A San Francisco Classic in Oakland

Heading to the BART Station today and I happened upon the former I. Magnin location in Oakland. I. Magnin was a high-end department store that was founded in 1876 and at one time ran locations in six high-end hotels throughout California.  This Oakland location opened in 1931 and was noted for its distinct terra-cotta exterior. After a series of mergers and acquisitions, it closed in 1995.

Could you at least try?

I recently completed my relocation to the Bay area and was excited to see both a used and a new bookstore in my neighborhood.  Today, I got off work early, so I headed out to check my new bookstores.

The first was a used bookstore with high quality hardcovers, mostly pre-1960.  The owners were welcoming and friendly. I bought a number of books there.)  I will write about them in a future post.

The second was bookstore featuring mostly new books.  I spotted Sam Shepard’s  bio and a local walking map, picking them up I headed to the cashier.  The cashier greeting me and scanned the books.  Then she asked, “Are you a member of our readers club?”

Interested, I replied,”No, I am new to the neighborhood.”

What I expected was her to launch into a pitch for the readers club to which I would have dutifully signed up.  Her response was to say “Oh” and had me my change.  I walked away confused.

Could she at least tried to promote the readers club.  All to often retailers miss the easy marks.

Dressing Room Rich Environment

Often times customers are limited by the number and availability of dressing rooms.  So I had to chuckle when I stopped in a Book Warehouse recently.  The bookstore had FIVE dressing rooms and nothing to try on.  I think a marketing opportunity for the store would be to put up fliers in dressing room lines of other stores in the mall saying  “Come for our dressing rooms and stay for our books.”

Is it coaching?

img_1763I was straightening up my workspace this morning and ran across a sample of a coaching log.  The log had been developed by an experienced and talented store manager working for the company I worked at many years.

It was well produced with 50 pages to record when a manager coached and employee. I really liked the playbook and I hope that it improved coaching for the managers and their employees.  Perhaps it lead to better sales, improved service or more effective and efficient employees.


This was not the only coaching log that I saw while I working  in retail management and training.  In fact, I probably saw 50 different versions over the years.  But this one was a good one.

The reason why I bring this up is that it has been my experience that there is no correlation between good coaching  and the use of a coaching log.

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1 in 27

A recent survey reported that in 2016, 1 out of every 27 employees was apprehended for stealing from their employers.  2016 Retail Theft from CSA

Here is a link to the survey. 29th Annual Retail Theft Survey

There are some amazing facts in these articles.  But what it left me wondering was how many of these employees fully intended to steal from the company when they were hired? Or how many got the jobs simply to steal from the retailers?  Is there something during the hiring process that can be done to weed these people out (that is legal and ethical)?

I wish I had some answers, but I don’t.  But this is something to consider when you do your next hiring.