Monday, October 22, 2012

BlogFEST 2012: Judging a Book by It's Cover

I am well acquainted with this topic because I am usually on the end of being judged. Case in point, see the review I posted below about a recent visit to a favorite store:

"I just loved this store...when they were in XX Mall. Now that they moved to XX Village, they've gone all uptown in both merchandise and attitude. Let me just give you a lesson in great customer service, which I am well acquainted with and have been providing for over 25 years.

1. If you want to have loyal customers, you should be nice to them. Just because I'm not "uptown" doesn't mean my money doesn't spend like the rest of your clientele's money. For the record, I actually have money even though I may not look like it.

2. Don't have someone walk around your store and act like they are better than everyone else there. It gives a bad impression to your customers. You know what I am talking about...the "holier than thou" attitude. Just a thought, but consider shelving it.

3. If a customer comes up to you asking if you have a product, don't immediately say with an attitude, "If it's not on the shelf, we don't have it." How about saying something like "I am so sorry, let me check for you." Then go check and find out when more stock will become available and come back and tell the customer "We are currently out of that item, but we're expecting a shipment on XX date. May I take your name and number and call you when they come in?" See the difference? Make your customers feel good when they come in and want to buy something. Don't shut them down and make them feel like they're inconveniencing you by asking a question about your stock. Repeat business is huge...especially in a tough economic climate.

4. Treat your customers with respect and dignity. Just because I don't look high class, doesn't mean I am not. You don't know what I've been doing or where I've been. Don't stereotype your clientele. Remember the movie Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts? If not, you should watch it. There's a great scene in it that covers this very nicely.

5. Don't let customers wait to pay while you're conversing, walking around like you own the place or doing other work that can wait until the customers leave the store. Not only was I treated rudely, but when I actually decided to buy what I hand in my hand, I had to wait until said rude sales clerk decided to come over to the register to ring me up. You do realize that your customers are not all soccer moms that drive SUV's and don't work. Some of us are on our lunch hour and that's all the time we have - an hour. You want us to come back and be loyal, well, a little courtesy goes a long way.

By the way, what happened to the products that you used to sell. Merchandise is everything. I realize you moved, but part of your success at XX Mall was the fact that you had great merchandise that appealed to everyone. Now that you're in XX Village, your products are so upscale and pricey that you've lost half of your clientele because we can't afford, or sorry to say, even like it.

Seriously, your products used to be cute and charming. Now they are expensive, gaudy and frankly, most of them I wouldn't be caught dead owning them. What I purchased today was a staple item...every home has them. It's simple, comes in a lot of colors (which apparently you don't have a lot of since they "weren't on the shelf") and fairly inexpensive.

Come to think of it, you didn't have a lot of this particular type of product in your store at all. were such a fun place with all the holiday decorations, etc. I guess I'll have to order more of what I wanted online since you didn't seem to care if you had it or not or the fact that I was a loyal customer.

It's your lose. I am sure the online stores will gladly take my money and ship it for free. Fabulous as this saves me time and money. Such great customer service too! You should take a lesson from online retailers. This is why they are so successful and the brick and mortar stores are dying off."

Needless to say, I wasn't a happy camper. Fortunately, I received a private email from the owner with her comment below:

Hi Susan D.,
This is Lynette, the owner of XX store. Let me say first of all how very sorry I am that you left my store feeling so bad. I have worked for 31 years stressing how important it is to treat everyone fairly and kindly, but as you know it doesn't always happen. The behavior you describe is totally unacceptable to me and if I knew who it was I'd address them directly. Instead I posted your review on our message board with a letter from me telling them all that this "cannot happen".  It never should!  Your suggestions to my staff were all perfect and I hope hearing them from you, the customer, made a bigger impression than I have been able to.
To answer your concern about products, no it's not the same as it was and I have lost a lot of customers from the past. But that's the tricky thing about retail, if you don't change you won't be in business anymore. I keep track of everything that is purchased and buy more of those things that are selling and get rid of the categories that are not selling. The customers basically "vote" for the things they like by purchasing them and that dictates the direction I go. I know the store isn't  for everyone, but it's for the greatest number of buying customers. It's what has kept me in business for 31 years and we were  just recently voted "The Best".
If you choose to continue to shop here, I'd love to know how you are treated next time. I always appreciate it when customers email or call me direct so that I can have a chance to rectify what has happened that made them so upset. My personal email is XX and please feel free to use it.
Once again I am truly sorry!

Just to be fair, I didn't write this review to get anything free from the store...I just wanted to share my honest feelings about the experience. I was truly annoyed at the whole thing and felt it only fair to let the owner know. I am glad she responded and maybe one day, I will go back to revisit. 

In any case, this is my personal and most recent experience with being judged by my "cover". It's happened before and I am sure it will happen again. And each time it does, it truly hurts me deeply.

Wishing you moments of "not being judged by your cover".

 Susan's Blog Signature

This blog was written as a part of BlogFest 2012. Check out Paula's post - she's the host today. Please click on the picture below for more information!

Liked anything you see here? Then contact me, Susan Dusterhoft at I am always looking for more books/products to review. I can also provide assistance with blog writing!


  1. What a fantastic post.

    I am so pleased to read the manager's response as well. I wonder how sales people can be so surly? It is as if they all went to the same school for rude behavior.

    I'm glad I read you today!

  2. Good for you for calling the staff out on their inappropriate behavior/customer service, Susan. However, we need to pick and choose our battles. Your final comments, "This is my ... most recent experience with being judged by my "cover". It's happened before .... And each time it does, it truly hurts me deeply," is unfortunate. You shouldn't give these people, who are so clearly not an important part of your life, such power over you. I took Buddhist meditation classes for a while, the core practice of which is learning to detach. Try to detach -- just let them come in and out of your field of vision -- and you won't be so hurt by these people who are merely passing through your life like a flock of geese. It's hard but worth working on for your own well being. I've been there more times than I care to share, so believe me, it takes one to know one.

  3. I have experienced the same treatment when shopping upscale stores. I therefore, don't shop upscale stores anymore. First, they have nothing I need that can't be purchased elsewhere. Secondly, I don't need to be snubbed or 'watched' as I shop. Thirdly, they train their employees to be upscale types and for the most part, the training lacks common courtesy.

    Shop elsewhere and that reply lacked an offer of satisfying you in any way. It also lacked any real feeling of sorrow by way of explaining her business plan. In other words, to me, it says, sorry we have outgrown you, Susan. Sorrow we were rude to you and no longer meet your needs, but our customers with more money and better taste are very pleased with our new inventory so buzz off.

    That's what I read.

  4. Appreciated the fact that you wrote to the store in such a constructive manner when you were treated so poorly. Often people go around just complaining and never giving any thought to a possible explanation of the problem.

    You really performed a service to this business by explaining the good points of proper customer service. And setting a good example for all of us. Good customer service was so stressed by my previous employer that I expect the same from others. Good post Susan.

  5. What really impressed me is that the owner wrote back. I have to say--she probably didn't see her employees acting the way they were acting...and I like that she didn't just take your letter and can it...rather she used it to try to make a point with her staff. So many owners would just ignore it.

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience, though--it makes it all that much easier to shop online!!

    Cheers, Jenn.

  6. I hate that attitude and I have encountered it as well. Anyone should be allowed to shop in any store and choose where and how they want to spend their money. That is ridiculous and I am glad you called them on it. YAY for you!