Looks like we’re in a bumper crop of morons. It’s not a very nice thought, but it’s one that rages in my mind far too often. Especially when I’m in the middle of a store noticing a massive retail leadership failure.
I just returned from Wal-Mart with two bottles of bleach and a box of lightbulbs. As I approached the front of the store to break my shortest-actual-shopping-trip record, my heart filled with dread. Lines and lines of piled-high baskets. Drawn like so many moths to the blue lights over three checkout stations.
I’m a pro at measuring the contents of a line’s baskets and picking the quickest way to the parking lot. As I plied my craft, it was no surprise that my line moved much faster than the line next to it. When I stepped into the bullpen for the cashier’s little conveyer belt, I noticed why.
Sitting in one of those powered carts was a woman clearly in need of assistance. The cashier had filled all the bags on her sack carousel, but there were still items on the conveyer. Crisis! She stepped over to the four or five supervisors chatting nearby– wait, wait…there are supervisors watching long lines go unserved and they’re chit-chatting?!
She stepped over to the enormous pile of wasted money and asked what she should do. After mulling it over, the supervisors decided she should fill more sacks and set them on top of the carousel so her line would move. What a lack of retail leadership (some of us call it commons sense).
I set my items down in the floor and stepped over. Amazingly, when I put sacks in the cart, more space was available to bag items. I smiled and asked the woman if she had help to load up her car. She said her daughter was on the way. Suddenly, I’m the CEO of Wal-Mart.
Retail Leadership is Dead
I don’t know about you, but these sort of horrible experiences are becoming the norm. I’ve got a similarly embarrassing story about Sam’s Club, where we pay for the privilege to shop! On separate visits, I’ve been berated by a teenaged supervisor and a middle-aged manager after commenting about poor service times.
Here’s what’s amazing:
- There are always tons of employees running around.
- There are never enough employees where they need to be.
- Supervisors and managers are always available to “listen” to your complaint.
- Supervisors and managers seem to never be available to assist their team.
- We bask in the abuse!
Listen up, retail leaders: your stores are really sucking.
I used to get so angry at consumers who left shopping carts in the parking lots (still a pet peeve). Tonight I drove by cart corrals packed with buggies. I used to get so mad at employees who couldn’t solve basic problems. Tonight I reaped the benefit of a bumper crop of supervisor-morons.