Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you like to window shop? Do you know what to say to a salesperson when they get too pushy in English? How can you get them to back off and give you some more space withour sounding rude?

I remember when I was in Japan that was a super common thing people did on the weekends. They would go to Ginza or Shinjuku.

Are salespeople aggressive in the US?

I don’t think they are compared with salespeople that I have encountered in other parts of the world but this issue is highly cultural. 

Today we have a question from a listener:


Dear Lindsay ,

I have been listening to your podcast for half a year  and I like your program very much. Recently I’ve met a situation that made me feel very embarrassed. My friend and I went to a cosmetic shop. A saleswomen there kept on promoting theproducts. She was very enthusiastic and let us try a lot of new products. However, we didn’t want to buy it. I would like to ask how should we say to refuse that politely. Thank you very much.

   Looking forward to your reply.


Xue Song


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Great question!

It’s important to know what to expect when you walk into a store and how to handle it.

This situation I am envisioning Macy’s – where the cosmetics ladies get in your way a you walk down the aisle- and they want you to get a makeover- then of course buy their products- probably they get a commission- but this situation is unique- not typical in US shopping


In American culture salespeople usually just verbally greet you when you walk in.

They might say something like this:

  • Hi how are you doing today?
  • Hi how are you today?
  • Welcome.

Sometimes they might ask you if you need help right away:

  • Welcome- (can I) help you find anything?
  • Hi are you looking for anything specific?
  • Come on in- do you need any help?

Usually that’s the most that a sales person will push you unless you are shopping for a car or another high-priced item then you might run into someone who is a bit pushier. 

What NOT to say:

Don’t say: “I don’t want it”

Why? It’s kind of abrupt and they can try to talk you into it.

They can continue to engage you.

What to say:

  • We’re really not interested  right now but thank you (anyways).
  • I might come back later but for now I have to run.
  • Thanks for your help. I’ll think about it.
  • I’m all set for today thanks.
  • Not today thanks.

Listen to the episode for more details and to hear the role play.

Thanks for listening today and please leave your comments and questions below.

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