malls en-US Adventures in Retail Tedium <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/adventures-in-retail-tedium" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="177" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I usually try to avoid shopping retail for a long list of reasons. The prices offend me, the crowds annoy me, the selection overwhelms me, and often the quality disappoints me. A few days ago, however, I was forced by chance and time constraints to venture inside a large retail clothing chain &mdash; and that&rsquo;s when the fun began. Allow me an Andy Rooney moment to tell you all about it.</p> <p>First, some retailing think tank was obviously paid big bucks to figure out that sales increase .000214% when customers are greeted at the door. So, Clerk A greets me initially, Clerk B shortly follows suit, and Clerk C (not to be a policy-breaker) greets me a bit later. I know it&rsquo;s a forced greeting. They know it&rsquo;s a forced greeting. It smacks of compulsory cheer, and it annoys me beyond words. (See also: <a href="">Seven Lessons Learned from Working Retail</a>)</p> <p>After the onslaught of chipper hellos, I notice next the loud dance music. I can only guess that the catchy techno-beats are played to encourage me to dance in the hopes that it may dislodge my wallet or induce a trance-like state where I begin to believe that paying $59 for a cotton oxford shirt is entirely reasonable. I dance my way through the rustic decor and elaborate signage &mdash; carefully designed to give the impression that the jeans and sweaters manufactured in Macau are actually handmade by happy artisans in rural Vermont.</p> <p>Eventually I make my way to the counter to pay (or rather, over-pay) for my item. Since I&rsquo;ve now been greeted three times, the staff and I are practically old friends and the clerk asks me if I&rsquo;d like to save 15% by signing up for store credit card. I imagine this pitch works more often than not (how can one resist the logic behind a one-time 15% discount for the privilege of charging future items at a permanent 21% interest rate?). I decline with slightly clenched teeth, but a surprisingly upbeat tone.</p> <p>But the checkout script has only just begun &mdash; there&rsquo;s still the matter of the latest cause-marketing promotion. Would I like to round up my purchase and donate the extra dollars and cents to Cause X? Again, I decline. Don&rsquo;t get me wrong; I&rsquo;m all for supporting charitable causes, but I always wonder exactly what financial role the store plays in this promotion. And is it absolutely necessary to make every commercial transaction an occasion for a charitable request too?</p> <p>The checkout script continues. Next the clerk explains that the survey link printed on the receipt provides me with a chance to give my valuable customer feedback online and potentially win a free gift (and I thought I was just coming in to buy a shirt!). A squadron of greeters, dance music, discounts, and now a prize &mdash; is this heaven, or is this an inescapable retail play loop that makes the nearest exit vanish down a long film-noir tunnel of doom? I dutifully acknowledge the survey opportunity with the hope that I will be allowed to leave quite soon.</p> <p>Still, there&rsquo;s one last detail on the retailer&rsquo;s script that is the ridiculous cherry on the absurd sundae. It&rsquo;s the question that must be asked. It&rsquo;s the question that makes &quot;paper or plastic?&quot; seem nearly existential in comparison: Do I want the receipt with me or in the bag? I&rsquo;ve always wanted to answer this question by asking one of my own: Won&rsquo;t the bag be with me, and therefore, by default, the receipt will be with me too? I wonder what kind of record-keeping calamity might be wrought if my receipt ended up in the bag when I had expected it with me, or vice-versa.</p> <p>It should have been simple: All I really wanted was to trade cash for a shirt. Yet I continued through the retail obstacle course, scaling figurative walls, zip-lining over mud puddles, running like mad on a floating log &mdash; and all for a prize of questionable worth. Why do we reward companies that create artificial complexity around what should the clearest and simplest of transactions?</p> <p>I realize that this entire performance is designed to cultivate a retail &quot;experience&quot; &mdash; to commodify interaction with the goal of increasing sales. But what does this approach suggest about the merchandise itself? If items are <a href="">well-constructed</a>, reasonably classic or well-designed, and priced fairly, would we need five or six canned interactions to support the purchase of a pair of chinos or fleece pullover? Or could we be left to our own devices and would our better consumer be allowed to shine through?</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Adventures in Retail Tedium " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Shopping articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping humor malls retail retail promotions Fri, 18 Feb 2011 13:36:10 +0000 Kentin Waits 491307 at Telling My Daughter the Truth about Her New 'Friend,' The Salesclerk! <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/telling-my-daughter-the-truth-about-her-new-friend-the-salesclerk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="teen sales clerk" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I had to tell my daughter the truth. At the risk of hurting my baby's feelings, I had to tell her that the cool teenager in the 'tween-age clothing store was not really a friend. The 16-year-old salesclerk --so cute, so charming -- was more interested in my 10-year-old daughter's wallet.</p> <p>I hope I did the right thing.</p> <p><strong>'Tween Queens</strong></p> <p>Here's the scenario: To kill time before a movie, my daughter and I wandered into a store that targets girls ages 8-12. It's a great concept. Driven by <a href="">Miley Cyrus</a> -- <a href="">Hannah Montana</a> -- and other young stars, the 'tween market for merchandise is hot.</p> <p>Preteen girls have allowances and a desire for cute clothes and trinkets. As a frugal mom, I should have re-directed our window-shopping expedition. But my daughter wanted to check out the bright store, which featured videos, magazines and other gear from various Nick Jr. and Disney stars.</p> <p>Immediately, a salesgirl in a ponytail and jeans, swooped down on us. Before I could say &quot;bling-bling,&quot; the cute salesclerk had picked out several outfits for my daughter, complete with a cute matching cap.</p> <p><strong>Long Lines, Short Time Frame</strong></p> <p>With our movie about to start, we did not have time for the dressing room or the lengthy cashier line. My daughter promised to return. After the movie, my daughter gushed about the really nice salesclerk as we ran back to the store. (What was I thinking? Clearly, I had 'tween fever!)</p> <p>&quot;She was so nice,&quot; my daughter said. &quot;She spent so much time with me. I just want to go by and say 'hi' to her. I promised her that I would come back after the movie.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Shopping Reality Trip</strong></p> <p>At this point, I halted in the middle of the crowded mall.</p> <p>&quot;She's not really your friend,&quot; I blurted out. &quot;She just wants you to buy all that stuff that she picked out for you.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;You mean she doesn't really like me?&quot; My daughter is visibly distressed.</p> <p>I soften up and carefully select my words.</p> <p>&quot;Sure, she likes you. But she also likes your business. She wants you to buy those outfits. She makes more money when you spend more money,&quot; I said.</p> <p><strong>Reconsidering the Merchandise</strong></p> <p>When we returned to the store, my daughter made a big effort to track down and wave to the friendly salesgirl, who at this point was best-buds with another little girl and a huge stack of trendy clothing.</p> <p>My daughter studied the cute plaid hat. It was $15. I mentioned that the hat might be cheaper --marked down -- in a few months. But I still let her decide if she wanted to spend her hard-earned money, (she works as a mother's helper), on the little cotton cap. My daughter returned the hat to the display. She'd rather save her money and besides the line was still so long.</p> <p>What would you have done? Would you have told her the truth about the salesclerk? Should I have continued to let her believe that the cool clerk was a friend?</p> <p><a href=""><img align="right" src="../../../../../../files/fruganomics/u4/frugal-duchess.jpg" alt="" /></a>Editor's note: Sharon&nbsp;Harvey Rosenberg (The Frugal Duchess) will be joining Wise Bread as a full time blogger in August. In the mean time, she'll be dropping by with a few guest posts a week.&nbsp; You can find more great tips from Sharon in her book <a href="">Frugal Duchess: How to Live Well and Save Money</a> or in Wise Bread's new book <a href=";;tag=thelesmac-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325">10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget</a>.</p> <p>Can't wait until August? Here are other great posts by Sharon on her blog <a href="">The Frugal Duchess</a><em>. Enjoy!</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="">Selling the Car, Jewelry &amp; Other Stuff to Raise Cash</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="">Sell the Coach Bag? What I'm Willing To Give Up for Financial Security</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="">Shocking Results from My Free Energy Audit</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="">Tips for Preparing for Home Ownership</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="">How to Save Money on Hair Coloring (Sorry Jamie Lee!!)</a></li> </ul> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Telling My Daughter the Truth about Her New &#039;Friend,&#039; The Salesclerk!" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Frugal Duchess</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping malls sales sales clerk shoppting teens Wed, 29 Jul 2009 12:00:08 +0000 Frugal Duchess 3420 at More children hurt in Crocs-related accidents. <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/more-children-hurt-in-crocs-related-accidents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Crocs injury" title="Crocs injury" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some of you may recall <a href="/crocs-bite-shoes-pose-danger-on-escalators">my recent article</a> on the inherent dangers of wearing Crocs on escalators. Well, the misery, pain and nasty injuries continue to happen. Since writing the article I have heard more horror stories, including one sent to us by Wisebread reader Dindin. His daughter’s foot was inside the mangled Croc pictured above, and she was lucky to come away from the accident in one piece. </p> <p>With Dindin’s kind permission I am reprinting his letter to us, along with the pictures that accompanied it. Please, take the time to read it, the story is one that could easily happen to your child or a child you know.</p> <blockquote><p><em>“Crocs are Unsafe for Riding Escalators! </em></p> <p><em>This is not the first time an accident involving children, escalators and<br />rubber clogs has happened</em>.</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u17/Untitled-1.jpg" alt="Andie injury" title="Andie injury" width="327" height="236" /></p></blockquote> <blockquote><p><em>14,200 search results turned out when I typed &quot;crocs,escalator,injury&quot; on<br />Google. My three-year-old daughter&#39;s toe injury caused by her right Croc <br />getting caught in the side of an escalator is not an isolated case, and many<br />more injuries could follow unless substantial solutions are delivered at the<br />soonest possible time.</em></p> <p><em>Parents, mall operators, and the company or companies behind the manufacture <br />and sale of Crocs footwear should act immediately to put an end to the<br />disturbing number of accidents involving Crocs and escalator mechanisms.</em></p> <p><em>What happens is that the slip-resistant quality of the footwear, ironically <br />the same quality that ranks among its unique selling points, causes it to<br />adhere to the side of a moving escalator upon contact. Resulting injuries<br />have ranged from simple scratches to toes being actually ripped off. (I <br />found a collection of news stories on <a href="" title=""></a>.<br />That there is such a site should speak for the gravity of the situation.)</em></p> <p><em>There is no point in raising arguments along the lines of escalators being <br />inherently dangerous for children, or of the possibility of similar<br />accidents with every other kind of footwear, or of parents being solely<br />responsible for the safety of their children when under their care. The fact <br />is that so many children have been hurt because the traction of their clogs<br />is unsuitable for escalators. This danger had come to our attention prior to<br />the accident involving my very own daughter, which is why we are always very <br />careful when making her ride the escalator with her Crocs on. She even<br />constantly recites the line &quot;stay on the center,&quot; as we always remind her to<br />do so. But it just took a millisecond for us to fall victim to an already <br />familiar mishap. Being careful just wasn&#39;t enough.</em></p> <p><em>Parents, stop making your children wear Crocs in malls. Believe me when I<br />say that you can never be too careful when it comes to the nasty combination<br />of Crocs and escalators.</em></p> <p><em>Mall operators, adopt more child-friendly measures. Post visible notices on<br />the dangers of wearing rubber clogs on escalators. Make known the presence<br />of emergency stop buttons. Make your security guards aware of the alarming <br />number of escalator accidents and train them to render urgent responses.<br />This is not just token advocacy; this actually makes good business sense.</em></p> <p><em>To the company or companies manufacturing and selling Crocs, mark your <br />products accordingly. Indicate that they are not safe for riding escalators<br />because, really, they aren&#39;t. Stop saying that they are completely safe. You<br />owe this to the children who love your shoes. My daughter owns three pairs <br />of Crocs- a pair of Caymans, a pair of Athens and a pair of Mary Janes. That&#39;s<br />how she likes wearing those clogs. Even the first words that came out of her<br />mouth after her tiny scream of pain were, &quot;My Crocs! My Crocs!&quot;.</em> </p> </blockquote> <blockquote><p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u17/DSC_6173.jpg" alt="mangled croc" title="mangled croc" width="277" height="185" /></p> <p><em>Andie is fine now. After the accident, which happened in Megamall at around<br />9pm of August 19, we rushed her to the Medical City where she got the proper<br />treatment for her wounds (no quick first aid response in the mall, we had to <br />run from building B to building A where we were parked. but that&#39;s another<br />issue), x-rays of both her feet, and a tetanus shot. All her toes are intact<br />and the wounds she got were merely superficial, thank God. With the way her <br />right foot bled and with the hideous torn and deformed state of her Crocs<br />right after the accident, we thought the injury would be much worse.</em> </p> </blockquote> <blockquote><p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u17/DSC_6184.jpg" alt="Andie injury 2" title="Andie injury 2" width="191" height="286" /></p> <p><em>But will she ride the escalator again with as much self-confidence as she&#39;s <br />always had before the accident? We pray that she does. Trauma is not healed<br />with a simple wound dressing and tetanus shot.”</em></p> </blockquote> <p>The story was even covered on the news in the Philippines. You don&#39;t need to speak the language to get the clear message. </p> <p><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase=",0,29,0" width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <p>It’s good to know that little Andie came out of it ok, although I suspect the psychological damage could be worse than the injury itself. But why are so many kids getting involved in accidents? I did a little digging of my own. </p> <p>I typed in “Crocs” and “injury” and over 309,000 hits were returned. When I added “escalator” it was still almost 37,000 results. Is this acceptable? Not to me. However, when I replaced the word “Crocs” with “Sneaker” the results went up. So, does this mean all shoes pose a hazard on escalators? Well, use your common sense. Crocs have been on the market for just a fraction of the time that sneakers have, and yet the injuries with Crocs are snowballing. </p> <p>What causes the injuries? Time after time the message I’m getting is that the very design of the Croc is magnifying the chance of an accident. As Dindin points out, the rubber material that the Croc is made of helps with traction, but it also grabs on to other materials (such as those of a moving escalator). And the loose-fitting, pliable quality of a Croc means it’s more likely to be sucked down the edge of the escalator.</p> <p>Should Crocs be banned? For adults, no, of course not. I’ve heard many positive things about them, especially in the medical industry. And my dad swears by them for things like gardening. But the question of them being suitable for children outside of the home is definitely one for serious debate. And until we can figure out how to keep our children safe when they’re in a mall or other area involving escalators, I personally believe that you should keep your kids away from Crocs, at least when your children are outside of the safety of your home.</p> <p>Andie is going to be fine, thankfully. But how much longer will it be before I’m writing a third article with a far more serious and tragic outcome? I hope it never happens.</p> <p>Further reading.</p> <p><a href=""></a> </p> <p><a href=""></a> </p> <p><a href=""></a> </p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="More children hurt in Crocs-related accidents. " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs alert Crocs danger escalators injuries malls safety Thu, 30 Aug 2007 23:19:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1064 at