Sex Shop Etiquette for Staffers
One’s journey into a sex shop is always a personal moment. Because sex itself is personal. Therefore, if a sex shop has a policy of having staff readily assist you, then there is a proper way that those staffers should approach you.
Including my time in porn, I have been in the sex industry for 14 years now, and worked at the sex shop that is my day job for the past 6 years. However, I’ve been a customer in sex shops for nearly 30 years.
So if you combine my knowledge of interacting with the public through porn appearances, my day job, but much more so as a customer in sex shops myself, then I definitely have some advice worth sharing that I’m sure you will appreciate.
First of all, as a sex shop staffer, one will encounter a variety of comfort levels. Primarily due to the sexual culture of where one was born and raised, their religious affiliations, and sad to say even traumas.
So to be safe, when you first walk through the doors of a sex shop, at the most a staffer should say to you is “Hello”, then leave you be for a spell. The only way the interaction should immediately go beyond that “Hello” is if you initiate and request more conversation.
When They Should Ask You If You Need Help
In all honesty, due to the intimacy of the subject matter, I would prefer to just be available if needed by a customer. Rather than initiate a dialogue with a customer by asking, “Is there anything I can help you find?” However, the sex shop at which I work wants staffers to go beyond just a “Hello”.
With such as the case, I make a compromise between my knowledge of dealing with the public on sex and that of the store’s policy by giving a greeting of “Hello”, then waiting about 2 – 5 minutes before asking if he/she/they need help. I also read body language and the situations customers are in as they progress in the store.
So in some instances, I will go against store policy and say nothing at all to the customer. If I see when they come to check out, that they have made a bad decision, then I might make a suggestion. At which point, they can accept my advice or not. Giving you the space to live by my credo, “Your body, your call”.
I do this because like I said before, I’ve been a sex shop customer for nearly 30 years. But nearly 13 of those years was before I actually came out to myself as a predominately gay sexual and lost my virginity. The wait was brought on by being raised in an anti-gay religious household.
Therefore, making any and every trip into a sex shop during that time, to be one in which I wanted to be left alone, so I could for once explore my true self. So if anyone asked if I needed help, I’d answer with a quick hard “NO!” For that staffer was an intruder into my “Discovering Me” time.
Remembering that feeling so well is what motivates me to not put any customer through such anxiety.
With that said, in my 6 years as a sex shop staffer, I have seen staffers asking customers if they need assistance as soon as the customer walks through the door. Not even allowing the customer to take a breath after possibly overcoming the hurdle of walking into their 1st sex shop.
Sadly, this shows a staffer having no respect for the aforementioned variety in comfort levels. The staffer was either not trained properly, and/or they are too eager for a sale. Eager to the point of being the problem component that incited my Rule #2 of my 7 Rules of Sex Shop Etiquette.
For such vulture-like pouncing on a customer shows they are a salesperson and not a Customer Assistant. Their ego and sales goal numbers are their priority. Not your sexual satisfaction and well-being. Because of that, they forget how they are working in a sex shop, and not your local family mall.
When even in a local mall, such a rapid greeting once you walk through the door is not always welcome. So what would make such individuals think it would work in a sex shop is beyond me. Especially in the United States where I’m based, which is nowhere near as sexually liberated as its advertisers sometimes try leading one to believe.
This tactic of salespeople can make a sex shop customer feel uncomfortable. Leading the customer to either abruptly leave or feel trapped in a sale. Those are 2 things you don’t want to do as a sex shop customer. Especially if the customer is a sex crime survivor. And even more so if their journey into the sex shop is to reclaim their sexuality after that trauma.
My method of approaching sex shop customers has proven quite effective. It has put many customers at ease with talking to me. To the point that there have been times when a female customer has wanted a female staffer for assistance, but had to settle for me because of a female staffer being unavailable.
In the end, my approach of giving them their space helped in making them more receptive to my sharing just as much knowledge of the genitalia as they expected from my female colleague. My pacing myself in approaching them made me not come off with the aggression common with the know-it-all male.
Now, if I ever need to change my approach, by perhaps being more questioning of a customer for what they need, I allow the customer to re-write my script. For my script of how to speak to a customer is not etched in stone. The customer does the rewrite, and I welcome that by recognizing the individuality of each customer.