Thursday, July 30, 2015

ZARA HONG KONG not so welcoming

I am sure that you have had the experience. You walk into a ZARA store in Hong Kong and the robots, dressed to looks like staff, start chirping. "Welcome", "Welcome", "Welcome". No eye contact, no body language and you wonder who they are welcoming. Can't be you as the are looking at the ceiling or their mobiles. Maybe the robots have been programmed to say, "Welcome" at anyone or anything that moves.

Well, it finally got to my English, as a fist language, nerve today. I was next in line to pay for an item. The person behind the counter chips "welcome", so up I go to pay. He neither looks up from his hand held devise, not acknowledges my presence.
Maybe I misheard him, as the "welcome" chirps echoed around the store. As I retake my place in line, he once again chirps "welcome". I go back up to the cash register to pay and he once again just ignores me. I ask him if he intends to help me, as he had sought and got my attention twice with his "welcome". He says that he is unable to help me. I asked him why did he say 'welcome" twice, in that case? Does he understand the meaning of "welcome". He says, in not very efficient English,  that they are just told to say that word frequently. The customer next to me chuckles.

I ask to speak with a store manager, to see if I can get to the root cause of the misuse of the lovely and gracious word "welcome". Sam, who insists that he is the senior store manger, appears. I find it hard to believe that he is the store manager, as he looks more like a stock boy, disheveled and with no name tag. His English is also on the not-so-good side of the fence, and he informs me that no one in management staff in Hong Kong Zara speaks English as a first language. 
Aha matey, we seem to have fond the kernel of the flagrant misuse of the word!!

"WELCOME"; a manner of greeting someone in a glad, polite of friendly way, has totally lost it's meaning at ZARA. The thoughtless "welcome" used at ZARA, sounds more like "don't bother me, I really don't care". 
Manager Sam, says that he will work on having the staff make eye contact and better use of body language when they chirp "WELCOME".
We shall see.

I was so happy that they did not bleat out "BYE BYE", as I let the store.