My son and I went out this morning, primarily for him to have a sandwich at Quizno's. He loves their sandwiches. I had some water and watched him eat. Moments later, we went to Starbucks and he sat and watched me drink coffee. Both of us were reasonably well-behaved.
As we strolled through by the other shops in the complex afterwards, the flower shop caught my eye. I've always noticed that they have pretty things in the window but I was never sure if they offered much beyond flowers. Today I learned they offer a lot more (including a lovely display of stuffed bunnies which is always good) and my son and I had a really nice time in there.
Now, looking at a shop that features flowers and night lights and cute little lamps and jewellery and pretty serviettes is not my son's idea of a really good time. (I could ask him, just to be sure, but I'm quite confident saying that.) The woman working in the store made it a fun time for both of us though. That's pretty amazing.
We were greeted in a friendly and genuine manner. Soon, she asked my son about whether he had a day off school. When she had placed my purchase in a cute little pink bag at the end, she made a point of asking him to carry it. It was lighthearted, it was nice and I will go back to the store. So, it worked for the store too.
As a shopper, there are times when I don't want a lot of service or attention. I'm thinking of bookstores where well-meaning people are a little too willing to help. Usually in bookstores, I want to browse and will ask if I need assistance. And meaningless chitchat doesn't add much. (My mother and I were once asked, in a store, if we were out shopping. We were.) Being followed around a store is downright awful and difficult to interpret. Does the employee think you look good for a big commission sale or for stealing something really valuable? It's hard to shop when you're trying to guess the answer to that question.
Sharing some genuine friendliness and adding some humour to the situation do add value to the shopping experience. I think a lot of stores could learn a lesson from the woman with whom my son and I dealt today. With more employees like her, even people who don't like stores with really pretty things can endure being in them a bit longer. I can't promise they'll enjoy being in those stores but enduring is a start. Happy shopping!