The Seattle Times

Entertainment & the Arts: Friday, March 30, 2007

Book Buzz

Those sales clerks really work like dogs


Every profession has its own lexicon. "Words at Work: An Insider's Guide to The Language of Professions" by Mim Harrison (Walker&Co.,125pp.,$16.95) collects some of the best insider language from common professions. Here's a colorful sampler from the world of retail, weirdly laced with canine references:

• Store dog: "Many retailers who have survived for more than fifteen years refer to themselves as store dogs. Think head office vs. stores, officer vs. infantry: those working dogs in the stores are the ones fetching and retrieving and working like dogs."

• Poodle traffic: "Your slave-to-fashion customers. One store dog explained that poodles come in different breeds. The wannabe poodle has more attitude than money. The diamond-stud poodle has both."

• Cannibalized sales: "When one product detracts from the sale of a comparable one, you've cannibalized your sales. Retail really is a dog-eat-dog world."

Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times book editor

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