Monday, October 16, 2006

Good vs. Bad: Department Stores

I walked into a {mid-range department store} to return an item. Though it was in the store's bag and I had a receipt, I was hesitant to go into the store very far with the return. I walked to the unattended service desk, pushed the "help" button, and waited. And waited. I looked around, saw not a single person, and waited.

Finally I saw some sign of life from the far side of the store so walked toward the movement. I found two associates who were talking about their weekend plans. When I approached, they stopped talking and one offered to help. As she did the return she talked, and talked, and talked. She commented on my recent purchases. She asked about the store where I worked. She talked about the weather. I wasn't interested in talking. I had a long list of errands to do and then I had to go to my store and do a lot of things there. Yet she talked, and talked. I was not happy with the service because they fell far short of my expectations. I expected to have someone nearby when I entered the store, and I expected to get in and out quickly.

Another day I entered a {different mid-range department store} in need of a single item. I was out of town and the weather had changed unexpectedly and I was in desperate need of a warm jacket. The associates were visible, though helping customers. The jackets were conspicuously displayed and they had something I liked in my size. I very easily found a place to pay. In and out. While I didn't receive assistance from the employees, I could see where they were (and that they were busy) if I did need help. A satisfactory experience. Not great, but satisfactory.

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