Occupation: Senior Sales Advisor
Name: Silky O’Collar
Pay per hour: £7.80
Has anyone every yelled at you ‘Oi, shop girl?‘
No, more often than not customers tend to try to ignore you altogether and then demand help without any form of address.
Would you ever tell a customer something doesn’t suit them?
Absolutely but I’d turn it into a positive. Instead of saying outright that it doesn’t I’d suggest something else and explain why that was better. Of course, it depends on the customer and if they were very taken with the garment then I wouldn’t dream of saying something that would make them doubt themselves.
Are the mirrors in the shop designed to make you look better?
I’d say that it was more of an accident rather than design but it’s a bit like a hall of mirrors. I don’t think any of them are 100% accurate.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve found in a changing room?
Well, we’re forever finding snotty used tissues (lovely). The best find has been a shopping bag full of herbal tea. The customer never came back so we have every sort of tea imaginable available in the staff room now.
Do you get to keep any of the clothes?
A very small quantity, yes. We have to wear a full Jigsaw ensemble and you have to be very clever with how you use your allowance if you want more than one outfit.
Has anyone ever walked into Jigsaw and asked you for an actual jigsaw?
Have any celebs dropped in while you’ve been working?
Many times. Julie Walters seems to be a bit of a regular and I was slightly star struck when Tamsin Greig came in to try on a dress. She said the dress made her feel ‘like a sofa’ and needless to say, didn’t buy anything.
Do you ask people if they need assistance?
If yes, why?
Partly because it’s shop policy and partly because people honestly do come in looking around like headless chickens, needing you to show them where things are.
What’s the rudest thing a customer has ever said to you?
It’s usually more what they don’t say that I find rude. There’s nothing worse than being brick walled. However, we often do get women who come in and expect us to run around after them like servants.
Can you tell the difference between the people who are ‘browsing’ and those who mean business?
Not always but after working there a while you do begin to develop an eye for specific ‘types’ and we have a lot of regular customers who regularly splash out so it’s good to know who they are.
Do people try to give stuff back when it’s pretty obvious they’ve already worn it?
Definitely. One woman comes in every few months and buys things that are considerably too small for her. I see her wearing them out and about nearby and then she comes back in months later asking for refunds because the seams have stretched.
Ever had a thief in store?
Yes, but I wasn’t there. It sounded as though the thief was an illegal immigrant too, which seemed to complicate things further.
What’s the deal re: layout – most expensive clothes at the back, cheaper items at the front?
We have company visual merchandisers who lay the shop out based on colour palettes rather than on price. Our most expensive items are actually kept chained up.
Who decides what goes on the mannequins?
Again, it’s the visual merchandisers but if we’re running low on certain garments then I might change them a bit.
Does dressing a mannequin feel a bit weird? Like you’re playing at dollies?
A little bit, but with really awkward dollies that don’t want to get dressed. The arms are always the most difficult.
What are your colleagues like?
We are a very cosmopolitan team and there are about 20 of us in total so it’s great to have someone who can speak a different language at hand what with all the tourists who come in to shop. We all get on amazingly well and often go out for drinks together.
Shop managers always look a nightmare – is yours?
She’s extremely jolly and has a work hard, play hard ethic that’s a very motivating presence. She knows how to keep both the staff and customers happy and that’s a difficult balance.
What training do you do?
It’s pretty obvious stuff but it mainly revolves around all the different methods to offer the best customer service and maximize on sales.
Have you ever ordered anyone out of the shop for mistreating the clothes?
No. Customers drop clothes on the floor all the time and walk away without picking them up even though they know they’ve done it so I sometimes glare at them pointedly and then they look sheepish.
In your opinion, are Jigsaw clothes reasonably priced?
Some of them. I believe that the price should reflect the quality and the design. A lot of our fabrics are lovely, as are many of our designs. However, recently a lot of cheaper fabrics have been used and for these I feel the price is extortionate. There’s no way I could afford to shop there myself but the sky-rocketing prices don’t appear to have deterred the demographic.
Anything else you’d like to add?
It can be a fun job sometimes, especially when a customer expresses gratitude for your help. However, most of the time, customers are rude, the hours are long and the pay is pretty poor. Being a relatively quiet shop, it can be a little bit of a slog to get through to the end of the day whilst remaining positive.
Trivial Pursuits would like to thank Silky O’Collar for her fascinating insight into the puzzling world of Jigsaw