Intrusive or helpful?


Is it just me or are the employees in some stores getting just a bit too chummy?  I am getting a little tired of being assaulted by store employees constantly asking me if I need help.  I understand that when company policy states that each employee must greet a customer the employee doesn’t really have a choice.  But my god, I get tired of the same old lines.

“Can I help you find something?”  “Did you find everything all right?”  Who writes these tag lines anyway? 


Yesterday my lovely wife and I went to Lowes to buy some sprinkler parts.  Lowes is one of my favorite home improvement stores, but their employees are just a tad aggressive when it comes to customer service.  As soon as we hit the door a group of employees descended upon us like used car salesmen.  “So what projects are we working on today?” one asked.  I just didn’t know what to say.  It seemed to be kind of an intrusive question.  How about a friendly hello?  My first thought was to say “None of your damn business”.  We just said, “Nothing much” and continued along towards the irrigation section.  Before we could make it half way there we were accosted again, “So what projects are we working on today?”  This time I thought up a generic answer, “Oh, just browsing”.  Then about twenty feet later another employee comes out from an isle and hit us again, “So what projects are we working on today?” By now my wife and I are getting a bit irritated, we have been asked the same question three times in less than three minutes.  “Just looking around, thanks”, I say.   


Finally we see the isle where the irrigation supplies are displayed.  I approach cautiously and peek around the corner to see if any more associates are lurking, waiting to spring that intrusive questions on us.  It looks like we are safe for the moment, we enter the isle unmolested.  Just as we start to discuss which sprinkler parts we want to buy an associate sneaks up from behind.  I guess it was my fault; I left our rear flank wide open.  “So what projects ….”  My lovely wife snapped.  She said, “Hold it” and pointed a finger at him, which commands silence.  “I know your supposed to say that line, but don’t.  We have heard it over and over, please don’t repeat it”  In the end the sales associate was helpful and probably saved me about thirty seconds of browsing to find what I was looking for. 


On the way to the register, we navigated each isle looking for ways to avoid encountering employees.  If we saw one down an isle we would quickly move on to the next in an effort to do an end run around more questions.  We managed to make it to the cash register with out being assaulted.  Is this considered good customer service when customers actively avoid encounters with employees?  Once we assured the lady taking our money that we did find everything ok, and we didn’t want a Lowes credit card, we made it out to the car. 



On the way home we started working on ideas for some quick responses for the question, “So what projects are we working on today?”

Here are some of our ideas:


Lowes employee:  “So what projects are we working on today?”

Me: “Are you offering to help me build a squirrel catapult?”


Lowes employee:  “So what projects are we working on today?”

Me:  “You go first, what project are you working on? Then I will decide if I want to help”


Lowes employee:  “So what projects are we working on today?”

Me:  “I need a really good paint that covers blood stains, lots and lots of blood stains”


Lowes employee:  “So what projects are we working on today?”

Me: “I can’t tell you.  It would violate my parole”

Lowes employee:  “So what projects are we working on today?”

My wife:  “Were outfitting our dungeon.  Can you help measure my husband for chains?”


Please feel free to add your own snarky ideas, comments are welcome.


I am almost looking forward to going back for more sprinkler parts. 

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3 thoughts on “Intrusive or helpful?

  1. S. Le says:

    Excellent ideas. I can think of a couple of others but may not pass the “G” rating.

  2. Mike says:

    Lowes employee: “So what projects are we working on today?”

    Me: “My wife and I have decided to build our own coffins.”

  3. planetross says:

    Most people over here don’t approach me because of the assumed language barrier: it’s heaven.

    The common greeting here translates as “welcome”: it doesn’t need a response or even a head nod, and is gratefully ignorable.

    It’s awesome! … unless I actually need help.

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