During my trip to the US, I visited several shopping malls and tried on multiple shoes before making a purchase. However, I noticed that the salespeople seemed unhappy when I asked to try on a few pairs (3+)

In my home country, it's common to try on as many pairs as you like before buying one. I'm curious if trying on multiple shoes before purchasing is considered rude or inappropriate in the US

  • Where is your home country? I’m not sure it’s all that common to try on 3+ pairs of shoes and then leave without buying any, unless you’re not a standard size/fit.
    – Traveller
    Jul 1 at 8:26
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    It's not considered rude or inappropriate. The sales people, however, seems to have been rude and inappropriate. Unfortunately that's more common these days: Retail is accelerating it's own demise.
    – Hilmar
    Jul 1 at 12:35
  • Probably also need to clarify the type of shoe store. It might very well vary between a normal one selling $35-100 shoes (where there are hardly any staff to begin with and nobody bothers you or tries to help you unless you ask) and an elite luxury brand one or something. Jul 1 at 15:20
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    @Traveller I am from Thailand. Back in my home country, it's common to try on for hours without buying. I know it doesn't make much sense but that's the service level back home. In these two cases, I bought a pair or two at both stores 🤷 Jul 1 at 15:24
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    @CodeProject I doubt any non-high end retail stores in Europe/USA would ever match that level of service :-) Browsing the stock on display and then picking 2-3 pairs max to try on would be more typical in my home country (UK); trying on for hours definitely not the norm in ‘ordinary’ high street/shopping mall stores.
    – Traveller
    Jul 1 at 15:57

3 Answers 3


I'm curious if trying on multiple shoes before purchasing is considered rude or inappropriate in the US.

No, that's fine.


I have seen that attitude in shops all over. Some shop assistants are just not motivated to do work. Others get more money if they sell more and fear you try on many shoes and walk out without buying, wasting their time.

Most understand that you need to try on shoes and may have a different fit than standard for the shop.


I'm curious if trying on multiple shoes before purchasing is considered rude or inappropriate in the US

TLDR: You behavior was perfectly fine and appropriate. You looked in good faith for shoes that fit you, but found nothing. Your expectations of U.S. service level might have been too optimistic, but it's OK. The surly sales clerks were rude, but lousy customer service is becoming the norm in U.S. retail.

Background: Shopping malls and "brick and mortar" stores have been in decline for decades because consumers have been switching to ordering online and having their purchases delivered. Many stores have been closing. Few new ones open. Almost everybody who works in retail, especially on the store floor, feels disgruntled. In other countries, you might be used to being able to ask a salesperson for some expert advice about a product, or, at least, where something is on display. You might expect naively shopping to be fun! In the U.S... not so much, except possibly a few high-end stores that charge more for the same goods, but maybe a "nicer" shopping experience. Rather, the salespeople's duties are to deter shoplifters, not very effectively; and to "upsell". "Buying a fishing rod? Let me sell you some overpriced tackle too." "Buy this useless service contract, or the gadget you'te buying will turn into useless junk in weeks". The cheap manipulation you encountered, "boo hoo, you hurt our feelings so much by not buying anything" is their standard tool, trying to guilt the customer into buying something. I'm glad that you didn't fall for it.

You see now why more and more U.S. shoppers prefer to figure out the styles and sizes they need and order everything to be delivered.

  • 1
    +1, if you go to Adidas you'll get 'meh' customer service. If you go to Lululemon you get good customer service. If you go to Versace you get excellent customer service. Of course, the question is how much you're willing to pay for the privilege.
    – JonathanReez
    Jul 1 at 22:16
  • @JonathanReez-onstrike A mall shoe store is likely to be to the left of Adidas on your scale. :) Jul 2 at 16:18
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    @JonathanReez-onstrike Depends. My wife once accidentally entered a shoe store where shoes were $2000 and up, and she was completely ignored. Probably the seller (correctly) identified her as having entered in error...
    – gerrit
    Jul 3 at 9:33
  • @gerrit look at the bright side, at least they didn't demand a tip. Jul 3 at 11:51

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