Honest to goodness question: does ANYBODY actually like it when a store employee yells "hello!" or "Hi, how are you?" when you enter a store? Can we just get rid of that whole thing and have salespeople standing around visible in case you actually need to ask for help? PLEASE?
I have worked retail. I know both sides. I was once a person who was told by a manager to "greet everyone as they enter the store" and "make sure everyone knows your name." You know what? NO. Here's how shit works.
When I'd stand near the front of the store and someone would come in, they display certain behaviors. Option A - they look right at me and seem friendly. Option B - they don't look at me but also don't look like they'd eat me if I spoke to them. Option C - they intentionally keep their eyes off me and have a look that tells me they do not wish to be bothered. Option D - they not only don't look at me, but they notice my presence and enter as far away as possible and immediately get lost in the racks.
Despite being a socially anxious misanthrope, I read people very well. I can tell who is friendly and who is not, who is being friendly only because they want something, who is in a bad mood. They don't even have to speak. So when I was a retail employee, if option A or B entered the store, I would nicely tell them hello, and generally they would smile and say hi back. I knew instinctively not to bother C or D. How? Because they are me. That, and my manager would be around so I'd have to speak to them and they'd flat out ignore me, so my point was proven.
There seems to be a new trend of all the employees of a business yelling "HI WELCOME" the instant you walk in, as though they're in a race to see who can say it the fastest. It's bizarre and creepy. I know they were told to do that, but who on earth thought that was a good idea? "Hey, let's get five people to yell at this customer as she enters the store so she's bombarded by humans and also has no idea which one to respond to, if any."
First of all, "welcome" is fucking weird. It isn't a question, so it doesn't really require a response, but it also leaves you vaguely confused if just saying hi back is enough. Also, "welcome" is something you say to someone entering your home, because if they just walked in off the street that might not go over too well. Of course I'm fucking welcome at Subway, your sign says open and I'm about to give you my money. If you're welcoming someone to a place that is not your home, it better be as they go through customs at the airport or have stumbled upon your candy factory accidentally and it's followed by "go ahead and try anything you want."
Second, we both know you don't mean it. Don't look at me and try to convince me for one minute that you took that retail job because you ACTUALLY deeply wanted everyone to feel welcomed into this store that barely pays you enough to get by. I know you don't care how I am, and I'm super fine with that. I didn't care how anybody was when I was in retail, but I knew I had to say it. Unless you're working on commission, you don't even give a flying shit if I'm in the store at all, because you're making money by just standing there.
"Can I help you find anything?" Yeah, I was wondering where your kosher snacks are...? "Ma'am, this is Forever21." WELL THEN WHY DID YOU ASK??? Do people really come in and ask "I just want to know where the solid blue crop tops are, I'm in a hurry"? The most ironic part is that I hear this the most in small stores, yet where you would NEED to ask something like that would be in a large department store - "Can I help you find anything?" "MOTHER OF GOD I'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR THE RESTROOM FOR TEN MINUTES AND AM ABOUT TO PISS IN A LOUBOUTIN, WHERE THE HELL IS IT??"
"Are you looking for a specific size?"
NO, I JUST WANTED TO TOUCH THIS SHIRT BECAUSE IT LOOKED SOFT. AND IT IS. GO AWAY.
"Shopping for Christmas gifts today?"
No, I'm bored out of my fucking mind and have nowhere to go in the day but the goddamned mall. Also are people like me really buying $400 purses for OTHER PEOPLE? Do I look famous?
"What can I help you with today?"
FIND EVERYTHING IN THE STORE THAT IS UNDER $10, I'LL WAIT
*at the register* "Did you find everything okay today?"
I HAD A DEVIL OF A TIME FINDING THIS SHIRT BECAUSE I HAD TO BURROW UNDER THE CARPET BUT THE TANK TOPS WERE QUITE CONVENIENTLY PLACED ON A TABLE, THANKS FOR ASKING
And I'll finish with an actual exchange I had a few years back in a clothing store:
"Are you shopping for Valentine's Day?"
"Do you sell boyfriends?"