The Zombassistant Effect

As far as shopping is concerned there aren’t too many things that bother me.  But since I came to Korea, I’ve noticed a trend in the stores that’s definitely a cultural clash.  It’s something the shop assistants do and I like to call it “The Zombassistant Effect”.  That’s right, it’s bothers me so much, I made a new term. It essentially involves walking into a store and then being follow around that store until you either buy something or leave.  But if you look at the person following you, they take on this Zombie like look.  Like they have nothing on their mind but your blood or your money.  Hence the term, “Zombassistant”

At first, this really got me down.  To the point where I wouldn’t really go into the stores in question, which are usually the beauty stores or independently owned.  But then, I came up with what I consider an ingenious plan to fight against the effect.  Here’s what I do;

I walk into a store and let the zombassistant follow me for a while. Then I walk around the store again but this time I start picking things up and testing them.  If it’s really bad I’ll pick everything up, test it, look at my hand like I’ve never seen it before and then put it back in a slightly wrong position, so they’ll have to fix it.

Then I move along the store until I’m out the door.  However, after a while, I look at the million testers on my hand and make a “how should I get this off” look with my face.  This causes said Zombassistantto go in search of cotton wool and remover, buying me the essential second to check out what I actually went in to check out in the first place.

If I actually intend on buying something but I’ll follow the previous steps until I reach what I want.  Then , in the case of makeup, try every shade and then try them again before making a decision or with clothes, I try on the item in every colour and two different sizes and then hand the hangers and clothes back to the Zombassistant separately. ( Foreigners clearly cannot hang things on hangers, especially Irish ones!)

In severe circumstances, I’ll pick something up that comes in several shades or sizes.  I’ll then try out a few and make some different expressions with my face. Like I might be considering buying it but something is missing.   Eventually, I’ll look up and say ” do you have this in “insert made up shade /size here”? They then go in search of this shade/size and when they say no I shake my head and just say “no” and walk out of the store looking very sad and disappointed.  Job done. It doesn’t stop the Zombassistanteffect but it certainly makes it more interesting.

While I’m on this rant, there’s one other thing.

I’m pretty certain this is something that happens to everyone.  It drives me insane when they refuse to tell me the price in Korea because they think I won’t understand.  They point at the screen and wait.  So now, instead of getting mad I just stand there and look at them.  With a smile on my face, waiting, waiting, waiting them out, then eventually they point at the screen and I just go, 네? then forcing them to say it to me in Korean.  And that’s it.  I hand over my money.  Was it really so hard?????????? Just because we don’t look Korean doesn’t mean we’re stupid……if you can’t say it in English then just tell us in Korean.

Ok rant over.  The next time anyone suffers an attack of a Zombassistant, follow my steps and it’ll be very happy days indeed.


4 thoughts on “The Zombassistant Effect

  1. I can’t verify this story, but I heard from a friend that they (or someone they know – we were talking about this over dinner a.k.a. oceans of soju) went into a shop and had one of these people follow them around the shop, so they just walked around the same rail of clothes about two or three times and the person got the idea and left them alone, no doubt slightly humiliated. I tried it in a shoeshop once – but I think the guy left me because I strayed into another predator’s territory.

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