December 2019

Hi, Welcome To [insert retail establishment here]

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By Salomon Maya

Color me Grinch but nothing makes me cringe more than a false greeting. And ‘tis the season for half-baked greetings enshrined in monotonous and, at times, snarky tones uttered by associates who are programed to regurgitate these things as soon as the store door opens. Gone is the genuine feeling of the holiday season. It’s probably why brick and motor stores are, in a sense, dying out. By covering our lives with mindless minutia of social media quick updates and tweets, it was only natural for that way of living to trickle on down to the store level. To robotically say hello to a client the way a person unemotionally wishes a “friend” a happy birthday online.

I worked retail for close to a decade. My experience has traversed the landscape from basic stores like Old Navy all the way up to ultra-luxury like Prada in Beverly Hills. And with the holiday season in full bloom right now, another eventless Black Friday just passed and from friends of mine still working in retail hell, it was slower than usual.

We all know why, of course. Jeff Bezos created Amazon in 1994 and sold its first item a year later. That item was a book. And within one month, Amazon had generated over $20,000 in weekly sales. Fast forward twenty-five years and Mr. Bezos is now the richest man operating the largest virtual department store ever seen. Just to add to the amazing statistics Amazon has garnered, 145.2 million mobile users accessed the Amazon app in March 2019, compared to Walmart’s 76.45 million users. Amazon also is eating away at competitor Best Buy as over 44 percent of all Amazon purchases are electronics. One out of every four people who visit Amazon’s website, go there just to be inspired when they don’t know what they’re buying.

All these numbers mean one thing. Old fashioned brick and mortar stores … AKA … David, meet Señor Amazon Goliath. Basically, stores are dying off. One by one. And there’s nothing we can do to stop it. But the one thing I begged for, back when I was in retail hell, was for upper management to realize that customer service is still the best reason to go to a mall store nowadays. Amazon is easy and yes, I use it. But if I’m buying clothes, I can’t not not try it on first. Cue the millennial Wilhelm scream.

So now that I’m happily out of retail I can inform retailers the 5 ways they can do to keep me.

  1. Stop with the phony welcomes. No need. I know where I am. If you’re gonna make your personnel say hi, make sure they mean it. At least make eye contact for petes sake.
  2. I don’t want a freaking charge card okay. I know I’ll get an extra 25 percent, but for the love of all that is holy I don’t need it. I just want my v-neck t-shirt and let me go.
  3. Clean the bathrooms. ALWAYS. I mean ALWAYS. Us males, we have horrendous aim. #SorryItsTrue.
  4. Always have some good tunes going over the speakers. Nothing is more depressing that hearing Kenny G.
  5. If it’s cheaper on Amazon … you will lose. ALWAYS. So price match at the very least.
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