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They’ve been around for quite some time now, but I’ve never appreciated the theory or practice of store greeters. These humanoid automatons stand permanently affixed to a spot near the front of the store, fake smiles glued on their faces, feigning hospitality as they endlessly repeat, “Welcome to The DetritusGalore Emporium; please enjoy your shopping experience.”?
Of course, we all know that their job is not actually to make us feel welcome. Their job is to discourage shoplifters. I have nothing against discouraging shoplifters. Stores have a right to expect payment from everyone who takes the stores’ goods. If there are too many shoplifters then stores are either going to have to raise the prices they charge us honest shoppers or they are going to go bankrupt.
I’d be unhappy with either outcome. I don’t want to pay for other people’s stuff, particularly other people who stole their stuff. At the same time, I don’t want the stores I frequent to go bankrupt. Where would I buy all of my wonderfully useless crap if they did?
So, no, I am not opposed to discouraging shoplifting. What I am opposed to is a store telling me, in effect, that, “Our starting assumption is that you are a lying, cheating, thieving scumbag so we’re going to station someone at the front of the store to watch you and make you feel nervous when you attempt to steal something, but we’d be thrilled to sell you stuff if you want to buy it.”? That doesn’t quite give me the warm feeling that stores are always telling us they strive to impart to their customers. Seething, yes; warm, no.
And another thing, the front of the store is not where I usually want to find store staff. True, if I’m not familiar with the store and it’s one of those places that sells every product you can imagine, and many you can’t imagine, in a warehouse-like building that’s the size of 27 football fields then, sure, someone out front to direct me to the aisle holding the toilet paper I came to buy would be great.
But other than that, where I mostly want store staff is patrolling the aisles, ever-ready to answer my questions about the store’s fine selection of goods; questions like, “in your extensive personal and professional experience, which of these brands of toilet paper will be gentlest on my ass, while still possessing the strength required to hold together under shitty circumstances.”? That’s what I want from store staff, not “Welcome to DetritusGalore”? on the way in and “Thank you for shopping at DetritusGalore”? on the way out.
So I say, screw store greeters.
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Categorised as: customer service