Header Logo
Close this search box.

How To Politely Disengage Salespeople


Sales people are generally unhelpful. They often ask silly questions, recommend useless items and say insulting things like, “That is so hot right now.” By hot does s/he mean popular? And by popular does s/he mean everyone is buying it? Is s/he saying I should look like everyone else or worse is s/he thinking I actually want to look like everyone else? Do you know anyone that wants to show up to work or a party in the same dress or jacket that someone else in the room is wearing? We can all agree that is bad.

Yes, most sales people suck, but there are some amazing ones out there ready to help you find the right shoe for your burgundy dress, the right jeans for your butt, or, better yet, change out sizes quickly and keep their opinion to themselves. One way of avoiding the creepy sales associates is by enlisting one of these good sales associates. When you walk into a store like Nordstrom, step back and look who’s working before you look at the clothes. Skip the ones with the blank faces and confused looks on their face, they might not be pushy, but they are unhelpfully slow. Avoid the ones with giant grins, hungry energy and snobby expressions. Find the one that is putting clothes back, or walking the parameter of the store with a normal, but pleasant expression on their face. You may also want to go with a younger sales associate. The older sales people come from the selling generation. They are thinking from the business’s point of view, where the new generation is thinking from the consumer’s point of view. The downfall of the youth though, they could end up shoving way trendy items into your dressing room.

When you decide on a sales person you want to work with, approach them with your needs. If you know you will only need someone to open a dressing room door for you, go on shopping and when the hungry ones pounce you simply tell them, “I am already working with someone else.” You can say this even though your desired associate isn’t aware they are helping you. No one will know the difference. When you are ready for the assistance of your desired sales associate, approach them for help. They will help you and no body will know she only just started helping you. If finding the right sales associate doesn’t work, here is how to proceed with stress free shopping…

  • The hungry eyes sales associate asks, “What are you shopping for?”

If you need help you can tell them the truth and see if they are on your page, if they are not showing you things that make sense with your request, simply say (always with a smile), “You know thank you so much for your help, but I am just going to browse and see what I can find.

If you don’t need help at all you can say:

“I am just browsing.”

“Nothing really.”

“Just seeing what catches my eye.”

  • If they ask again or rephrase the question after seeing what you are touching, “If you are looking for a sequined dress, I can show you one back here.”

You can say, “I’m sorry I’d actually just like to shop alone, thank you.”

or, “I would really just to like browse, thank you.”

or,  “I will let you know when I need something. Thank you.”

  • Let’s say you come out of the dressing room to look at yourself in a garment and they are out there. They say, “You look amazing, you have to get that.”

You can say, “I’ll think about it, thank you.”

  • They ask you outside the dressing room, “How are you liking the [insert garment you are trying on]?”

You can say, “I am still thinking, thank you.”

  • You have to exit the dressing room in order to look in the mirror and the person is hovering there, making you uncomfortable and unable to examine yourself properly. If you want the person to leave so you can actually look at yourself without them stressing you out…

You can say, “If you don’t mind I would like to look at this by myself. Thank you so much.”

  • They want to show you something. “Let me show you something.”

You can say, “Not today, thank you.”

  • They randomly point out an item that has nothing to do with your life saying, “This looks so great on,” or “This has been selling like crazy,” or “[Some celebrity] was seen in this,” or “We just got this in.”

You can say, “I am fine, I don’t need help yet, thank you.” Which you can always use whenever you want someone to leave you alone during the shopping process, no matter what they are asking or telling you. If you don’t remember anything else, remember that. If said with a smile and maybe some eye contact, this should make them leave you alone after a couple of interactions without hating you. If the idea of working with sales people is just terrifying, shop risk free online with retailers that offer free shipping both ways like shoetique.

Leave a note for Vanessa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


wardrobe stylist

Items selling out are my reader's biggest complaint. Sign up for my weekly updates so you get first dibs.

Are weekly emails too much? Sign up for the monthly round up and receive my personal five favorite recent purchases. In my professional opinion, you should sign up for both!

* indicates required
Please enter your e-mail address.
What updates do you want from me?

Sign up for my newsletter

* indicates required
Please enter your e-mail address.
What updates do you want from me?