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Retail Customer Training

Time to level the playing field and educate customers
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This may appear to border on a rant, but please hear me out. Poor economic numbers have retail customers living in a fantasy world and here's one possible solution.

Businesses spend billions training their respective sales forces how to put customers first and how to respect and exceed the customer's expectations. But let's face it, customers have no clue how businesses operate and lately feel that it's open season on anyone selling a product or service. I propose a short one-time training seminar designed to teach customers how to respect sales people and how hard they work. That's it.

I know that there will always be a "trust" issue and that the education needs to work both ways, but we must admit that the horror stories of thieving salespeople are going the way of the dinosaur yet business are not able to turn a profit.

No one wins when a customer takes advantage of a gasping retailer because the retailer won't be there a year later when service is needed.

jon3, Sep 23 2002


       //please hear me out//
Where's the RealAudio button for this page?
thumbwax, Sep 23 2002

       Isn't this due to big business as opposed to shoppers that sales in local shops are falling?
[ sctld ], Sep 23 2002

       In the US, bad retail numbers have customers smelling blood and they are pitting retailers against each other looking for prices below the retailer's cost. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but some retailers (who are unfortunately on the way out) are actually doing this.   

       The end result is that healthy stores are losing sales and customers are buying from shops that won't be able to service them in the future. I think that there should be some form of education available teaching customers that engaging in this type of behavior is a lose lose for everyone. A cure would be better retail performance and then stores would feel more confident holding on to a small profit, but who knows how long this will take.
jon3, Sep 23 2002

       In other words, you're perceiving a repeat of the 1980's video game crash, but on a much broader scale, and you wish to avoid same.
supercat, Sep 23 2002

       ¯jon3: Who would've thought of consumers quandry brought on by, say, the wide slot toaster? Sure, an innocent early adapter may have seen a ready way to produce at home that fine Texas toast that captured so many steakhouse diners, but the ultimate manipulation came when the trend catchers discovered that an entirely new grocery aisle opened to them -- one stocked with ‘hefty¹ toaster pastries and other items quite small for a toaster oven but easy to load in the new wider slots. There sprung up an entire branch of convenience foods and ‘lite’ products just to fill this hot niche.   

       I feel your pain, but I don't think consumers are inherently educable in the field of production and operations. Our last, best, hope lies with the honest and predictable consumers who differentiate on price.
reensure, Sep 23 2002

       nick: There's nothing wrong with supply and demand, but certain types of behaviors can breed instability. The video game crash of the 1980's happened because nobody wanted to buy a game for $25 which they knew would in a few weeks be available for $5, nobody wanted to invest much in developing games that were only going to sell for $5, and nobody wanted to buy the games producers cranked out when they pared R&D enough to sell them for $5 (some of which were really terrible).   

       Interstingly, btw, there are a few post-crash games for the Atari 2600 which are amazingly good. Solaris and Radar Lock come to mind. Curious what drove D. Neubauer(sp?) since I don't think those games sold enough to justify what must have been a long time in development. Unless perhaps he started work on the games pre-crash and completed them as a matter of pride.   

       Still, I'm curious how you would mitigate the effects of an impending crash in a situation where customers are basing buying decisions on the expectation of unsustainably-low prices?
supercat, Sep 24 2002

       Customer taking advantage of a business. I cracked an ironic smirk over that one.
Zimmy, Apr 28 2011


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