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  • Clothes Encounter


    How florists rate the importance of appropriate dress for flower-shop staff.

    Sure, some flower shops do a lot of their business over the telephone rather than in person. Still, we were surprised that nearly a third of those who responded to our March (1998) survey said the matter of how flower-shop staff dress was "not very important." Most thought it was important for everyone in the shop - "Boss, too!" as one reader wrote. Only 7 percent thought dress was important for some employees and not others.

    According to our survey, few florists require uniforms (14 percent) or have a strict dress code (14 percent). But even fewer (8 percent) say they have no stated policy on dress. The majority (64 percent) falls in between, specifying only that staff must dress "appropriately."

    Specific ideas for requirements that can help to make employees look friendly and professional included name pins and shop aprons for all. One shop owner volunteered that her employees wear aprons "and long pants. Long pants are worn to protect her (from unwanted exposure) when bending in the cooler, reaching or stooping."

    Likewise, when it comes to stories about outrageous dress, the recurrent concern was not so much with what employees wore as with what they revealed. But some tales suggested how easily the wall between work and personal life crumbles - like the employee who wore ski clothes to work, prior to leaving on a ski weekend, or the designer who was so anxious to arrive on time she showed up still wearing her red silk pajamas.

    Perhaps the most telling answers were those to the question, "In selling to customers in the shop, do you adjust your sales pitch depending on how the customer is dressed?" Not a single respondent confessed to judging a book by its cover all of the time. But most (64 percent) admitted they do it some of the time. Only 36 percent said they never do it. "Looks can be deceiving!" noted one reader. But don't count on customers to remember that.


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