Where’s the Christmas magic? It went out the front door together with client service
By Geni Dee
I have a request to all retail stores. Can you please try to give us some magic this Christmas season?
I know it is only September, but in a new ridiculous tradition, most stores start to put up Christmas displays in October. Thus I need to make my plea now.
I have had a string of very displeasing shopping experiences during the past two months.
I know it is perhaps a rookie error to try and do shopping in the mall on a Saturday morning but I always plan it out well in advance. I never go straight after payday. And I also go really early to avoid the weekend stampedes. I leave my baby with Granny to babysit and I go with a set list of things to buy so that I don’t get distracted by all the pretty, shiny objects in the shops.
But even with all my planning, I recently had another disastrous shopping experience. My whole shopping expedition that day was already marred by being unable to find all the items I had set out to buy, but my frustration really escalated at the payment counter, where on a busy Saturday morning, there was only one person working behind the till.
I waited in line for 20 minutes. Behind me a relatively long queue had formed, all with customers talking under their breath about how service in this town isn’t up to standard. When I arrived at the till, the lady behind the counter sighed as if ringing up my items was the worst thing to ever happen to her. She pursed her lips and in a very annoyed tone, asked cash or credit? I responded politely, but she then proceeded to toss my items very harshly into a shopping bag. At this moment I considered just leaving everything on the counter, but I figured if I had come so far I had to persevere.
I had paid and was walking out of the store when pleep! pleep! pleep! The security alarm… The security guards escorted me to a counter where they continued to unpack my whole bag and scrutinise my till slip in front of a lot of other shoppers. They kept asking if I am sure I paid for everything, until the lady who assisted me behind the till admitted that she may have forgotten to remove some of the security tags. It was at this stage that I may have had a bit of a theatrical outburst. Don’t ask me, ask the small crowd that gathered around us!
And it’s not just this one store, I have had increasingly bad experiences at retailers all across town.
When I relived the story to my husband, I could see that he thought me to be very dramatic, but it made me realise that my relationship with retailers in general had already started to deteriorate around Christmas last year.
I remember a time when retail stores went through a lot of trouble with their holiday displays. It was such a magical time for me, imagining I was in some winter wonderland. Doing Christmas shopping with my mother is one of my fondest childhood memories.
But last year, there were literally 5 random trees placed across some of the stores with two random ornaments on each tree. It felt rushed and lacked sincerity. Some retailers also attempted to go the modern route, by having minimalistic monochromatic Christmas displays. None of these encouraged my Christmas spirit and I remember going home feeling quite disappointed with the lack of effort shown by the retailers.
But I have decided that all is not lost. These retailers can still woo me back and I am prepared to forgive all past bad customer service transgressions. Granted, they make an effort with their Christmas displays. Maybe we can get some of that magic back from my childhood. They now have a month to plan their Christmas displays accordingly.