originally Posted by cheesycake7 View Post
    Went into an independent AD a couple of weeks ago and was genuinely surprised when the salesperson started going into how certain models are produced and even Rolex philanthropy.

    On the other hand, had another experience at a Rolex boutique where salesperson told me they were unaware of a Oyster Perpetual 36mm model.
    Yes, I guess the experience will vary on who you get served by. There are no doubt some watch enthusiasts who work in retail stores, the same way some car enthusiasts work in car showrooms. Though in the latter case, it seems that sales people who have no interest in cars are actually much more successful in selling things!

  34. #34
    Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    location, location
    Posts
    2,833
    Going back a few years I saw a Citizen Orca in the window of F.Hinds in the County Mall in Crawley. I'd not seen one in the flesh before so went in to take a look.

    There were two very young sales assistants behind the counter. The young lass got the watch out of window for me, and while looking at it I asked if they also did that one in steel.

    "That is steel" chipped in the lad.

    "No, it's titanium" I replied.

    "No, it isn't. They don't make dive watches out of titanium. It reacts with the oxygen"

    This prompted a look of awe-struck admiration from the lass. "wow, you're so clever" she told him.

    I handed back the watch that had the words Titanium and Diver's 200M on the dial, thanked them for their help and left.

  35. #35
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Merry Old England
    Posts
    10,265
    Suppose it depends on the shop. If you go into any of the major high street chains, then probably not and staff turnover is probably quite high I'm guessing. They are more just retail staff, put the box in the bag and charge the price on the tag. I would have low expectations of anyone in these stores being able to answer specific questions about a given Watch.

    Specialist Authorised Dealers and the boutiques is a different matter. If I went into one of those I would expect the staff to have some knowledge of the product. However, they are only as good as the information they have as I found out when I rang the Seiko boutique the other week. A very helpful person indeed, but just didn't have any information on said watch. They did check into it and ring me back, which I doubt the stores in every town would do.

  36. #36
    Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    2,830
    Quote Originally Posted by stefmcd View Post
    Remember, many such staff are also selling necklaces, rings, earrings, ornaments etc. I cut them some slack. Many will be minimum wage and are just there to serve and process purchases.

    The finishing on more expensive watches is better. They are sometimes newly launched so prices are at a premium because of expected demand. Manufacturing tolerances may also be higher ie wr, durability etc.

    Sent from my CLT-L09 using Tapatalk
    Agreed. However, I was recently in Goldsmiths and enquired about the new seamaster, to which the salesperson said they would go and get the watch specialist. That individual came and then proceeded to flick through the omega catalogue in front of her, finally asking if the watch had even been released yet. I handed her my phone showing it for sale on their very website.

  37. #37
    Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Bury, UK
    Posts
    1,369
    Sadly it's just a job for many people - some of the shops may not even include sales training. They could be selling watches, printer cartridges or brewing espresso. We all have had good and bad coffee and it's because the barista cares or doesn't. No incentive in high end shops if all you have to do is hand the much-awaited Rolex over the eager punter whereas someone like Heywood it's his business to know the ins/outs of high end watches.

  38. #38
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Isle of Man
    Posts
    74
    I wouldn't expect staff in HM Samuel, or similar high street shop, to know the ins and outs of every watch they sell.

    I would expect a AD to know, and also smaller specialist shops to know more information on their products. Perhaps not the fine details that a enthusiast would know, but enough to hit the major points about the piece they are selling.

  39. #39
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Grindsted, Danmark
    Posts
    201
    If I am looking for a watch at an AD then I will most likely have done research beforehand. My only purpose of then going to the shop would be to look at it first hand to make a desicion. The shop staff are merely assistance to placing the watch in front of me. Anything they say would be taken with a pinch of salt and I would ignore them as much as possible. That's just me though. :)

  40. #40
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Plymouth Devon
    Posts
    395
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan1981 View Post
    A visit to ost Richer Sounds branches usually reveals retail workers with a true interest in the items they are selling...
    You beat me to it....I’ve also found London Camera Exchange shops staffed by enthusiasts.

    Having said that, I have absolute no complaints about my local AD for Rolex/ Omega / Tudor - they have always proved knowledgeable and a pleasure to deal with. Michael Spiers in Plymouth.

  41. #41
    Master ryanb741's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    7,365
    Problem is many people here will go to the AD to try it on and then buy it online for less. So why would the AD get better staff unless you bought the watch there? Most people are all about saving the high street and supporting local business until the moment comes to put their hand in their pocket and then they chase the bargain online or (and this is my pet peeve) 'Bricks and Mortar AD, I've been offered this Planet Ocean that you have at £5220 for £3600 from some web based broker with zero overheads. I prefer to buy local so I'll give you the chance to match that.' Oh look the AD that has to pay for Omega displays, security staff, rent in a fancy area of town (and actually has the watch in stock instead of taking your deposit and ordering one in from Narnia like the grey) can't match the deal. Who'd have thought?.....

  42. #42
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Burscough, UK
    Posts
    6,881
    Surely the real test is how they say "it looks great on your wrist, really suits you" and say it convincingly even it is clear it does not suit you at all.

  43. #43
    I have spent most of my working life in an engineering environment but a couple of years ago I decided I had done my bit at the age of 60 and took a part time job in a retail store, I can only describe my findings with the staff within the store as "people who know nothing about nothing", The staff had little inclination to embrace anything apart from what time their shift finished and what they would be doing once they had left the store. I was totally amazed and did not last long before I left the store and went back to engineering, I missed the intellectual conversation I had been accustomed to. There will of course be the few who are interested in the product they are selling, In my findings though they where few and far between,

  44. #44
    Master PhilipK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Hampshire, UK
    Posts
    3,297
    Quote Originally Posted by mrushton View Post
    We all have had good and bad coffee and it's because the barista cares or doesn't.
    Or it could be down to how much training they have had. Or how the store is managed (is the coffee machine cleaned/maintained according to schedule? What type of beans are used?) Or the quality of the equipment used in that store. I doubt that it's often down to whether or not they "care".

    People working at the sharp end of retail rarely have much control over the environment that they work in. They are also probably managed/incentivised on either their sales or output level. Knowledge of the "product" probably contributes very little to either.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Do Not Sell My Personal Information