Saudi women like lingerie, but certainly not selling it

Published October 7th, 2013 - 09:57 GMT
Many saleswomen have been unable to familiarize themselves with the job function to execute their job efficiently and professionally.
Many saleswomen have been unable to familiarize themselves with the job function to execute their job efficiently and professionally.

The decision made by the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Commerce to feminize employment in women’s stores has created panic among saleswomen, who often have no background in sales and lack sufficient training. 

Many saleswomen have been unable to familiarize themselves with the job function to execute their job efficiently and professionally. Sarah E., an employee who was hired a week ago at a women’s lingerie shop, said: “I am thinking of submitting my resignation. It is really difficult for me to deal with demanding customers.

“We were given a five-day training course before we started work. It was beneficial, though mostly theoretical. The only practical part involved detecting fake currency,” she said.

“I took up this job to change my routine in life,” said Basma, who worked at a women’s lingerie shop with three months’ experience.
“Women have expressed their discontent with the decision taken by the ministry to enforce feminization in the sales sector at gatherings I have attended. They think saleswomen are slow, and they have a point,” she said. 

“We never underwent enough training, especially on how to deal with customers, not to mention the fact that the store itself is not designed to accommodate female workers. There is no space for lockers to keep our belongings safe while on the job, which results in theft. We need more training, experience and patience from the customer’s side until we are properly trained.” 

Aziza M., who works at a kids and women’s accessory shop, agreed with her colleagues.

“We never got the chance to learn from previous salesmen who were working at the store before us. They all left prior to our arrival,” she said.

Amal A., who works at a female lingerie shop, said: “We work in shifts that last long hours, making it difficult for us. The salary we are paid, which is around SR3,000, is hardly enough to cover our basic needs. Most of our money is spent on drivers. We were promised transportation, but nothing has happened so far.”


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