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Old 09-13-2008, 04:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Questions to ask a store clerk

Hey guys, I've been working on this social exposure plan which I posted in the self-help resources forum, but I keep coming up against a lack of ideas for one exercise in which you need to make small talk with a store clerk for 2 whole minutes. And another exercise is to keep going with the small talk while the next customer is being rung up.

There's variety of different stores at the shopping center I've been going to: Specialty chocolate stores, bookstores, grocery stores, ice cream shops, restaurants, electronics stores, clothing department stores, jewelry stores, among others (the full list: http://www.stanfordshop.com/directory.aspx?lmnu=1)

I'm looking for questions, follow up questions and *specific* topics to use in coming up with questions.

So far what I've thought of is:
At a clothing store: "Any fall styles' that you've seen that have appealed to you?"

At a grocery store - while next customer is getting rung up: Bringing up some crazy made up incident that happened in another part of the store.

Please Help!
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Old 09-13-2008, 04:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Questions to ask a store clerk

Well think of questions related to the store. Like do they have any sales, what's in fashion, what's the best camera, what's this game about, etc.. Some other topics could be general questions like current events. The hurricane, the LA train crash, or the election.
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Questions to ask a store clerk

Thanks for the reply. How would you start bringing up topics about current events without it seeming awkward? I can't see myself saying right off the bat "Hey did you hear about that...", without imagining it being awkward. I'm willing to try that, but is that what you're recommending? Or I should say some preliminary things to get the small talk going?

Also do you have any suggestions for clerks at a bookstore or cafeteria? I want to start doing these exercises at my community college and the only clerks there are the ones who run a cafeteria and the student bookstore.
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Questions to ask a store clerk

I'm not gonna lie if it was me behind that counter i'd dread the day i have to deal with someone doing what you're considering. You never know who might be behind that register. It might just be a poor one of us! I'm not saying don't do it, just be aware of that.
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Questions to ask a store clerk

Well for book stores you can ask, "Where can I find this book?" "Do you have any suggestions on a great book to read?" What type of books are you into?" etc. For cafetaria. Maybe you can say. "That looks good, how do you make that?" What are you sprecials?" Not sure what else. Hope that helps.
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Questions to ask a store clerk

If they have on a cool t-shirt or some interesting jewelry or an unusual tattoo comment on that. Most people enjoy talking about themselves so i'm pretty sure you could get at least 2 minutes out of that and you can use it in any kind of store you happen to be in.
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Old 09-13-2008, 06:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Questions to ask a store clerk

For the general talk you can start with a small talk line first like, "Man, it's a rough day today, but it's better then being in Texas". Something like that. Also, you should look for a clerk who looks like they're a talker or seems pretty friendly with the other customers.
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Old 09-14-2008, 05:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Questions to ask a store clerk

I don't think it's really small talk if you're asking them about work. Fall styles at a clothing store is work. I'll just go ahead and answer that question for you right here, Aisle 1 right next to the door. It's not an interesting question and you won't get an interesting answer. Someone said jewelry, ask them where they got a necklace, that's a much better question (as long as you're not at the jewelry counter).
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Old 09-14-2008, 05:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Questions to ask a store clerk

Quote:
Originally Posted by shyvr6
... Also, you should look for a clerk who looks like they're a talker or seems pretty friendly with the other customers.
Yes, i'll definitely agree w/ that one.
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Old 09-14-2008, 09:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Questions to ask a store clerk

Personally, I don't think making up stuff to talk with a store clerk about is a great idea. It's one thing to ask a real question you have about where something is or could you help me with selecting a [fill in the blank with whatever the store sells], but it's another to play a scripted game that simply wastes their time & effort.
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Old 09-15-2008, 10:11 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Questions to ask a store clerk

Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraShy
Personally, I don't think making up stuff to talk with a store clerk about is a great idea. It's one thing to ask a real question you have about where something is or could you help me with selecting a [fill in the blank with whatever the store sells], but it's another to play a scripted game that simply wastes their time & effort.
Well I need to start somewhere if I want to get to "real" small talk which isn't about the products their selling. Besides, I'm not wasting their time and effort if I actually use the ideas they give me. For example, if I ask a clothing store clerk about styles and see some of the things they have to show me, I am actually going to consider clothing styles to buy in the future if I want to look more attractive to women. And if I go to a bunch of clothing department stores and ask the same questions then I'll get even more ideas. There are also video games I'm considering buying. When I go back to community college I am definitely going to buy things at the cafeteria and the student bookstore.
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Old 09-15-2008, 06:10 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Questions to ask a store clerk

A store clerk will probably respond well if you can find a point of common ground. Start out with talk about the weather, parking (or lack thereof), the temperature of the store if it's noticably too hot or too cold, that sort of thing. Think about things you would talk about if you didn't have SA.
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