About skittel

I am the primary blogger for The Observant Customer with over 25 years of experience in providing, managing and training retail customer service.

Lord and Taylor’s Flagship in NYC Goes Dark

Lord & Taylor, one of New York City’s oldest and iconic department stores, has closed up shop after 104 years.

On opening day in 1914, 75000 customers streamed through their front doors.  The amenities of the store included several restaurants, separate roof top lunch rooms for male and female associates, a doctor and dentist office, gymnasium and a concert hall with a built-in pipe organ.

WeWork will be the new tenant.

How the 1% Shop

On a recent visit to one of the tonier shopping areas in Vancouver BC, I ran across an example of how the 1%’ers shop.

Of course, Versace shoppers would not be driving Civics.  Parked out front.

Another Airport Find

I am always on the lookout for retail brands that expand their reach by merchandising in airports.  On a recent lay-over in Seattle, I ran across this vending machine.

Beecher’s is a small artisanal cheesemaker in Seattle.

Muji in PDX

Muji of Japan recently opened a store in a storied retail location.  The store is located in the 100 year old Meier & Frank building in downtown Portland returning a “department store” to this respected storefront.

The name is derived from Mujirushi (no-brand) Ryōhin (quality goods), Muji is noted by its design minimalism, emphasis on recycling, avoidance of waste in production and packaging, and no-logo or “no-brand” policy.

Inventory includes men’s and women’s clothing, home furnishings, food and stationary items. Also included in the store is a coffee shop and an alteration center.

Tis the season to hustle

Stopped by my area Dick’s Sporting Goods where I found a deeply discounted shirt that I could not pass up.  This is the time of year when stores can be busy and lines can be long.  That certainly was the case at Dick’s.

When I arrived at the checkout there were 12 customers in front of me when I glanced at my watch and wondered how long it would take to pay for the shirt. There were only two cashiers working and I debated whether I would wait in line or pass on the shirt.  I decided to wait.  I progressed through the line and finished paying for my shirt.  Glancing at my watch, I realized that only four minutes had passed!  That is a clearance rate that Wal-Mart would be proud of.

The cashiers definitely hustled.  I was still treated friendly and professionally.  They still took the time to check if I was a member of their loyalty club (I am). And they still promoted their fundraising program to fund kid’s sports ( donated $5 on a $25 purchase.

Being quick, friendly and efficient is always important at our registers.  At the Holidays, this is particularly important.  Well done, Dick’s Sporting Goods.

It’s in my blood.

Ralph & Rachel Kittel behind the counter

Some of my earliest memories are of retail. Or more specifically, the general store that my grandparents owned in Forest, WI.  My grandfather Ralph passed away in 1967 and they had sold the store several years earlier, so my memories are vague at best since I would have been less than 5 years old.  It was a cold water building with an outhouse out back but to me it was the most amazing place.