Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sincere Gesture Or Pre-Programmed Auto Response?

I recently went about replacing my iPad 1 with a new model. I saw that MicroCenter was running a sale thru MLK weekend but as I was working pretty much every hour they were open I decided to go pay online and pick up in person to get the deal. It went reasonably well although I never got the confirmation email that my pickup was ready (they pride themselves on 18 minute pickup) but it wasn't a real concern as I couldn't get there that night either way. After a day of no confirmation I call over just to make sure and they are befuddled why I didn't get it but assured me the order was there awaiting pickup. Cool. So I finally get there and after a quick browse of the place I go to the pickup desk. The man working the desk gets my item and upon looking at it asks one of the other guys to page a manager for a "thank you". Sure enough on the package is written "give thank you". Huh. Maybe they feel bad about the confirmation thing and are going to offer me...something? Anyway a thin, pale young man, looking very uncomfortable in a suit and tie, introduces himself as one of the managers and says "thank you for buying your iPad here" and shakes my hand. I say "you're welcome" and then we all stand there awkwardly until I say "goodbye"

Now many of you know I've been in retail sales (well small business retail entails a lot more then sales but for brevity's sake...) for over 20 years so I treat fellow retail employees with nothing but patience and respect. However, I'm still debating to myself whether I should take this as a genuine gesture or a corporate ordained come on for people buying Apple products. I always finish my sales with a genuine "thank you" and proffer a handshake even if the sale was painful. This is because 1) I mean it and 2) In a small business every sale really makes a difference to the bottom line (even for those of us not on commission). So on the one hand had the "thank you" happened organically, as in he just happened to be nearby, or if the kid at the desk had just said "thank you" it would have felt genuine. Instead with the paging, note written on the work order and practiced speech it came off instead as disingenuous. I dunno

I'm struggling with whether my standards for retail are too high as I'm a lifer at it and (if I do say so myself) very good at what I do. Practiced thank yous, phone salutations and sales pitches are so foreign and phony to me they make me roll my eyes. But then again maybe I am just becoming more jaded and cynical as I get older. At the end of the day it didn't affect my thoughts on the experience and I will shop there again but something about the whole thing just rubs me the wrong way (and yes, this was going to be a Facebook post rather then a blog but , ya know...)

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