We all have little things that drive us crazy, those little everyday annoyances that really raise the stress levels. I personally have ‘lots’ of these things that range from mild annoyance to extremely p*ssed off, including not be able to find a car park, putting petrol in my car, and bad grammar! More recently the overuse of the word ‘just’ has started bothering me – particularly when it’s used in the retail space. Below are two recent examples:
Example One: Monteiths had been advertising their new range of cider and beers for several weeks and I had been trying to find it for sale at a range of retailers including Countdown Spotswood – after a couple of weeks of checking I decided to ask the check-out operator if they knew when it was going to be on sale, their response “I wouldn’t know, I’m just the check-out operator” – yes granted it’s unlikely that given the thousands of products that supermarkets stock that anyone in store would be able to answer the question straight off the top of their head but that didn’t bother me, what bothered me was the fact that this person thought their role in this high profile retail outlet was so insignificant that they were ‘just’ the check-out operator.
Let’s just look at this for a minute – even if I only go to the supermarket one to two times a week (I wish), and for arguments sake lets say I’ve been going since I left home which was (gulp) 25 years ago – that’s a little under 2,000 times and out of all those visits I have never spoken to a manager, and probably have only dealt with the ‘customer service’ desk maybe a dozen times. So dear check-out operator you are not ‘just’ anything – you are in fact the person who ultimately makes me decide whether I will or won’t choose to shop at your store – not the head of the department, not the store manager, and not the owner! I don’t deal with them I deal with you! For me this is actually a management problem, the people who have the most influence with the customers are those who directly interact with them and they should be empowered in their role.
BTW – I did eventually track down the new Monteiths range and it’s delicious!
Example Two: I bet I am not the only person to experience this scenario – you are clothes shopping, you take half a dozen items into the changing room and nothing really looks right, then you do another scout of the store and find another half dozen items to try and eventually settle on something. You have possibly tried on a dozen things, looked in the mirror with each piece, turned, ummed and ahhed, checked to see if your bum, thighs, arms, boobs, stomach, look fat, bumpy, etc (mine always do!), run through all your body/clothing insecurities and finally talked yourself into buying something. Feeling pleased you have found the ‘perfect’ (well for that day anyway) item, you proceed to the check out desk and the assistant, who usually has ignored you the entire time anyway, then politely asks “Just this today’. This comment is almost enough to make me simply turn around and walk out of the store! (Granted I am yet to do this for the fact that I am usually so invested in the item by this time having run through the scenarios of does it fit, can I afford it, what can I wear it with, it’s nice to have something new, etc, that I daren’t leave without it for the sheer fact of feeling like a failure). But seriously do they have to ask that question? Shouldn’t this part of the process be the most rewarding? Shouldn’t the assistant be making you feel fantastic about your purchase? After all, you have chosen to invest time and money in their product so why undermine that?
So if you could please stop using ‘just’ I’d really appreciate it!