Monday, November 9, 2009

Committing Commerce In Madison

It was another gorgeous day yesterday and we had a lot of things to do. Who knew November 8th….or 7th, for that matter….would be sunny with highs in the 70’s? We had a lot of running around to do both days, so we couldn’t just sit on the deck and enjoy the unbelievable weather.

One of the items on the checklist was buying a high-quality pair of hiking shoes for my wife, who’s discovered some wonderful nature trails in our suburban neighborhood. There are streams and mud and rocks involved, so she needed something sturdy, with good ankle support, and good traction. Waterproofing was critical.

So we’re talkin’ a hundred bucks here.

We decided to go to a big sporting goods store on the west side of Madison, since we had other stops out there anyway. I won’t name the store, but just to give you a clue, the name on the front of the store is a common nickname for a man named Richard.

We went in, a young man pleasantly greeted us, and asked what he could help us find. My wife said “hiking boots”, and he pointed us to the back of the store, a couple hundred feet away, under the huge overhead sign that said “footwear”.
She soon discovered that this area had lots of running shoes and basketball shoes and tennis shoes, but no hiking shoes. She was able to flag down a young fellow dressed in store apparel who was nearby, and he said “oh, no, hiking shoes are upstairs, in the back, under a sign that says ‘rugged footwear’”. OK.

Up the escalator.

She found a couple pairs she liked, but they were display shoes, and apparently the stock was somewhere else. We wandered the entire area of the upper floor of the store, looking for someone to help us. No luck. I even went back into the area marked “employees only”, hoping to make contact with a human that way.


My wife found a “floor manager” and he said he’d send somebody right over.
Finally a store employee showed up, with a customer in tow. He pointed out a pair of rugged boots he’d like to try on, and the employee didn’t even acknowledge us, even though we were obviously there to buy something. By now, we were 25 minutes into this mission, and we’d both had it.

As we walked to the front door to leave, there were three young men, all store employees, congregated around the door, visiting with each other. I said as we left “you just lost a sale because nobody would come and help us”. I didn’t wait to hear a response.

We drove a few blocks to another shoe store… I won’t give you the name, but it rhymes with “Hogan’s”. We were greeted immediately upon entering, and taken right to the women’s hiking shoes area by another young man. Twice during the trying-on phase, a store employee came up and said “you guys doin’ OK?”.

We dropped a hefty amount of money in the store. We’ll go back there again. We’ll never go back to that other store.

If only the Packers had performed as well yesterday as the young men in that second store……

1 comment:

  1. Google the words "why customers leave" and you'll get page after page of the same answer. I've made that same goodbye walk.

    The indifference of the staff is, of course, a management problem. The manager of Rhymes with Dick needs to have his rump end become intimately acquainted with the tip end of HIS boss's Buster Brown.