Dateline: Kittery, ME. Date: January 14, 2013. Approximate time: 12:15pm. Purpose of expedition: purchase of new boat shoes
I, like many men, approach shopping with particular destinations in mind for specific items. I know exactly what I am going to do and where and do not expect to be swayed by clever merchandising or enticing window displays. My assignment was shoe stores, starting with emporiums where I have had prior success – good selection, no hassles, in and out. Hence, my first choice – Bass, and their outlet store in Kittery, Maine.
Easy access and parking for this store. You enter and have women’s shoes on the left and men’s footwear on the right with clothing options in the middle of the store. As is the rule, it seems, in outlet facilities particularly for shoes, there are rows of goods, with the product displayed about five feet off the ground and the various shoe sized boxes right below. The interior walls also carry footwear with more tiered displays, running from the floor to the ceiling.
There was one other customer there during my entire visit. I might add, I was not welcomed, much less asked if I needed assistance at the onset. So, I wandered about, up and down rows of shoes, from formal wear to boots, slippers to moccasins. I had finally established myself at a corner alcove, even taken my glasses out to further inspect a pair of boat shoes and begin to seek the proper foot size.
Perhaps, you can visualize this corner of the store, too. Shoe boxes, probably five high, then the display of the boat shoes, then about three more boxes and then a final display just short of the roof, actually containing maybe six pair of blue jeans, attractively rolled up in some type of container next to some other shoes, of course.
There I was, interested and looking for the proper size, when what to my wonder arrives an attractive sales woman, carrying a ladder. She places the ladder in front of the alcove and announces she is doing inventory, climbs said ladder and from about rung four begins to unravel each blue jean, taking product information. I stand there, stupidly, wondering what the heck is this; due to ladder placement, I cannot get at the boxes to check content – boat shoes in my size. There is the entire store, absent of customers and she selects my little, lonely alcove for inventory. Rather than ask her just that, as she is in a precarious position on high, I stay about, take a short lap down the aisles and come back to await her descent.
In about five minutes, she climbs down, folds up the ladder and moves on without a word. Pretty surreal. Maybe she thought I was attractive. Maybe she thought I was an agent for Ringling Brothers. Probably she was bored. Most certainly, she was rude. Bass certainly did not get my business. And, I will tell others. This example is what it is all about – Customer Service, attention and courtesy – the memorable Experience. Bass failed on all accounts. As an aside, I visited three other stores for shoes. I was welcomed immediately and assured of assistance, if needed.
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