Friday, April 29, 2016

Why Retail is in Trouble...

I had to make a run to the drugstore the other night for Cakes, she needed saline solution for her contacts.

The drug store is huge, at 8 at night they had three people on duty, one at the pharmacy counter. 2 up front.

Rite Aid stores in Cali have ice cream counters, one of the check out people was busy making cones for a family, the other was doing the check outs.

There were 17 people in line, I counted. 18 if you count me. The store has 5 cash register stations.

The guy in front of me had a 6 pack, a bottle of Southern Comfort and a liter of Sprite. We were wanting in line for maybe ten minutes, he turned to me and said, "Why don't I just open this and we'll have a drink."

The line thinned after about 20 minutes when a guy put about 40-50 bucks of merchandise on the floor and walked out. I thought the woman in line behind me was going to scream, she was so angry, she was muttering to herself the whole time we were in line. Finally she said to the guy in front of me, "Why don't you open that Southern Comfort?" It was insanity. 

I figure for around $400 dollars a week, Rite Aid could stop pissing off their customers. Grocery stores too. The only store I go to that never has this happen is Trader Joe's. A year or so ago I wandered around Macy's for a half hour looking for help. Macy's used to be a great store with plenty of help for their customers.

And another thing, it would be nice if Lowes and Home Depot trained their people so they knew something about what the hell they were selling, or attempting to sell.

Sports Authority just filed for bankruptcy and California based Sports Chalet just closed their doors, ever shop at either one? I have and they both had lousy customer service and untrained employees. Sports Authority had people selling running shoes who didn't know an Adidas from a Nike. Sports Chalet had people selling sleeping bags that didn't know down from synthetic fill.

It's not the employees fault, nobody trains them, nobody encourages them, they get treated like meat sacks.

Sports Authority required employees to be at work 30 minutes before their shift. Guess what, when they showed up they were put to work immediately and they didn't get paid for the time. 5 days of work, 2.5 hours of unpaid labor. Across 460 stores. That's the new standard for retail, that and "on call scheduling". Think of all the free labor Sports Authority used and the idiots still couldn't make it.

Sports Authority was bought by the private equity firm, Leonard Green & Partners in 2006, in ten years they accumulated over a billion dollars in debt. Before the buy out it was a profitable, well run company. Same thing happened to Guitar Center stores when Mitt Romney's company bought them out, same story with radio, print, name the business.

You know why so many MacDonald's suck? They are owned by large investor groups. Those investors could care less if your fries are soggy or the cheese on your double cheeseburger isn't melted.


  1. Spot on Bob! On the other hand, In and Out Burgers have excellent-EXCELLENT-service.
    The employees have been trained, are courteous, always smile and the place runs like a well oiled machine. We have good staff at our local Whole Foods, most are hold overs from the New Frontiers local operation. Training with emphasis on customer relations is a key.