How many of you like walking through the mall and shopping at large stores such as Sears, Belk’s, and JC Pennies, among others? I like most of you shop at these stores often. In the last few years many changes have been made at these stores and I will tell you, not for the good of mankind. I am not talking about the ridiculous prices which cause them to complain that their sales all falling like a rock year after year. I am not talking about the fact that they are losing hundreds of customers for the same reason the railroads we talked about earlier will if they don’t watch prices. I am talking about the adventure of shopping itself. Years ago I would go into a large store like Sears, look around, and when I found what I wanted to buy I would go the register, pay for the item, and leave. I know you are saying that nothing has changed and the shopping experience is the same today as it was then, but you would be wrong. This is another area where we have been slowly and methodically trained to except change due to greed and miss management. In fact shopping reminds me of the old Twilight Zone series that was on television. Some of you remember that the series was about strange happenings when a person finds themselves in the Twilight Zone. In the Twilight Zone nothing was impossible and the person experiencing it was in a place where reality and fantasy seemed to blend into one. This is very similar to what it is like to try to pay for something you buy in one of these department stores. The first thing that happens when you enter a Sears store from the outside is a lineup of workers that reach from the Television Section Through the refrigerator, stove, washer dryer section, all the way to bedding. This happens in other stores as well. Maybe in your store this line up is from the cosmetic counter all the way to jewelry, but it is an event that starts the ball rolling. Just as I think I am free from the television section a sales person seems to jump out of nowhere and ask if I want to purchase the new $3000 television that is on sale for only $2999. I say no thank you and as I turn my eyes back in the direction I am heading when suddenly to my surprise there before me stands another smiling face blocking my way with two other assistance at their side looking big eyed in my direction, and asking me what appliance I would like to purchase today. I once again decline the offer make a left at bedding and run into the third line of defense asking if I will buying a mattress today. I usually say no, but by this time I am seriously thinking that I may not buy one, but a little nap may not be out of the question. I think better of this and carry on my quest to find the item I am there to purchase. After all this I finally reach the part of the store where my item is supposed to be, but I don’t see the one I am looking for so I look around for help. It is at this very moment that I would swear by all things, that I enter the Twilight Zone. Just a moment ago I was dodging salesman and woman like they were Fire Ants attacking from all directions, and now, Silence. I look around and not only are there no salesman in sight; I don’t even see other shoppers. At this point I take the adventure in stride, and find what I am looking for by way of search and destroy. I rummage through literally tons of clothing until I finally find the item I am looking for on my own, and without help. I am overcome with joy because they actually had my size and color. You see, I have a common size for many Americans and I know without a doubt that the person who orders these things orders more of the odd sizes than the ones that sell the most. Why, only God knows, but that seems to be what is happening at the good old department stores. Now the adventure continues and I am starting to believe that somehow I really did enter the Twilight Zone. I can’t find a way to pay for this thing. I go looking for a register and but there are none to be found. Finally after a long arduous search I reach a type of corral with a sign above that says customer service or something to that effect. I see four new computerized registers and I finally begin to relax and see the light at the end of the tunnel. This new found joy is short lived because after what seemed like hours, although it was probably minutes, I realize that the register corral is still empty. I have to go search on the other side of the store for another coral. After what seemed like a mile walk a come upon another corral. I also come to understand that that is where all of the other shoppers I was looking for were. They were in four long lines at the same corral, and looking much for the ware as do I at this moment. I think about looking for another corral because of the crowed that has gathered at this one, but I don’t have enough faith to believe I would find one, so I stay. Convinced now that those folks, me included are in that place between sleep and awake, I proceed to discover that there is only one saleswoman at one of the four registers taking care of four lines that reach from the men’s department all the way to ladies lingerie. Finally my shopping day come to an end and I have paid for my sole purchase. I walk toward a door and something dawns on me as I exit. I don’t think I was in the Twilights Zone at all, and that that is truly what customer service has come to look like in the real world. By the way, as I enter my car in the parking lot I started to wonder where in the world the 46 sales people went that cared so much if I needed televisions, kitchen appliances and bedding. Forget it! Let’s just stop here. Can you relate? When I think about it, it gets me mad as hell!
I love the fall and the fact that we have so many really great holidays coming up even though there are idiots like that Principle that wants to do away with holidays because they are offended by them. I say cool let the idiots give up their holidays. I don’t know about you but all they do is make me want to celebrate mine in even a bigger way. While I am having fun and food with those I love, the idiots are sitting by themselves being hated by everyone else who can care less about their views on the subject anyway. That said I would like to take a look at the retail stores new ideas as to how to sell holiday items to the public. When I was a boy you knew what holiday was coming up because when you entered a store you would see holiday displays all around you. It was exciting and it added to the suspense of the upcoming fun and games. On Halloween you would see decorations, candy, costumes and everything in that well known black and orange inside and outside the stores. On Thanksgiving the orange stayed but the pumpkins turned into turkeys and the costumes into Pilgrims. Since Thanksgiving was believed to be the beginning of the Christmas and New Year’s season all of the colors changed to red white and green, along with colored lights, Christmas Trees, Wreaths, and ornaments galore. You always had a section for Hanukkah, and later, Kwanza. I will always remember the Holiday music playing in the background at that time of year. Now we get to the crux of the matter. For some reason the retail stores came up with the dumb ass notions that they should put the Christmas time items out at the same time as the Halloween items. Does that make any sense to you at all? It doesn’t even make good business sense because people still by what they need for the next holiday and seldom by Christmas ornaments on Halloween. I went into a small retail establishment the other day and had another strange adventure. I was looking for Halloween stuff and I happened upon a half empty isle. I asked the worker that happened to be putting things up on the shelves where the Halloween items were and he said and I quote; on isle 3 between the Thanks Giving and the Christmas stuff. I just walked out of the store. They are ruining it for us. We have nothing to go out and look forward to. We just go out one day and it is all there, done and forgotten except the money they will be counting. The problem is not that they want to sell everything at once as much as it is that they don’t take into consideration anyone’s joy or holiday spirit. What is or retail system coming to? Have you ever been to the stores that have those do it yourself registers? I have. Do I have to tell you that someone is out of a job? They call it convenience, I call it being cheap and caring less about customer service. I am telling you that this country is losing its identity and the lake of pride and customer service is one of the symptoms of a greater wrong being done in this country. It is no longer about the working man and Made in America, it is about how much they can get by selling the cheapest shit possible and squeezing the consumer for the highest price possible. I brought a Television from Best Buy Stores five years ago and had trouble with it from day one. I paid for the Insurance on it and they took it from my home and could not find anything wrong except it wouldn’t go on. They kept the television for 6 weeks, and sometime during the seventh week redelivered it to my home. The workers plugged it in and it wouldn’t start. Part of the Insurance plan sold to me by Best buy said that it would replace the set if they could not fix it. I called their corporate office. They made all kinds of promises to me, and never followed through. Needless to say that the policy ran out during this time and Best Buy refused to help me any longer. They said that I had to work with the insurance company directly and complain to them. The insurance company told me that the store should be helping me. The Television issue happened and was worked on and reported during the time the plan was active; therefore they should have replaced the set. They did not. I went to another store and bought another television and put the other 52” HDTV away. I was wronged by Best Buy, and the insurance company. I don’t have to say more, do I? Best Buy, Sears, and many other stores who once backed their products now do everything they can to wash their hands of responsibility. Sears charges you $100 just to come to you home and look at the junkie product they sold you. Why are we as consumers putting up with such nonsense? We are being used and robbed by the same stores that once took pride in their products. Are we to go around now and like a group of idiot’s say that it is alright and that is how things are these days? I say bullshit to that! It is time we don’t go to stores that sell at high prices and won’t back their products. I don’t know about you, but I am mad as Hell!