A note before I write: I was a staff member in the Perth retail experience for 8 years…well actually a lot longer if you consider the work done in my student days. I can speak from both sides of the counter.
This last week has seen the real gamut of retail – in my case I was a customer in two big retail shops dealing with hardware and stationery – and two small shops that trade upon their own. None of them shared common stock – I needed different things in each place.
The process of finding and selecting the goods was similar – go and look and take it to the counter for payment. In two cases I looked at the store’s catalogue online to make sure they had it – and in two instances rang ahead to confirm.
Little shop A had 7 or of 8 items I went for- being out of stock of one paint colour. No biggie – I’ll be there again many times. The checkout was done in 3 minutes and was very pleasant. I had a credit for past purchases and the computer dealt with that brilliantly. Couldn’t be happier.
Little shop B had foam-core board and kneadable erasers. Again, they answered the phone faultlessly and the checkout went like clockwork. Good visit.
Big Shop C had what I needed – toilet washers to fix a leaking cistern, but there was only one staff member on duty at one till out of 5…and a line of disgruntled customers who waited as the computer ground slowly through the entire warehouse stock chain to ensure that the trading statistics would be done. I pitied the staff member who was taking the brunt of complaint for the store’s inefficiency and foolish policies. I’ve been that person…
Big Shop D had the plastic sheet I wanted on their website, but not in the first mega-store I went to. Even with a visit to the front desk, there was no sign of it. Well, that happens. I thought, on reaching home, to re-check the website and to ring another of their branches to see if it was in stock there.
I ended up ringing 3 branches and getting a automatic menu but no answer to the phone at all. I was left wondering if their office works…
Will I rant? Rave? Howl at the moon? No…I’ll try ringing again tomorrow to save petrol. Frustration is no help to a project.