10.30am: READERS continue to share their thoughts on aggressive stallholders in shopping centres and outside supermarkets, with over 80% saying they avoid those centres with hawkers.
An online poll which has been open for 21 hours has received 253 votes so far, with 86% saying they avoid shopping centres and supermarkets with aggressive stallholders.
The poll was created in response to a discussion on social media about how some stallholders are too aggressive in the selling techniques, many taking not taking 'no, I can't afford it' or 'no, I don't want or need it' as an answering.
A Rockhampton woman shared her horror stallholder story on social media on Monday night, which The Bulletin decided to see what readers thought of such matters by putting a post on The Bulletin's Facebook page about hawkers.
The post has received 210 comments in 24 hours:
Stockland Rockhampton have responded to the issue, and the original horror story:
We want all of our customers to enjoy their Stockland shopping experience.
We have received a customer complaint regarding the conduct of a retail staff member at Stockland Rockhampton and we have taken this complaint very seriously.
Our Centre Manager has discussed this issue with the retailer. The business owner and retail staff have agreed to comply with the guidelines we have set for all sales and service interactions with customers. We have also arranged for the retailer to provide a full refund to the customer.
We appreciate the customer bringing this issue to our attention. We welcome all customer feedback and encourage our customers to share details of their in-store experiences with our Customer Service Team so we may continue to improve the retail experience enjoyed by our customers.
TUESDAY: IT'S bad enough that they take up so much room in a shopping centre that at Christmas time that human foot traffic is at snail's pace.
But it's worse that when they jump in front of shoppers and hawk at them until the shopper buys their product.
Never mind the shopper not having the money in their budget to afford to pay the power bill on time, or buy little Johnny much needed socks for school.
It would appear these people - the stallholders set up out the front of supermarkets or in the middle of shopping centres - have no regard whatsoever to a person's financial status or psychological health.
These bullies don't want to take no for an answer.
One shopper shared her experience on Facebook this week.
"I've recently been pressured into buying something from one of the stalls in stocklands. I suffer social anxiety when confronted by strangers, and whenever I tried to leave I was grabbed by the arm or hand to stay and keep talking. I've spent the money I needed for my families xmas layby payment. I normally have my parter to speak up for me, but this time i was alone, and was trying to find my partner and child in stocklands, but this sales person kept going. In the end I spent a lot of money I couldn't afford on items I don't need or want, just so I could go find my family. I don't know what to do. The receipt states no returns, but I've not opened any of the items. I believed I was bullied into this, and I want my money back. Can anyone offer any advice on what I may be able to do to get my money back"
It sparked a massive discussion about how to deal with hawkers, what the laws are regarding what stallholders can do - when and how they approach customers. Over 140 comments posted on feed on The Bulletin's Facebook page (see link below).
"I hate walking towards Kmart end. They harass people. Nearly all those stores do it. I get turned off walking down there. I tell them no but they shouldn't be allowed to harass. If I want my children to have photos done I would do it. If I wanted to buy cream I will do it but I don't want to. I'm glad the other person has put this post up," Angelia Stone-Tolcher posted on The Bulletin's Facebook page today on a feed about reader's experiences with stallholders.
"I walk as close to the shop windows as I can without actually going through the windows I hate that they make just strolling along enjoying the shops so difficult," Lea Buchanan posted.
Belinda Buckenham said one day Stockland Rockhampton management will realize 90% of these stalls just annoy shoppers!
The shopper has since contacted The Morning Bulletin to clarify a few things:
A few things I need to clarify - the man in question was very nice. But I still did feel bullied into buying the suggested product. Second, he didn't grab me at first and pull me in, he said a few things to me to get my attention as I walked past, but I ignored him, and then he jumped out in front of me and started waving to get my attention, and started talking to me the second I "noticed" him. I told him I had to keep looking for my son and partner, but in his words he needed to "ask me one question", which kept happening over and over. I spoke up a few times saying things like "I need to go" or "I can't afford anything", at which point I was ignored. I tried to leave a few times, but my hand was grabbed to try a new product. I finally ended up saying, "I can not afford this, I haven't got the money" and went to walk away, to which he responded, "well I'll give it to you for free" and grabbed my hand and took me to the register. I said "it's fine don't worry" I was told "to just accept the free gift, as it was his pleasure", I then realised that he had still intended for me to buy the package, but had made one item in it free, so that the price overall was cheaper. By this point, 20 minutes in, I gave up, all the stores were already closed. Stockland was starting to secure up, and I needed to find my family. I paid the money, so the man would let me leave. Which did work. I was quite flustered and just wanted to leave. I normally have my partner with me to help speak on my behalf.
I have no problem with friendly stall holders, or even stall holders trying to advertise, but nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable.
In the end I contacted centre management who spoke to the stall in question, and I got my refund after being quizzed on it all by the stall, which was more confrontation I did not want. There is a law governing "unsolicited consumer agreements" meaning you get an automatic 10 day cooling off period (contracts and sales) but this applies to contracts or sales over $100 and is difficult to prove with "stall holders" as the sale occurs at the stall, and it's hard to prove they came away from the stall to bring you over. Which is why they do that.
- Lisa Verney - I don't suffer from anxiety and these people are intimidating ..centre management needs to move them on ...
- Michelle Hooper - If a shopping centre could guarantee no aisle stalls I would definitely go there over anywhere else. It should be my choice to approach them if I'm interested. The same way it is my choice to enter a shop or not.
- Evelin Macaskill - I agree with Narelle Smith ban the stalls I hate having to walk/run as fast as I can past them or pretend I'm on my pH or have a conversation with my baby just to TRY and avoid them
- Stuart Ames - Utterly annoying for crap I don't want or need. Get rid of them, if I need a product I'll go look for it myself
- Justine Harrison - Some of the ones are quite good, they will leave you alone and let you approach them. However, most seem to walk away from their stalls and pounce on you to sell their product. If you say no, and keep walking some tend to follow you, or some say snard comments. It makes shopping very uncomfortable to do. I will not go down certain sections cause I don't want to be bombarded by annoying stall holders trying to sell me something.