This past week I found myself in a business asking about a product that they advertise in their store but never seem to have any of in stock. This is despite the fact that the reason they give is that the product just flies off the shelf.

My first question is this – wouldn’t you love to have a product that is always flying off the shelf….and if you did have such a product, would you make sure you had ample inventory in stock, and/or at least enough that most of your customers are walking away happy?

Ironically, they admit to having inventory of the product out back but say they can’t get any of this product to the front of the store on that particular day.

After visiting this place and finding that they never “seem” to have any of this “highly popular” product available, I asked if I could speak with the owner or get in touch with the owner.

The reply by staff? “I actually don’t know who the owner is…..but the manager is right in that office there”

I made my way to the office to discover the manager clipping her toenails into a nearby garbage can (insert shocked look here) – true story.

In either case when I explained my feelings regarding the fact that they can never supply this “highly popular” product despite having ready customers every day, her response was (and I’m not joking here) “I know it’s a problem, and that product does sell every time we bring them out front, I just can’t get anyone in the store to bring them up front because they feel it is a lot of work…..but I am trying to CONVINCE one of them to take on the task…so rest assured, I am working on it.”

Does anyone else see a problem here? I mean a problem outside of the CLIPPING TOENAILS IN FRONT OF CUSTOMERS ACTION?

“…..I’m trying to convince my staff to serve our customer better.” she says…

Until today’s leaders start leading by example (and even training staff to excel), and of course until employees start realizing how big a part they play in the Customer Experience process, this pattern isn’t going to improve, and is only going to get worst.

My last question is this – how much worse are we willing to let this get?

Onward and upward,


One comment

  1. Sherry · July 15, 2010

    toe nail clipping – gross!
    There are many factors and assumptions that can be made [try to never assume, may lead me down the wrong path 🙂 ] however here is one: if this is a ‘box’ store or franchise – many of the employees see it as only a job – they are not fully engaged – just like a child “there must be praise, rewards and consequences”. Leadership is lacking and it must start at the top – kinda like a parent! – Sherry

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