I've had some time to think this over, after I DID get hold of their corporate Customer Service line and left several detailed messages about the incident.
I suspect this girl was pretty new, maybe her first time dealing with the store on her own. What she did was right smack out of a training manual "Greet them as they arrive, offer to help them find their size".
Not a bad opening, but she could have done better. A quiet "Hi, welcome to Payless, can I help you find something?" is a lot better than demanding my shoe-size in a loud voice as I walk in the door!
This reminds me of a joke that a friend sent me yesterday morning:
An old man walks into the crowded waiting room of a Dr.'s office and asks to see the doctor. The receptionist asks him "What is the problem?". The man is obviously uncomfortable and says "I'd like to wait and discuss that with the doctor".
The receptionist is adamant, demanding to know his ailment before she will even put his name on the list to see the doctor, and finally the man says "There's something wrong with my dick!"
The receptionist, aghast, tells the man that it is inappropriate for him to mention his "member" in a crowded room, that there are people there who are embarassed now! "You should say something like 'I'm having a problem with my ear' instead."
The man thinks for a moment, nods, then walks out, and walks back in again. The receptionist smiles and asks "What are you here for, sir?". The old man replies "I'm having a problem with my ear". The receptionist beams, so glad she has finally gotten through to him.
"And just what is the problem with your ear, Sir?" she asks.
"I can't piss out of it"
See, like the old man, I don't want to have to advertise my shoe size to the whole farking store. If I'm given the opportunity to accept or reject assistance, I'm more likely to look favorably upon the clerk. "Welcome to Payless, is there something I can help you find?" Allows me to say "Just browsing, thank you".
Now the "come back in a little while and tell you about our promotion" - I'm sure in some sense this is probably an anti-shoplifting tool that they are taught, and I don't disapprove. While I myself will not shoplift shoes there, I am sure some idjits do, and I don't begrudge management trying to control theft.
What I resent is being informed that "I don't trust you. I'm sure you are going to rip my store off, so I'm going to pester you about promotions that any well-educated 10 year old can understand", hidden behind a perky, bouncy "helpful" exterior.
Don't tell me. Do it. After I've been poking around in the shoes for a few minutes, find an excuse to walk past me and mention "I'm not sure if you noticed, but we have a buy-one-get-2nd-half-price sale". Ok, now you have fulfilled your commitment to mention your promo, you've made sure I havent stuffed 8 boxes of shoes in my bra, AND you've managed to be quiet, discrete and unoffensive.
HELL, I'd even settle for another drive-by "Finding what you need?" later on as well, as you reassure yourself I'm not stuffing wedgies down my undies.
This kid needs a massive dose of "Tact Training".