Most of us consumers have been into a store recently, providing we still shop in retail stores, and have experienced the lack of anyone to show where things are or anyone to check one out after they finally find the item they sought in the first place.
On a Monday morning, I walked quietly into one local retail market, noticing right away the stillness of the place. “Why is it so quiet?” I wondered. I also noticed that there were very few shoppers when usually on a Monday morning there would be several people grabbing things they had used up on the weekend. One lone employee stood behind the service desk looking forlorn and dejected.
“What is going on here?” I asked. I had seen this person there before.
“Management has laid off several employees, she replied, and they say they don’t need a lot of help in the morning as we have self-checkout here and most people are using that!”
She was not a happy camper being almost alone with only a few scattered stockers in the store. I could not blame her as this presented a safety hazard! Who would help this young lady in an emergency? No checkers, no assistants, hardly any stockers! What is going on here?
In America we are used to a customer oriented business, catering to all their customers, and at the same time being careful for their employees. Customer service is becoming less and less as retail outlets are trying to save money by making it more and more inconvenient for their customers. There are quite a few older citizens in our neighborhood, who live in senior-living communities, and for different reasons would like to be able to have someone check them out when they are ready to leave the store. I have seen the looks of despair when they arrive at the front of the store and there is no one there to assist them. And even if they wanted to do self-checking they are not always assured of someone there to help them in case the machine happens to act up as some of them do regularly.
What has happened to corporate America? Are profit margins so small that they cannot afford a little customer service? Is profit more important than pleasing the public that insures them of profit? It is no wonder that more and more people are turning to the internet to order what they need instead of going to local retail outlets! Also, what must this mean to day workers who depend on these jobs for survival? Most retail outlets are only working employees a few hours in order not to pay them any benefits! In the long run, is this going to insure that the CEO’s of these places will get their fat bonuses at the end of the working season?
Many landmark businesses, Wards, Sears, etc., just to name a couple have fallen due to not keeping up with the latest trends. They did not allow employee buy-in to help keep them alive. Had they treated their employees better, they would still be in business. It is a miracle how that J.C. Pennys has weathered the storm without having the policies of Amazon to help them along! Even they have very little customer service!
Unless family-owned businesses have family employees to keep their businesses going, they are dead in the water! This includes restaurants, jewelry businesses, small clothing outlets, and a host of others. Where are we headed? Will we all have to order everything online, even the very food we eat? I am certain that this is what Amazon is hoping!
Gone are the days of country stores
When all could be bought in one spot
Where everyone knew everyone
And all one needed could be got!
No wonder there’s no unity!
We’re all strangers to the other
Where once we were on first-name basis
Now we hardly know our own mother!
Aw, for the days of yesteryear
When a friend was truly a friend!
How our old hearts long for the day
When all of this nonsense will end!