Wake up, you’re in retail!

He said “I didn’t see you come in”. I thought “That’s because you were too busy on your phone you lazy sod. You’re in retail” and just smiled.

I visited a news agency yesterday to purchase a stationery item. When I approached the counter with the item I wanted, around two minutes after I entered the shop, the person sitting on a stool at the counter was startled. He said “I didn’t see you come in”.  I thought “That’s because you were too busy on your phone you lazy sod. You’re in retail” and just smiled.

I paid, they gave me my change and that was it. I turned back to check as I exited and  saw that they were on their phone again. For the whole time I was in the shop, they did not leave the stool.

The person who served me would be in their early twenties and earning over A$21 an hour to work. In the US this person would be lucky to be on $8 an hour and for this they would most certainly provide a much better experience.

This news agency is in a busy high-street situation. Shops all around are open. The cafe next door was full. Trade could be good in the news agency if they engaged with the opportunity on the street.

I don’t know the owner of this business but I will contact them to let them know my experience. If only this employee would do what they are paid to do: work the shop floor, make the shopping experience more enjoyable and tidy the front of the shop so it connects with people on the street.

The employee I encountered is around the age of most people I noticed on the street. They could be more help to the business than sitting on the stool taking money and putting it in a drawer.

A business is a product of its leadership.

I am certain anyone could visit one of my shops at any time and have an experience that’s not as good as I would want. The challenge for us as retailers and leaders is to be clear in what we expect. We also need to hire for success and have a process for addressing shortcomings we hear about.


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