Girls in Zara hate me, they hate you, they hate everyone! … either that or they are just too miserable. Maybe they have read my first post for the Olive Press.

IT is a scientifically proven fact that the girls working in Zara are miserable. You walk up to the till, patiently waiting your turn, finally reaching the sales assistant. You greet her with a smile and a hello, and she doesn’t even look you in the eye.

She folds your clothes to neat perfection, with a halo of sadness reminiscent of the unhappy housewife, re-living her misery every day, as she folds the laundry, her husband ignoring her, scoring mistress after mistress. She takes your credit card and scrutinises it closely, asking you to introduce your PIN number with a lifeless voice, returning it to you with no “thank you”. The Zara girl doesn’t know that word, she is too blue to be grateful. She hands you your bag of purchases, then, looking into thin air, calls the next customer.

Have you ever experienced this sort of, sad, impersonal customer service at the Inditex brand? I have seen it happening in London, in Brussels, Antwerp and now I’m experiencing the full-on “I’m too miserable to even acknowledge your presence” attitude in their Málaga stores. Mary Portas went to the Oxford Street flagship store in London and compared the service to that of Burger King, even calling it “snooty”.

Why are they so sad? Is the pay that bad? Are the working conditions so horrid? Why do they hate customers? Because, the truth is, I’m pretty sure they don’t just randomly hate me … they hate us all.

Maybe it’s the uniforms they have to wear: jacket, top and trousers, ugly shoes, all in black. Day in, day out. Maybe they see us happy customers smiling away with our colourful shopping. Their resentment must be at a mighty high after this summer of vibrant colour blocking.

Could they have been told not to smile? They might have been warned about Anna Wintour not including smiles in the upcoming September issue of Vogue, and we all know how good Zara is at replicating the latest trends.

I wonder whether they have motivational posters in the storage rooms, as in “make a customer feel as insignificant as an amoeba and get a 10% discount”.

We may never know the real reason. All we can be sure of, is that the girls in Zara are sad. Very, very sad.

Note: I have worked in retail, in some miserable conditions. I have worked in pubs with minimum wage and drunks as customers. Still, I believe a smile goes a long way. I’m seriously curious about the lack of customer care in Zara, if anyone knows anything about their working conditions, please enlighten us. Until then I can only look at this misery with a pinch of salt.

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  1. After reading all this looks like I’m really lucky because the Zara store I work for the last months is actually amazing. All 4 managers are really friendly and there is teamwork. I am happy going there to work. I was never pushed to do something. Ok, they always tell us that customer is priority and we need to approach all of them in our section and try to achieve sales, but that’s it. No screaming, no pushing, no bullying, no threatening. They actually appreciate us and we respect them. BUT I can totally understand the frustration of other employees because we have a second Zara sjop in my city and things there are a bad nightmare. Managers are rude, there is staff rotation, and nobody wants to work in that place. So, yes. I think I was just lucky.

  2. Let me just say that this post is absolutely biased. Sales associates put up with so much bs from customers. How would you feel if you’d been yelled at the whole day by customers who’s return you couldn’t process because they lost their reciept or they passed the days given for a return. You get disrespected day in and day out, and then a middle aged suburban house mom like yourself expects 5 star customer service? I have never experienced anything as disgusting as working in retail, so please, don’t pick on the zara girls. We put up with so much shit, and some of us are students working to fund an education. We wear shoes that are made of literal plastic and we are on our feet for 9 hours, while still putting up with customers who throw clothes at us over the cash if they wait in line too long.

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