32 thoughts on “June 11, 2017

  1. Real fun story from the store I work at- A lady goes to the express lane and starts piling her groceries on the counter. The cashier goes to grab them and notes that they’re all wet. The lady replies “Oh, that’s just vomit.” Her kid was in the cart and had puked all over the merchandise. She didn’t even have the courtesy to warn him ahead of time…

    • Seems we’re constantly seeing new lows in how humans behave toward each other. What’s really sad is if that employee found a manager and asked if he had to actually put his hands on some kid’s vomit to ring up a sale he’d be told yes he had to. I know I’d refuse and probably be fired. But this is too disgusting for words.

      • I don’t know about that. The one thing that retailers are more afraid of than angry customers is litigation. That’s a doozie of a potential liability.

        Though, t’were it me, I’d ask the manager for rubber gloves. In fact, since I know where we keep them, I’d just say “ick” and grab some.

        • I’ve noticed some cashiers wear those medical style gloves. Maybe they’ve had an experience like this.

      • bodily fluids, vomit and the other end are not in the requirements for running a register. In fact where I work only a manager or maintenance staff can handle the stuff so we could be fired for doing so.

  2. I will admit I have very mixed feelings on the shift in retail. Even as a retail employee, I find that most of stores are not needed due to the watered down cookie cutter design where each store basically sells the exact same thing. Stores that provide things like office supplies, toys, bulk goods (for example a gallon of ketchup or something along those lines), electronics, instruments, and other oddities are usually cheaper and easier to find online. For such stores I probably wouldn’t feel sad if they went out of business. However, some stores I do see still being needed. That would be stores that provide clothing, furniture, and food for the most part but pretty much anything where you actually have to feel and see the item could probably fit on that list. (Probably makes me a hypocrite since I know what feel and see is a very grey line) But I know eventually it will all be online because from a business view why would a company bother hiring people when a robot can do it all for no pay and why have to worry about overhead of a store when you can ship it directly from the warehouse. Still a tough thing to pick a side on.

    • It bothers me to see rumors that a major office supply store will go online only.

      When I buy ink, I want to see the expiration date before completing the purchase.

      • It also ties into my complaints about Canada being reduced to having only one major retail chain to buy such things through. That there are other retail outlets…office supplies are not their main business, though.

  3. If the customer was so smug about retailers go out of business, then what was he doing in the store? Something tells me that if everything did go online, he’d complain about not having a place to shop.

    • You’d be surprised how many customers go into stores just to BROWSE for how much a certain item costs so that they can smugly walk out without purchasing it and look for something cheaper online.
      I once spent 20 minutes helping some guy trying to decide what kind of tool belt he wanted. Then he said, “Thanks for your help! Now I can go on Amazon and get this for 7 bucks cheaper!”
      I wanted to smack him across the head with that tool belt. They come in demanding customer service and then go off and buy their particular item from one of our competitors or some online source.

      • I wouldn’t be surprised at all. They’re using retailers for a giant display case because as implied in comments above, customers want to see, feel, and compare merchandise before buying it – and they also want to save money. Online shopping is big business, but the level of returns roughly doubles what is seen across the board, 15-30% for online as opposed to the average of 8%. Some online shoppers buy multiple clothing items intending to return all but one; sometimes the image advertised doesn’t match what is shipped, etc. etc.

        It’s not a problem I see being solved any time soon.

      • Tyler, a lot of times it depends on how badly they need the item. If your customer needed the tool belt _that_day_, he’d have made the purchase. Also, I was never shy about pointing out that the bulk of cheaper price would be eaten up by a shipping charge.

        • Maybe its where I live, where the next nearest hardware store is 20 miles away, but what I never understood are the people who drive out to the store, browse, decide to get it online for “such and such” cheaper, then drive home and buy it. In the gas you’ve wasted, you actually could have had one “for cheaper” by buying it there at the store

      • I’m sure customers use stores as display cases – but how can they be happy if the store closes? They’d lose their display case.

  4. I have a strong suspicion that it isn’t only online retailers causing the problem. Not paying employees enough to live on factors in also. They must have disposable income to shop at Grumbels. Deep discount and thrift shops are thriving. BTW, one can get some things at deep discount stores for less than what online retailers charge.

    • Something like 20 years ago I wrote a “Letter to the Editor” about the trend of companies laying off workers and/or reducing their pay/benefits. My conclusion was that they were “cutting their own throats”.

      • If they really want to cut the fat, they should start at the top. Stop paying your buyers and executives exorbitant amounts of money for doing a job they aren’t even good at. When you cut from the bottom and get rid of floor help, you are dooming your store. Stock won’t get out on time, customers won’t get help, lines won’t get smaller…etc etc etc.

        But these execs who got their MBAs off the back of a cereal box don’t get it.

        • ” When you cut from the bottom and get rid of floor help, you are dooming your store.” So true, Carlos! The easiest way to cut costs is to cut payroll. Years ago, I expressed profound appreciation for our CEO who launched a company-wide initiative to cut $2M from the budget WITHOUT affecting payroll. Regrettably, within a year the BOD showed him the door. Sad.

  5. I do very little shopping online. I’ve not had good luck with clothing – it doesn’t fit or it’s sleazy. I do order old books from Abebooks, but that’s about it.

    Sue mentioned lower prices at some discount stores. I have found lower prices at Aldi’s than I can get anywhere else.

  6. In general, while I of course love to be able to buy things at three in the morning while in my underwear, I don’t like the larger picture of what online retailing has done to the economy.

    I like physically going somewhere to buy something.

    I used to love going to the mall when I was a kid – especially at Christmastime. It was so vibrant and full of life, kind of like California a generation ago, when that state was actually a nice place to live.

    There’s a lot to be said for physical shopping – you get to handle the item, look at the box, enjoy the buying experience, take it home right then. You don’t need to wade through a million conflicting reviews or depend on grainy 72-dpi shots.

    I miss looking forward to going to the mall to buy something after work. And of course, you can’t pick up that girl from your high school English class from her job when you’re on Amazon.com.

    • At the risk of being an old curmudgeon, I’d have to say I agree. I was a mal-rat in the 80s and early 90s, and “hitting the mall” was the only thing we did on the weekends. My folks would take us all to eat and afterward we would head to the mall and just window shop. We’d see our co-workers, meet friends, it was a social experience. I even got my first job there in the same mall.

    • As Carlos points out, much of retail is just so we can get out of the house and go somewhere and do something. So far, I’ve not noticed any trends to replace “the mall” for that kind of thing.

  7. Why shouldn’t customers be allowed to hold a grudge? They know that their money goes into exec pockets and not the stores.

  8. I live in a low-population area. The drive to a town or city large enough to support a shopping center with “big” stores for clothing, office supplies or household items is 45 minutes away. Except for WalMart. Walmart drove out all the locally owned and managed retail and grocery stores. The major grocery chain on the outskirt of town constantly runs out of Items; I’m always told “it wasn’t on the truck.” So I order online. There are no sports clothing to be found in town so I order online. I had two bad office-supply experiences at WalMart so I order online. And the reasons go on. I keep a running shopping list and when it reaches a break-even point, a friend and I will drive to one of the shopping centers, shop and have lunch. WalMart and Amazon are now in a online competition. So far, I’m happy with Amazon. But if there were local retail options, I’d shop locally.

  9. I was actually talking about this with someone last week, how only the retail stores that have something truly unique to offer customers will survive, while the cookie cutter ones will vanish. I was a department manager for Value City for 12 years, and we were across the street from a wal-mart and beat the stuffing out of them every week. We sold blemished/closeout items that were cheaper than their own. Like you could buy Dockers for 14.99 at Walmart, or buy the slightly blemished ones from us for 5.99. We owned them for years.

    The problem was when Retail ventures took us over in 2004 and they stopped buying blemish/closeout items and went with first run items so they could compete with high end stores like Boscovs and Kohls. Guess what? People stopped coming and we went bankrupt 3 years later. We lost our uniqueness. That’s why we could compete.

    These other stores don’t get it. their CEOs don’t get it.

    • I suspect the underlying issue was there was a limited quantity of blemished items. There was no room to grow. Worse, changes in manufacturing might dramatically cut down the supply. I understand why you’re faulting management, but they might have been in a no-win situation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *