Do tile showroom salespeople come from royalty?

jkoebnickMarch 10, 2012

I have been to six tile showrooms within the past week. And over half of the salespeople I have dealt with are just plain rude. I was never even approached at two showrooms and I was only one of about four customers in the store. These people act like I shouldn't bother them with my questions about finding tile to go with my granite. I am tempted just to go with my granite as a backsplash because I am so frustrated and I don't even really like that look. The closest thing I got to someone being helpful was at a big box store, but I think he was just hitting on me.

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lol, I know what you mean. Except yesterday, it was the salesman at Home Depot who wouldn't even look up from his computer and we were the ONLY people in the kitchen area.

I went to a tile & granite store today and I had to grab a salesman or he would have turned his back on me and walked off.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 7:54PM
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Yes. Yes, they are in fact. ;)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 7:58PM
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I actually heard a tile sales guy say to a customer, "And you are?"

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 8:11PM
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Whilst I don't care for those type of sales people either, Tile does not go with granite. Granite goes with granite.
Granite doesn't have grount, unless one uses granite tiles.

I lived with white tile and grout kitchen for over 30 years, and still have some in shower in downstairs bathroom, It has been problem free, but the last thing I wanna see is tile and grout in my kitchen----yep, I know I'm not the "trendy one" but there are a few of us here in GW that do have granite backsplashes and we dont get high blood pressure or wrinkles, wondering what Tile (glass, Sub way---etc etc will go best with our granite-----We already KNEW Granite goes best with Granite.

Just count the number of threads here about backsplashes to see what the heck I'm talking about!

The Rebel

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 8:19PM
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Jeeeezzzzz, ssssooooorrrrryyyyy! I guess I hit a nerve!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 8:26PM
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Do you have a Tile Shop around you? I've always found the salespeople to be helpful at the store near me.

And last time I was there they had a couple rows of granite tile. I wonder if THAT tile would go with granite....

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 8:32PM
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I think tile looks good with granite, but IF I thought granite would look good with granite, I would post that too.

I do not have HBP or wrinkles either having a certain backsplash.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 8:35PM
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Jeeeezzzzz, ssssooooorrrrryyyyy! I guess I hit a nerve!

Naw ya really didn't but most the kitchens I've seen (in Person), that have granite, have granite backsplashes and I see a lot of them on HGTV and DIY Network too.

So I always found it strange, that it's almost "Universally accepted" here in Garden Web to have somthing other than a granite backsplash with granite.

In fact when I posted my kitchen a few years back, The Ladies here were very nice complimenting it, THANKS LADIES, but some also remarked it was a very "European Looking Kitchen", not that it bothered me.

In fact I ask my wife, how come soooo many tile, glass etc backsplashes on GW, she says,
"Tile Salemen hanging around there" (LOL). I really don't think that's the case, it just that most ppl what to do
"What's In", but that has never been one of my goals, You can tell that by the Mopar I drive!

No worries, Nerves still fine, just a diffent opinion, (Well at least here in GW).


    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 8:53PM
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My tile guy had two modes: the first was anger that I woke him up from his nap by daring to come in while he was in the middle of the work day. The second was outright and aggressive hostility at my absolute gall in not wanting my tile to look as though a blind five year old had gotten drunk and laid it. All this while I paid him enough to put his child through college (and not at a state school either!) He was one of the owners too! Now because of their behavior with us and one other client, our builder is pulling his accounts from them (this is a builder who routinely builds 1 mil+ homes in a market w/ an average home price of 200k) I presume the tile guy had just inhaled too much tile glue and lost all common sense. Either that or he is trying to go out of business because he hates his job

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 9:05PM
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The tile sales people are very closely related to restaurant hostesses!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 9:10PM
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Some tile shops require an appointment--you may want to try calling tomorrow or Monday and see if that's the case. Hate to say it, but that's almost the only way I was able to get decent help at all.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 9:14PM
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Right there with you - I've dealt with half a dozen of these places and the attitude has been the same across the board.

I'm getting my tile from a local, small business that specializes in 'green building and sustainable remodeling choices'.

There was the nicest most laid back guy you could ever meet working there. There was a lot of "Groovy" suggestions and "Right On" ideas, and he even answered my questions.

Not sure what he was indulging in behind the counter, but I'm sure it was 'green' and I was just happy to find someone that I wanted to buy tile from!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 10:00PM
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Maybe it's just our region:

Tile Shop = helpful

Lowe's = helpful

Independent retailer = helpful

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 10:15PM
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Haha. My sisters and I walked into an Ann Sacks tile store early in Feb. No one else in there. Dude never budged from his desk, barely looked up. No offer of help whatsoever. I got the definite impression that he thought we weren't bringing nearly enough cash for him to get and say hello. Now I see it's endemic to the species!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 10:18PM
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How many of you have requested that the tile order include extra for "waste" or "repairs" and not received it ? I finished my floor with 1/2 of a 12x12 tile left over. ..lucky

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 10:22PM
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Perhaps you can post your city and see if anyone here has some tile stores nearby where they've had good experiences. I've visited snooty tile showrooms, snooty granite yards, and I've also found some that have been incredibly helpful. I have one tile store that I've returned to numerous times because their service has been impeccable. I'm greeted the second I walk in the door and the entire staff remembers me by name and recognizes me the minute I walk in the door. So far I've done all my tile work myself and anytime I've had questions or problems, the tile installers at the showroom (including one of the owners) has been more than willing to give advice. One time the owner delivered some tile to my house (for a very small fee) and voluntarily came in to look at my demo'ed room to offer advice for free because I had a concern. Hopefully you can find a friendly local retailer too.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 10:44PM
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I agree...ask here for recommendations in your area. My latest tile experience was excellent; I walked into a shop with no appointment and the woman who helped me was extraordinarily patient, flexible, creative and professional. It was quite a pleasant surprise! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend that shop to anyone.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 10:58PM
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I've been wondering the same thing. Two tile / countertop warehouses near me. First one, going there off and on for years. They've always been rude, but I dumped them the moment I went to the 2nd (and new) place where everyone is very personable.

Then, tonight... I've been ordering sample metal tile mosaics to play with creating a design. The online owner of a site emailed me asking why I was placing such a small wasn't worth his time even though his site already took my $. I told him I'm playing w samples...$80 worth! Not sure I'd want to give him my business when I'm ready to order 'for real'.

I am shocked by the attitudes.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 11:31PM
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This has not been my experience at all at local stores (Santa Rosa, CA). Actually the higher end stores have had the most helpful people working there and have been very generous with sample tiles. The worst experience was at Dal Tile where nobody ever graced the showroom to help me and I finally had to track someone down in the warehouse side to give me some samples. She was more interested in her sandwich.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 12:50AM
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I cannot speak highly enough about Cynthia Reese on Jericho tpke in Huntington (NY). They are helpful, reasonable and have a great selection...

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:08AM
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Come to Washington! I've been to three tile stores and gotten lots of help. Staff has been very friendly. Pretty hard to tolerate snooty people who judge you the second you walk in the door. Too many other places to give my business to. I'd be happy to use them for samples and then buy somewhere else if they can't treat you with respect.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:10AM
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I live near Washington (I assume you mean DC but I'm not sure?) and those supposedly friendly people get outright nasty when you confront them with incorrect orders, mismatched tile, etc. even after (as BKW said) we paid enough to put their kid through a good college.

Don't overpay and get underserved at Architectural Ceramics.

Rant over...


    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:21AM
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I went to an "expensive" tile store, and was ignored, but saw a tile I liked, so brought DH in to see it, to my surprise the rude sales person turned sweet as sugar, and spent time and helped us. I then returned to ask a question about same tile and she snapped, wondering why I was wasting her time? I literaly asked her why she was "upset by my question" and she explained she was a tile designer, gave me her opinion and was not going to "waste time on me any more". she lost the sale, and I bought same tile some place else.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:21AM
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Should have clarified. Washington as in state.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:26AM
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One day my DH and I stopped at one of our local tile stores. I asked the owner/salesperson for some help selecting a tile floor for my kitchen. He replied "We're closing in a half hour. Here's my card. Come back another time" I couldn't believe how rude he was. I will not be buying from them.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 3:27AM
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Rachiele, LLC

Sales apathy is rampant just about everywhere. What really fires me up is when I am standing politely waiting for assistance while two salespersons are having a personal discussion and seem irritated that they have to be interrupted. It makes one wonder how this can go on during a recession. I certainly appreciate the few that offer exceptional service. In my experience, I have found poor salespersons are a mirror reflection of ownership. If the owner cares, he or she will make sure the staff is well trained, both in product and in courtesy. When I hire, I first look for personality traits like empathy, respect, and gratitude. I love what I do every day and I want employees that feel the same way. I have so much gratitude for my opportunity and expect my employees to feel the same. When shopping and I find a poor salesperson I assume the entire company is rotten and go elsewhere. Sorry... I just had to rant.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 7:02AM
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In my experience, salespeople at the higher-end tile stores
(shout out to Virtue Tile in Summit NJ, Walker Zanger in Perth Amboy,
and The Tile Shop in Hamilton NJ)
were gracious and helpful, despite my small jobs and small budget.
This surprised me because I had expected that since I am not a designer
they wouldn't have given me the time of day.
Service at the lower-end stores was terrible, for the most part,
except in the cases where I dealt with the owner.
At the more higher-end stores I felt that the salespeople
really cared about the tile they were selling
and were excited about helping me select the right tile.
I guess they were being paid enough to be friendly and helpful.

Another example of "you get what you pay for"?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 8:38AM
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Agree about Walker Zanger. The people in the Mt. Vernon store in NY were extremely helpful. As were the people at Rye Ridge Tile in Port Chester, NY. Can't say the same about all high end stores, though. We were the only people in the Ann Sacks store and it was a true bother for any of the sales people to rise from their desks.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 8:54AM
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My architect recommended Architectural Ceramics, so I made an appointment at the Baltimore shop. Emily helped me, and was patient and helpful, even though I was clearly on a budget. I couldn't be happier with the service!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 9:00AM
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Ditto what Francoise said.

Shout out to The Ceramic Tile Center and Santa Rosa Tile Supply.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 9:13AM
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SAS95 -- yes! Oh, I had completely blocked from my memory my terrible experience with the salespeople at Ann Sacks new Union Square in NYC.
My husband and I were simply invisible to the smartly dressed and well-coifed saleswomen who click, click, clicked by us dozens of times in their Manolo Blahniks while we worshipped their tile displays. We could tell that they were very busy, and extremely important people. They made it clear with their artful "silent treatment" that they would never deign to sell their products to us. But if they could have just thrown us a crumb, perhaps a simple pause in their step or a tilt of the head to signal "let us know if you have any questions," we would have left their temple of tile feeling satisfied.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 9:42AM
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Yes, I believe some salespeople in some locations are
conceited, self absorbed, insensitive, callous, uncaring
and even ignorant.
I wonder if you dropped and broke a few tiles if they
would respond.
Maybe not nicely but at least get you some kind of

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 9:58AM
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My experience in Atlanta, I got ignored at the Walker Zanger store at Miami Circle. They seemed to be used to dealing only/mostly with designers. Zumpano Tile also at Miami Circle was nice, but I didn't like their tile. Roxie at Specialty Tile in Norcross, which sells some pretty high-end stuff as well, has been really nice and helpful and suggested ways to cut costs when I found out the tile I really wanted to use for all 50 sq feet of space was $37 a sheet and it only covered .75 sq feet--ouch;-) I'm ordering Jeffrey Court tiles from them. Probably comparable in price to some WZ tile, but I didn't feel welcome enough at Walker Zanger to look around there long enough to find anything.

I like Eleanor Roosevelt's quote that "no one can make you feel inferior without your permission," but I find it hard to put in practice sometimes myself, especially when worn out from kitchen decision fatigue ;-)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 11:29AM
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I went to quite a few tile stores and found most salespeople to be helpful. The exception was Porcelanosa where my question was answered with a sniff and wave of the hand. As the only customer in the store at the time, I assumed that they didn't consider me to be up to their customer standard.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 12:32PM
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I love this thread.

A month or two ago, after my granite was installed, I walked into the Ann Sacks store on the main street of our town in my gym clothes. The dude dressed in black at the desk didn't even look up from his smartphone.

A week later, I went back with a friend who is a part time interior designer. We had both been to a wake, so we were dressed. The same dude was there, only this time he was obsequious and fawning when she flashed her business card.

I bought my tile at a small, local, no-name shop with pleasure, happy to know that my purchase was helping put the owner's kids through college, rather than paying a commission to the wanna-be design snob at Ann Sacks.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 12:40PM
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I was just in the grumpy tile store yesterday, and they were happy and smiling. They were never rude even when they were grumpy.

Sometimes, a certain amount of assertiveness is called for. Remember, you're the client, i.e., their livelihood, not a supplicant for their royal favors. Ask firmly and courteously for what you want. If the clerk is pointedly ignoring you, get in her face and say, "I have questions about this tile."

I remember reading how, after the political change, chain stores wanted to open into formerly communist countries. One I read about had classes for potential clerks so that they would conform to Western ideas of customer service. They learned everything from personal hygiene (you must bathe daily, and wash your hair regularly), to how to smile and make people welcome, to ask if they need help, and to actually provide it. This is what used to distinguish American service. All of this demand for cheaper cheaper cheaper, however, has pushed good help into other business, and left most sales clerk jobs to time wasters.

At the tile stores I go to where I never face that kind of attitude, I have to admit, the clerks are old enough to remember communism. :)

Dress shouldn't matter. You could be the tile setter or the contractor for all they know. Not to mention that really wealthy people don't dress to show it off (except the bubbleheads who spend their allowances on clothes and wear them to inappropriate places so they can buy new ones). The guy in the paint stained Old Navy standing next to you could be a billionaire. What really wealthy people won't stand for is people who waste their time. Unfortunately, from what I've seen on TV, there are a lot of people, especially young ones, who don't want to talk to anyone who isn't young and pretty, even if it's their job to do so. Considering that outside of the movie star business, most really wealthy people are old and ordinary looking, this is not a good way to tap into the big bucks. :)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 12:51PM
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It was nice to read that some of you have had good experiences at locally owned shops because I think sometime people forget they are out there. My husband runs a small family-owned flooring store and he is always very accomodating to his customers. Too bad we are located in a small country town in MI...probably not anywhere near any of you!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 12:56PM
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It's gotta be regional ... I got good service from every tile shop or aisle I went to.

DalTile, Ann Sacks, some super-ritzy tile place with $$$$$$ glass mosaic panels, Lowes, Home Depot, and several small ones.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 12:56PM
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Maybe I'm alone in this but - I usually walk in, look at what I want and ask directly for it.

If they don't want to deal with me - they don't want to deal with me, no skin off my nose and their loss of business.

Most of my friends are my age, many of us have bought older homes in need of renovation (there is nothing else to be had here other than Toll Bros and the like). Pissing me off loses them a fair bit of high end business. I am fine with this.

For many years my "test" of if I would like a town would be to walk into a jewelry store with my husband (who is not caucasian)if we got good service the general rule was we'd like the town - if we were ignored the general rule was that they were racists jerks.

By way of tile, I found Joanne Hudson in Phila to be a pleasure to work with. I actually just walked in one day because I enjoy looking at tile and the sales lady ended up selling me some beautiful JK Patterson handmade tile.

While I do appreciate the up-selling that Joanne Hudson was able to get out of me I think I will only deal with tile people who sell directly to "mundanes" (people not in the decorator industry). Or not, that JK Patterson tile is really beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:01PM
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BTW. On a second reading of the OP's message, I would add this.

Put yourself in the shoes of the otherperson and think of charitable reasons why they're not talking to you.

Tile is very lovely and attracts a number of people who just want to look. I would not forgive rudeness from a sales associate (I only put up with jerks when I've been paid to put up with them) but if they don't want to "bother" me - then I appreciate that.

Like a courtroom I tend to take things on feel. If people are walking in off the street and getting helped and I'm not I will walk right up to the manager and explain who I am, what I want and why I'm offended. Give people the chance to make things right.

If they continue to suck - you know what they are. Leave and find someone more deserving of your money and more importantly, time.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:07PM
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I've never had that experience with a tile store but perhaps the clerks are related to a lighting store that I went into a couple of times. I wander in, look at lighting and am wanting to do lighting for an entire house - no one acknowledges that I exist. They're not talking to anyone, just hanging around. I leave, come back a couple of weeks later and same treatment. Now, this is a large store and lots of sales people hanging around doing nothing. Turns out, they only deal with you if you make an appointment and bring your interior designer with you. And I'm like but I have money to spend and their response was make an appointment. What?

I then go to a small neighbourhood store with basically the same stock and access to the same manufacturers and they couldn't do enough for me. They got my business.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 2:17PM
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The tile places here (ATL burbs)are very attentive, you wish they would sort of leave you alone so you could look on your own a little while first!!! Except for one in Alpharetta which was nasty all have been very kind and helpful letting you check out samples instead of buying. Wish I could say the same about the granite places, have not had luck with them treating me like a fellow human. So many of them are owned by very awful people that are not from here and when I say here I mean they are not from the US. Horrid, creepy people with condescending attitudes that make you wonder what their real business is and maybe this is just a front because they do not seem interested in selling granite at all, at least to women.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Wow, this not something I have ever experienced in any retail store I've ever entered. I'm in the Midwest. Maybe it's regional.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Oh! Blfenton! I was in that store once! Put it out of my mind. :) They were selling plumbing fixtures, however. There was a sign on the door saying "drop ins welcome", but they wouldn't actually talk to me, even when I obtruded myself forcefully into their notice. I went there to look at the Karbon, which was very new at the time, and my regular place will no longer sell Kohler faucets. If this store had given me the time of day, they could have made a sale. Might even have gotten all of my business away from the place I normally deal with. As it is, they made a sale for, which had a lower price and absolutely amazing service. :)

The way it's supposed to go in that kind of store is a sign on the window saying, "By appointment only" and if you wander in, they're supposed to greet you immediately and ask if they can set up an appointment for you, plus answer simple questions (Do you carry X?) right away.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 3:13PM
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Another shout out to Rye Ridge Tile in Port Chester NY and also to Ceramic Design in Greenwich CT, which has one slightly pushy saleswoman, but they are generally eager to help.

On the other hand, Klaff's in Scarsdale, (more than just tile) which was perfectly friendly and eager to help when I first walked in looking for help with my bathroom, was sloppy, careless, disorganized and utterly disinterested in solving problems once they had my money. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I don't know exactly where I'm going for items for my big kitchen/DR/LR/front hall renovation, but I know where I'm NOT going. And I know where I'll start looking for tile. . . the places that treated me well when I did my bathrooms.

But to get to the OP's point, I think with tile, as with anything else, particularly in a field where some customers have a lot of money to spend, there's some great service and some lousy service. You know where to spend your money.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 4:00PM
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All the Lowe's and Home Depot people in Eastern Washington (the state) have been very helpful :)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 6:04PM
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Geeze. Since we're naming names, I'm in the DC area, too.
Mosaic Tile in Rockville has a fantastic selection. I went in & strolled around. None of the visible people had the time of day for me, but then, I really wasn't in a position to buy.

However, when I came across the designer's desk, bless her helpful heart, I couldn't shake her. She was accommodating, answered questions, helped me with a plan, figuring out my square footage for me, and so on. She even called me a week later to ask if I'd come any closer to a decision. Being very clear w/ her from the beginning that I was window shopping, I had wasn't. However, 2 years later, I still have her card & her plan. I will probably buy from her.

At the same time, I visited a Dal Tile in Lanham, MD. Despite the internal door bell I heard, I saw no human beings until I wandered through what had to be a warehouse back room, only to come thru a door to cubicles where several heads popped up, jaws open, sandwich parts falling out of one mouth, and a single, shocked, "MAY i HELP YOU?!?" The other heads disappeared. Kind of like whack-a-mole.

But this happens everywhere. I bought a fur coat in the 80s because a nasty woman told me after working out (I was dry! and not shopping) we shouldn't touch the coats because silk stained, since we didn't know. My aunt was shopping. A mousy, shy woman skittled over to help us. When my aunt bought the full length she'd already scoped out, and I bought a hip length jacket? The Rude One tried to elbow Ms. Mousy out of the way.

I calmly said that if she dared put a pen to paper Garfinkle's (long gone) would lose both sales. Period. I turned to Ms. Mousy and thanked her, asking her to take card for full payment. My aunt did her best Detroit Society sniff, turned her back to The Rude One and handed Ms. Mousey her card.

I'm afraid Ms. Mousy almost cried, she looked so happy/lost, but I'm also sure in retrospect that she probably had hell on earth to deal with after we left from The Rude One. I probably might not have bought had The Rude One not been SO RUDE! Go figure. I still wear it.

So. It happens everywhere one has insecure people. People who feel validated by their jobs vs. themselves as people. I'm frikkin' waitress. You wouldn't believe how many patrons have to kick the waitress to make themselves feel like Big Timers! I just smile and do my best. They're gonna leave and I'm going home happy.

You're going to buy some tile from somewhere. You and the person from whom you buy with both go home happy.

And I like tile with granite. I find the full run of granite up the walls to be somewhat industrial or commercial, depending upon the granite.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 12:04PM
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Well, in my little town of 12,000 I shop locally and they know me when I walk in the door. It doesn't matter what I'm wearing, I'm always greeted by name and with a smile.

I guess there are some advantages to living in the middle of nowhere, lol.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 12:16PM
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I recently bought a sample floor tile, now the sales person is calling me and leaving harassing messages on my phone. I didn't answer because I didn't know who it was.

"You told me you were going to buy this tile, that was a month ago, where are you, why aren't you buying this tile."


    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 2:10PM
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Im a little late in the game for this thread, but I am in tile sales and while our store or our sales team is nothing like the one first described Just want to add this one story:
@boxerpups, I had a customer who took several of our free full sized tile samples, went out to her car and smashed them all on the side walk to "test their hardness"

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 3:17PM
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Christine, had the EXACT experience at Dal Tile. Not so much unfriendly as totally indifferent to my presence.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 4:04PM
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Another unhappy experience with the Ann Sacks store on Union Square in Manhattan: went twice when I was buying tile for a bathroom renovation. First time was a quiet weekday morning, and no one could be bothered to even look in my direction. Fine, I browsed and left. Brought DH back later in the week, and he was straight from work in a suit, brogues, nice watch, briefcase (offsetting my usual jeans/boots look for snobby salespeople). Once again, no sales attention at all. We took down names of the tile we liked, researched them at the Ann Sacks site, then bought at Artistic Tile, another high-ish end place but with much better attitude.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 4:14PM
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Yes, I think they might be. I recently went into a local tile store, was the only customer, and was completely ignored. I stayed browsing for 10 minutes and not one of the 3 salespeople acknowledged my existence. They were so busy talking about how China is taking over their industry and undercutting their prices. Goodbye.

Another local tile store had a college student sitting at the desk. She didn't know any prices, brands, size options, etc. Goodbye.

Nothing sells itself.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 4:39PM
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This is always the fault of the owner. Commissioned sales people are not going to spontaneously ensure a flawless customer experience because they are not paid for it. Once they land their kill for the week or month, they are content to sit back and lick themselves in the grass. Receptionists make much less than the sales people, and are not going to spontaneously use their brains to deliver a superior service level for the squat they make. Only an owner can make a tile store or car dealership or whatever deliver client-focused service. The attitude come from the top.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 6:02PM
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Circus Peanut

DalTile here in Portland ME was similarly dismissive.

But for sheer insolence I'm torn between the metal supply guy that didn't want to take my order for copper bar because he didn't think my DIY countertop could be done, finally relenting with a huffy "Well, lady, it's your funeral!", and Task Lighting, the outfit that produces those nifty angled undercabinet strip outlets.

My phone conversation with Task:

Task: Hello, Task Lighting.
Me: Hi, I'm interested in purchasing some of your strip outlets for a kitchen renovation. Specifically I'd like to order 3 of model XXX and 5 of model YYY.
Task: Are you a contractor?
Me: No, I'm the homeowner.
Task: We don't sell to the public, just to contractors.
Me: I don't have any of my subcontractors working here at the moment. I'm acting as my own GC, doesn't that count?
Task: No.
Me: Gosh, are you sure? I'd really like to purchase your product.
Task: No. We only sell to contractors because we can give them a discount and it wouldn't be fair to offer that same discount to the public.
Me: Oh! But of course I am willing to pay the full price; I totally understand. What's the full price? Do you have a list of stores that carry your products?
Task: We don't carry our product in stores, just via this order line. What's your contractor license number?
Me: Um, I just said I wasn't a contractor.
Task: Sorry, we only sell to contractors.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 6:22PM
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Pillog -
ROFLMAO ... My niece was hired by a British department store chain because she was American and had worked for Neiman Marcus .. and when she showed up for the interview she was not interviewing as a clerk, she was interviewing for the head of training because they wanted to go from "Are You being Served" to real service.

I've had the experience InfoDiva describes - I stopped in a ritzy boutique because I needed to ramp up my wardrobe for job interviews and they were totally my style ... they brushed my jeans and t-shirt clad self aside.

For grins, I showed up a week or two later, in my "daddy has $10,00 acres of AZ cotton and no weevils" jeans, posh blouse, and Indian jewelry (the expensive kind). They tripped over each other rushing to my side. I told the manager that I had been there a week earlier and been snubbed, so the staff needed to be reminded that ewvery customer was important, and walked out.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 7:50PM
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Everyone loved the movie Pretty Woman, but no one learned a thing.

Being a waitress again, I am reminded table after table never to prejudge. Just do my best. That socially inept, snot or person living in the world where no one exists besides them, might bring back another guest who is one of our 20-30% tippers. And that does happen.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 2:51PM
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I had the exact same experience at our DalTile. Once someone finally came over from the warehouse, she didn't seem to know how to go about helping me. It gave me the distinct impression that it is a rare thing to have customers just walk in and take a look around.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 4:41PM
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