01/07/2013 10:09 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Department Store Shopping Tips From A Sales Clerk

By Amanda Robb

We cornered "Jenny," who currently works at Macy's department store, to find out what a salesperson is really thinking.

Do you lie to customers and tell them they look great so you can earn your commission?
"I never lie and say something looks good that looks bad; it's not worth the two-percent sales commission I make."

But sometimes I feel as if I'm getting a hard sell.
"It's probably the end of a sales period and the salesperson is behind on her weekly quota. If we fail to meet it, we get in trouble. Three warnings, then you're fired."

So is it annoying when a customer has you help her for a long time and then doesn't buy anything?
"Yes, but not as annoying as when customers ask for discounts. At big department stores, salesclerks cannot give discounts."

Do you lose your commission if I return an item?

Why do you always ask for a phone number and zip code?
"The store wants your phone number so they can call and tell you about sales and special events. Sometimes they need to ask for your zip code for credit card security -- also so they can track how many people from your area are shopping at the store."

If a salesperson is rude to me, what should I do?
"Tell her you're going to speak to her manager, then do it."

Is there a best time to shop?
"It really depends. Weekday mornings are often very quiet."

What can customers do to be better shoppers?
"Be informed about store policies -- sales, special events, returns, and exchanges. And be polite to me. It'll make me work harder to search for clothes in your size, and I'll tell you about upcoming sales."