Monday, November 4, 2013

What's in a name?

Please step up
Somewhere along the way, we lost our
way. A name used to mean something.
Beyond politics and religion, the other
place where a moniker was important
was retail. Sadly after several recent
experiences, I question whether the name
above the door matters anymore. Rather,
the name on a name tag is what matters.
Own up to up
Most stores still carry the name of a real person above the door. Individuals so proud of their business that they were willing to proclaim ownership. Leaders who daily walked their stores and closely monitored their staff.
Family affair
Sadly most of the remaining grand old names are owned by amorphous conglomerates. The few exceptions are still run by the families who founded them. When you shop them you'll experience a difference. Their name stands for something.
At your service
Today the only thing personal left in
retail is service. While seemingly old
fashioned to some, I still treasure the
pleasure of being treated with respect.
In some shops I'm known by name.
In others I'm barely acknowledged
and quickly dismissed. In the end
it's about the individual and not the
collective. Like it or not, the service
one gets under one roof can vary.
Don't ask, don't tell
Recently we shopped at a venerable
nameplate. I had a mission and was
ready to spend. When queried about
my needs, I responded with a unique
request. Quickly it became obvious
that the gentleman in question had no
intention of actually helping. Which
begs the question, why did he bother
to ask the question?  Quite insulted,
we quickly departed never to return.
What price glory?
That same day I shopped another historic nameplate. While considered "affordable", I was greeted by a gracious associate who knew well enough to initially leave me alone. Ultimately they were ready to help when I was ready to be served. Equally surprising, I purchased quality togs at a fraction of what I normally spend. I will go back.
It can't be helped
We all have a choice to engage or not.
My dear friend "T" is not a shopper.
When forced to do so, she usually runs
in at the last minute. Often dressed in
jeans and a white tee, the help is rarely
helpful. Instead her attempts to engage
are rebuffed or ignored. Then one day,
she threw her mink coat over her jeans
and tee. Suddenly it was apparent that
every sales clerk who had previously
denied her existence was now ready
to leap at the chance to help her! Sadly
this is proof that perception is reality.
Pride and prejudice
Of recent note is the plethora of
press here in Manhattan about
racial profiling at a high profile
retailer. It seems that honest
people made purchases with
their hard earned cash only to
be detained and accused of
theft. The assumption that any
store can discern what customer
can afford what is disheartening
at best. Somehow in our search
for profit, we forgot to focus on
humbly serving the customer.