You know you’re a retailer when…
- Your partner bans you from relaying the contents of the grocery cupboards, but you’re always too ‘exhausted’ to do any gardening.
- All the product labels in the fridge are front facing and the wine rack is presented not only by type and varietals, but dates.
- The very idea of going shopping on your day off is almost unbearable, after all it only takes a few seconds to ascertain what is on offer in each store. Why the inevitable hour upon hour of browsing?
- The highlights of a day shopping are observing customer behaviour and what stock gets abandoned at the base of scanning towers.
- You embarrass your partner by doing the finger dust test on fixtures, by pointing out missing labels, declaring false advertising and writing ‘clean me’ on grubby mirrors.
- You can’t change your mind and dump an item anywhere other than back in its rightful place.
- You pick merchandise up off the ground and alert team members of potential safety hazards.
- You glare at shoppers who open packaging then take an unopened one.
- You confront miscreant demeanour, tip off security and join in undercover operations.
- You have no clue whether the people greeting you in public are customers or acquaintances.
- The very concept of joining the madding crowds on vacation over Christmas is beyond you, preferring to assist Santa in his endeavour of over abundance and extravagance.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and I am sure there are endless examples from fellow retailers, fresh and seasoned alike, caught wearing their retail hat beneath the mufti.
A particular occasion comes to mind when I embarrassed my wife to the point that she disowned me, choosing to shop from the farthest side of the store.
Our 18-month old daughter marvelled at the sights and sounds of the Christmas glitz in a high-end department store, pointing and remonstrating for a better look.
A large floor display of furry toys caught her eye and it is all I could do to prevent her escaping from my clutches. Frustrated by her limited vantage point, she demanded a closer inspection of the zoological pool that was baying, quacking and mooing in response to an interactive audience of children.
Hoping to avoid the embarrassment of an imminent tantrum, I leaned over the encompassing wire pool frame and lowered my little girl, with due diligence, onto the hillock of soft animals.
Overstretched and with unexpected subsidence from the mound of playthings, I lost my balance and plunged head first into the now screeching melee of distressed make-believe livestock. A deluge of plush cascaded from the ruptured wall, burying me and leaving my girl perched on top chortling with glee.
Red-faced, I composed myself in the forlorn hope that no one, or at the very least, very few, noticed my unfortunate escapade. Alas, there was no escape other than to take a bow to the rapturous applause of passers by, and to acknowledge the impertinence of two checkout operators displaying white cards with the number 10 scribbled on them.
We mustn’t take ourselves too seriously in a business that at times can be very intense. Likewise, we should always take the time to appreciate our family’s support and what they have to put with.
Christmas is nigh.
Dave Farrell is a retailer with three decades of experience on three continents. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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