It’s magical

Disney storefront

It had been some time since I had visited a Disney Store so when I passed by one the other day I had to stop in.

I wandered through the store checking out how the Star Wars brand has been woven into the Disney merchandising, listening in on customer interactions and observing the joy that the customers exhibited in visiting a little slice of the happiest place on Earth.  Finally, I ended my explorations at the back of the store drawn towards a small crowd gathered there.  There were a dozen people around plush mountain watching the video wall on the back of the store.

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I sent him away

He was timid, reserved and soft-spoken.  We have all run across this type of customer before.  It’s challenging to get them to warm up to you, they can be slow to offer information and they can even be hard to hear.

I greeted him and asked him what brought him into the store today.  A rather defensive “I just came in to look” was his response.  So I told him to look around and that I would check back in a few minutes if he ran across any questions and then I set off to help others who had just entered the store.

As I circled back to him after a few minutes, it was clear to me that he that he truly was looking for something specific as he studied the hang tags and pulled garments off racks to look at. It seems that he had needed some time to decompress and check things out on his own terms when he first entered our store.  I re-approached him.

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I miss Steve

I will admit that I do not buy as much music as I used to.  Part of it may be my age.  Part of it may be the availability of music from other sources (Amazon Prime on Echo).  Part of it may be that I listen almost exclusively to NPR when I am driving near home.

But one of the main reasons is that I have lost touch with Steve.  Steve was not an old friend or a work colleague.  He was not a music reporter for some hip website, publication or YouTube channel.  No, Steve was just an employee of a record shop I used to frequent in Seattle, Silver Platters, at their old South Center location.  I didn’t really know Steve. In fact the time that I ever spoke with him was when he happened to be the cashier that rang up my purchases at the front counter.

Even though we exchanged few words, he did communicate with me and significantly influenced my musical tastes and my purchases.  You see Silver Platters used to have a display located at the front of the store that featured music that the staff members were listening to.  Over time, I came to realize that of all the staff members, Steve had musical tastes that paralleled mine the closest.  If Steve recommended a cd (this was the early 00s), I would buy it.  I was never disappointed.  I miss Steve and his musical recommendations.

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The walk around

At every specialty shop that we made purchases in while traveling in Europe, we noticed one common practice.  I call it “the walk around.”

When the cashier or salesperson completes the transaction and after they have carefully wrapped or bag your new purchase, the they take the item and walk around from behind the counter.  Once facing you, they thank you for your business and then carefully pass the package to you.  This is a great way to show the value they place on you and your purchase.

I posted about this last month when I saw the same practice at Nordstrom. Walk it around

I think this is a practice that specialty shops and premium stores should copy.

Spotted at Macy’s

Macy's evending 2       Macy evending

I spotted this on a recent visit to Macy’s.  The vending machine was located next to the men’s wear department. The machine contained a variety of small electronics and accessories.

It seems like an interesting way to increase assortment and profitability without requiring the store to have knowledgable staff to sell the items. I imagine a third-party service maintains the machines.

“Is that a return?”


return keyMaking a return is not something that most people look forward to at a retail store. Making a return means that you failed at your earlier attempt to successfully buy something.  Maybe it didn’t meet your needs, it was the wrong size or color, it did not fit or you just didn’t like it.  Making the return is usually inconvenient and certainly takes time and effort.  So, why do stores make it worse than it has to be?

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A little thing


Food Fuel

While on a bicycle ride last weekend, my wife and I stopped at a gas station for a quick snack.  The station is one of those “food and fuel” places where you can get your car gassed up and grab a soda or a loaf of bread.  This one in particular happens to be our favorite rest stop; strategically located on the route with a great selection of food and drinks.  Also important to us, there is a shaded table in front of the store where we can sit, enjoy our treats and keep an eye on our bikes.

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Version 2

(This is not a rant, well, not a bad rant anyway.”)

I have yet to meet a car owner that does not dread receiving a letter with “Department of Motor Vehicles” as the return address. Just the thought of license renewals, surly government employees, emission checks, waiting for numbers to be called and getting your mug shot, sorry, license photo taken strikes fear in the hearts of many. It was with trepidation that I opened the envelope informing me that one of the cars needed its registration renewed.

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