I’ve been trying not to write this post, but it won’t go away. Saturday, I had back to back, horrible retail experiences. I won’t name the stores because I do frequent them, but one of them routinely leaves me steaming and I’ll vow not to shop there again until… I get drawn back in by one of the lines they carry.
I know I’m not alone in my impression; at least one of my friends simply won’t shop there anymore, because the sales staff just can’t be bothered to speak, and heaven forbid you ask for help… it really seems to make them grumpy.
The other store caught me completely off-guard, because I’ve never had less than fabulous service there, but neither the owner nor the manager was in sight, and the young staff was chatting away. I didn’t see the one item I’d gone in after, but my big loop through the store didn’t attract a “May I help you?” so I left. Shame on them, because usually when I walk in, even if I can’t find precisely what I wanted, I don’t leave empty-handed.
Now, no one likes to be stalked by over-bearing sales staff, but a welcome greeting and an offer to help then or after I’ve obviously searched for something I can’t find is greatly appreciated.
For the record? I bought what I was looking for in store #1 online, and most likely will do the same with #2. I’m all about supporting local small businesses, but golly, they have to do their part too. No, there are no other stores in podunk that carry the items in question, just to set the record straight.
I have this silly notion that with the lagging economy, retailers should be on their best behavior, particularly in little boutiques. Obviously, I’m not talking big box stores here, but heck, even WallyWorld has a greeter…
It doesn’t help any that at the grocery store nearest the woods, there is a man who is more than a bit fond of fire trucks and the Chief, so I’m greeted by name and handed a cart if he’s working. Yes, I do like doing business with people I know; that’s part of why I came back to podunk instead of staying in Northern VA or DC, where the shopping is better and the restaurants stay open past 9pm. (My biggest complaints about podunk, as the regular readers know…)
Oh – and for the record? I have NEVER had bad service in ANY of our local pet stores, independent or big box.
So, talk to me about your customer service expectations and realities…