The Business of Shopping

A lot of businesses talk about customer service.

Few of them actually deliver, and I believe it’s because it’s a seldom few who know what it the phrase really means. Living in a smaller town, there is a big push to support local merchants and for the most part, I agree. Unfortunately, I can’t shop for my kids in town, unless it’s their groceries. Shoes and clothes have to be purchased roughly 45 minutes to an hour away.

Therefore, when trips to the “Big City” whichever direction that may be, are strategic and include trips to stores we don’t have locally. One such store really gave me an eye opener in a good way. Upon check out, one employee who jumped to help me with the my cart, offered two really great suggestions regarding purchases I made. His colleague was helping with the transaction and asked if I had considered upgrading my membership, which would allow me to earn back 2% of all my purchases. She explained the change simply, quickly and made complete sense to me. Within five minutes, my membership was modified, I had a new card and was heading to the parking lot. Second Born Son was with me, and he was blown away by the experience. THAT’S how obvious it was.

You see, when we buy items locally, there is a certain assumption. It is assumed that we will buy from our local stores, therefore the level of interest to actually be interested in the purchases we are making isn’t significant. If we don’t buy there, no biggie, they know our neighbors will. They’ll be back next week, and the week after. Unfortunately, my shopping experience at some businesses has left me feeling less human and more like cattle in a chute. Truly – like the change drawer is still closing and I’m the one saying “Thank You” to them!?!

I don’t apologize for shopping out-of-town from time to time even though some people would have you feel guilty for doing so. I work very hard for my pay cheque. It is not in my best interest to burn the gas to drive out-of-town to shop. However, I do get tired of clerks who refuse to make eye contact with me, and heavy sighs when I ask if there “is any more in the back.”

It’s been a long time since I actually felt good about spending money. So much for the customer always being “right”.

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