What is wrong with this picture?

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What is wrong with this picture? You don’t see it? Not sure? What is wrong will become clear by the end of the post.

Several weeks ago I was taking an evening walk when I had decided to stop by my neighborhood bookstore for a quick visit. Entering the store I saw that many of my neighbors apparently had the same idea as the store seemed unusually busy for a weekday night. Wandering through the store I found latest edition of a favorite magazine of mine, a book on the Top 10 Things to Do in Paris for an upcoming trip, a used book on backpacking I had been looking for and Oliver Sack’s autobiography, On the Move. Checking my watch I realized that I needed to get home so I gathered my new found treasures and headed to the cashier line. There I joined 5 others already waiting.

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Stymied

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As stores begin to make room for their summer assortment, they discount their winter outerwear making January a great time to buy.  I decided to take advantage of this and headed to the mall to find my next winter jacket. (It did not hurt that holiday weekend sales events were in full swing.)

Walking towards the storefront of one of my favorite brands, I saw signs proclaiming “EVERYTHING UP TO 60% OFF!” The signs only served to feed my expectations as I entered the store and walked past a salesman posted just inside the front door.  It was poor form of him to not greet me as I passed since he was not busy with anything. Continuing further into the store, I began checking out a rack of men’s winter jackets. The clerk finally called out a friendly greeting.

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To sale or not to sale…

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I saw this sign while I was in the mall today and it got me to thinking; recollecting actually.  Any person that has followed retail for some time can recall countless tales about AF.  (I even remember when the original company filed for bankruptcy.) One of the tales was about AF and their struggle with sales and price promotion.  It looks like for now they are embracing it.

Would you like some soap to go with your artwork?

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I was walking by one of my favorite local shops, Boys Fort, just before Christmas when an art print in the window caught my eye. It proclaimed, “Only a poor craftsman blames his tools.” I thought that this would be a perfect housewarming gift for my upcoming visit to my brother, a weekend craftsman.

Heading into the store, I quickly found the print I saw in the window. My immediate needs being met, I now had the chance to browse the store at my leisure. After wandering the floor for a few minutes and examining some interesting items, I eventually ended up standing in front of a display of locally produced soaps.

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No thanks, I am just buying

Version 2I was on the road for the company I worked for at the time and after several flight delays had finally landed in Atlanta. If all went well, I had just enough time to get to my appointment with the Atlanta store manager.

As I was stepping off the plane, I hit my arm against a cabinet near the plane’s doorway popping my watch off my wrist. The watch skidded across the floor and fell neatly between the plane and the gangway twenty feet to the tarmac below. In the post 9-11 era, I did not feel it would be worth the time and effort to try to get the inexpensive watch back.

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Snow Peak -outdoor lifestyle creator

For those of you that are not aware of the brand, Snow Peak produces and sells premium outdoor and outdoor lifestyle products. The company was founded in 1958 by mountaineer Yukio Yamai.  Dissatisfied with existing equipment, Yamai started the company to create superior outdoor gear. Snow Peak opened this Portland store in 2013 “…to connect American consumers to products beyond Snow Peak’s well-known titanium cups…” (D.K.Row The Oregonian 3/29/2013)

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Just one of the reasons they are so successful

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Apple has wonderful stores and great product and many companies share these traits.  What sets them apart from many is their service.

January 2nd.  5 minutes before opening. 28 degrees. 25 mph wind. While the rest of the staff is being briefed on the day, two Apple employees are out in front of the store already serving the growing crowd.

That is service.