A personal experience
I went to a “big box discount chain” store last night with my son. He has a birthday party to attend tonight, and he wanted the pleasure of picking out the gift for the birthday boy. No problem, we’ll just go to the nearest store in our somewhat rural location and pick out a toy. Not only did he find something, but I did too. Rather, I found a great little something for one of the girl’s stockings. I get up to the register, and what happens? My would-be stocking stuffer isn’t showing up in their system, and I’m told because it isn’t coming up in the system that I cannot buy it! I have money, I found an item in your store, and I’m willing to pay for it, but I am NOT ALLOWED to make the purchase. The cashier was very apologetic, and I thanked him. I did follow up with a supervisor, and he reiterated what the cashier had told me. I thanked him, wrote down the brand, and figured I would look the item up online when I got home because I really did want to purchase the item!
I got home and told my husband about this experience, like I’ve told you: I just can’t imagine, as a retailer, not allowing a customer to purchase something they find in our store. Honestly, it must be nice to have the luxury to turn someone away, not even getting their name and number (so that they could be called when pricing information was available). That tells me, you aren’t worried about ME. You must be making enough money, and so maybe you are not really concerned about my shopping experience. You don’t feel any obligation whatsoever to me. That attitude just doesn’t make since to me; I can’t imagine treating our customers in that regard.
If I may illustrate that last sentence: it has happened several times, just in the past few months, that a customer has called looking for a discontinued pattern due to; water damage, they moved and want the same thing in their new house, or found a great deal somewhere and need just one more spool. Sadly, most times, we don’t have what they are looking for. However, if they ask where can they purchase the pattern, we do our own internet searches to try and locate a place where they can find it, even if that means telling them a competitor has it available. Ideally, we would make a sale, but aren’t we all customers at some point? I know how I’d want to be treated. As a retailer, I think it is good to remember we are all on this giant spinning blue ball, and we should “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” For one day, you will be the customer.
I know there are larger issues looming over these small ones I pointed out, but I wanted to share my experience and my thoughts on the experience even if on a somewhat simple level. And, I’d like to ask you, our customers, to give us feedback. I want to hear when you feel we could have done better, and I must say, I’d also love to hear when you had an awesome experience. That way we can continue doing the good stuff, and make improvement on the not-so-great stuff.