The Decline Of Respectable Retail!
During my time as a “Retail Sales Associate”, and my current status as a consumer. I can tell you there are quite a few general practices in the retail world, that in my opinion, are a HUGE contributor to the decline of respectable retail.
These particular issues are not isolated to just one company either. I’ve seen many of these practices being exhibited by a number of companies, and in most cases, it has proven to be devastating to ALL of them.
So lets take a look at what in my opinion is destroying the retail industry.
- Horrifying Customer Service! – Sacrificing customer service to bolster sales numbers. It’s not just HOW MUCH you sell, it’s HOW you sell it. Most major sales locations have forgotten this. Retail outlets have developed the opinion that they can FORCE consumers to buy what THEY think the consumer SHOULD want, instead of listening to what the consumer actually desires. This may work short term while you force feed product down the buyers throat, but it develops animosity, and will end up hurting your long term viability. While I was in sales I spent many hours and considerable effort building relationships with the customers to broaden and increase the customer base. Truth is making $20 a visit from a customer that comes back 10 times is much better than sucking $120 out of a one time customer, that never comes back, cause they aren’t happy with being robbed.
- Endorsing Employee Backstabbing! – Promoting competition amongst your sales representatives (we’ll just call it what it is “Cut Throat Sales”) surely increases your sales numbers (for a while), but it destroys their team spirit, and as mentioned in number 1, dramatically effects customer service. So you deal with heavy employee turn over, and a steady decline is customer loyalty.
- Price Gouging! – OK, we get it. You have a business to run and you have to pay your bills too, but 90% markup on products is ridiculous. You know it, the industry knows it, and most of all, the customers know it. Charging way too much for products that have perpetually declined in quality, is not a winning long term strategy. Sure, you’ve been getting away with it for years, and likely you will continue to for many more, but sooner or later, its going to bite you in the ass.
- Corporate Collusion Inflation! – What is that? Building off of number 3, that is what I call manufacturers and retailers that all decide to agree to the same level of “Price Gouging” so they can justify it to the consumers. Because so and so is charging some atrocious rate for a product, doesn’t’ mean you have to follow along and do so as well, just because you can get away with it. I get the whole supply and demand thing, but this isn’t it. This is simply collusion with your competitors to justify extorting your customers. For instance, you take your car to a repair shop and they open a book that tells them how much to charge your for the repair? Shouldn’t they be looking for the best price on the parts, and then charging an appropriate amount for THEIR time to install them? I think we can all agree that all mechanics aren’t equal. There are some I am willing to pay more for than others.
- Sudo Monopolies! – This has two parts. When there minimum options, or only the “illusion” of many. For instances you have only 2 primary broadband internet providers in your neighborhood (cause the truth is any other internet provider is still required to use the primary two’s connection infrastructure anyways) so you get stuck with a choice of nothing more than shit or crap. Take your pick. Or when you have 16 different locations that provide the same product/service but 10 of those location are owned by ONE company, and the other 6 are owned by ONE other company. And between them they playing the number 4 Corporate Collusion Inflation game. For instance, you want to open a bank account but regardless of which bank you go, to they are essentially all owned and operated by 1 of 5 major banks.
- Slick Willy Sales Solutions! – This is when a retailers charge you for something you were already getting or SHOULD be getting as part of the service or goods you’ve already purchased. For instance the cable/satellite company charging you for each individual television in your home. You pay for the SERVICE and is shouldn’t matter HOW YOU USE it. But they get around that by charging you “rental fees” on each “proprietary receiver” that is installed to get the “service”. Or when cellular companies sell you an “unlimited” plan that limits the “bandwidth” after a certain “data cap” or instead sell you a plan where you have to pay for as much “data” as you use, because there is no way for the average consumer to understand how “data” really works. And when you ask them about it, they give you some erroneous “technical” answer that adds up to essentially blowing smoke up you wazoo.
- Abysmal Quality! – In number 3 I referred to this. As we continue to watch priced skyrocket, we simultaneously watch product and service quality plummet. Gone are the days when a major appliance will last for 10 years or more. Cars “barely” meet their “warranty” durations. Electronics that are created intentionally to be disposable in a year (can anyone say “NO REPLACEABLE BATTERY”). If a product has a 3 year warranty, you can pretty much guarantee it will not last more than 3 years (if your lucky enough for it to last that long.)
- The Legend In Their Own Mind! – Too much of this going on everywhere. Joe Blow charging you for some stupid crap because he thinks he has the corner of the market on everything he offers. Look, 4 years of school, and a business license doesn’t make you the “BEST IN THE INDUSTRY”. I know its hard to admit but get over it. Charging people what you THINK you can get away with isn’t going to win you any business. So get a grip, pay your dues like any decent professional, and charge what you are actually WORTH.
- No More Integrity! – OMG!!! Seriously? What the hell do you mean? You expect me to provide what I offer? What kind of world do you think we live in? … Um HELL YES, I expect you to deliver what you promised. Guess what, THAT IS WHY I PAID YOU FOR IT!!! Quit promoting false promises. If you sell an item or service. DELIVER IT and SUPPORT IT! The whole “we’ve got the best, until we’ve got your money and it walks out the door” thing is seriously old.
This will most likely become a “living” document as I continue to add specific rants and critiques to my personal opinions on “shady” business practices. But over all the whole crux of the conversation comes down to number 1, CUSTOMER SERVICE. Retailers aren’t interested in developing a relationship with their customers and growing their customer base. They have become product pumps that have no interest in the consumers they should be supporting. They continue to sell in this manner because they can. Is it completely their fault? Not at all.
75% Of the blame falls on us as consumers.
There are far too few “educated consumers” anymore. The majority of the population are “impulse buyers” and/or a “convenience buyers”. They don’t research a product that they need. They go “shopping” and buy a bunch of useless crap that they will quite likely never have any use for. So the retail outlets have done nothing buy take advantage of a bunch of mindless morons that are willing to pay for nothing. And they did it by bludgeoning the masses with mind numbing propaganda on every media outlet they could find.
They have told you what they think you should “need”. And you believed them.
So now you have a house full of shit, and you still don’t think it’s enough.
Cause the truth is, no matter how much shit you have, it will never make it a home.
Take your lives back. Demand what you need. And quit letting them tell you what you want.