Wednesday, February 11, 2009

People are acting strangely...Part II

Okay, so yesterday, during the full moon, I had two rather strange encounters. One, was the hair salon receptionist who thought she needed more information about why I was canceling my appointment than I was willing to give her. The other was a Macy's furniture saleswoman who, on first pass seemed obtuse. But after giving it further thought, maybe was just not very with-it. Or maybe it was me being obtuse. You decide.

I called to see if the price for a pub-height table, bookcase that rolls under one end of it, and four stools were actually the price given in the flyer. It was quite the bargain, marked down from $999 to $399, and was exactly what my daughter needed for her kitchen. The lady was very nice, said yes she could see the one I was talking about in her flyer, and said she was shocked at the price. She said there was an additional $25 charge to get the furniture from the warehouse in California to the Reno store. I asked her what was the charge to get it delivered and she said it was $80 for the first piece and $20 for each additional piece. At that point, thinking I was being helpful, I said many people are actually starting to order directly from on-line vendors, as most companies now seemed to not have much in stock, and require a wait while the item was ordered. I said why pay two fees to get something that can be shipped directly to you without paying the middle-man. She said there was only ONE fee - the $25. I said there was two fees - the $25 to get it to Reno, and the fee for delivery. She got angry, said she tried to help me and there was only one fee. So I asked if the item could be sent directly to me for the $25 fee. She said no, it needed to go to the store and then I could either pick it up or have it delivered for the $180, etc. So, trying to understand, I asked if this was the same in Portland, OR, where my daughter lived, and she said she had no idea. 

Now, if I order something on-line and have it sent to my home, I pay shipping. For furniture this could be high, so I don't really think I would ever order furniture on-line. Not to mention a truck and movers to get it to my home. But my point was that many stores are now only showrooms. You actually pay more for an item when they add all the additional charges to get the items to their stores. You are paying a middle man. This is pushing more people to go on-line instead of to their local retailers. I was trying to help her understand why some people are not shopping locally anymore. She saw it as an attack. She did not see the charges to get something to one's home as a charge. She never did say what she thought it was, only that it was not a charge - only the $25 was a charge. She could not see the big picture - what the total amount would be to a customer to get a piece of furniture to their home. (I might add that we recently bought a big item from RC Willey, who also had to get the item from their warehouse elsewhere. They did not charge an additional fee for this, and they only charged $45 for delivery, and that charge was good for the entire year if we bought more furniture from them. Good customer service. They told me what it would cost to get the item to my house, didn't charge extras, and understood that most people cannot get these big pieces of furniture into their CARS.)

So you tell me - was I just being dumb in thinking she would want to know why people might be going elsewhere, thinking she could pass this on at her next sales meeting? I know when I ran my wellness programs, I always wanted feedback from my nurses. That was the only way I could compete. Or was she just not thinking in a big-picture sort of way - like from the consumers point of view? Anyway, daughter passed on the item, and I just came away from the experience feeling weird. I was not trying to be difficult - honest!


Butternut Squash said...

My guess is that they already had an idea of what the competition is, but are powerless to do anything about it. The marketplace has changed significantly in the past 15 years. People who used to make a living with their shops have to compete directly with the manufacturers. They can not afford to ship things from place to place without passing on the costs, and they can't make the products themselves. Shop owners are still trying to figure out what to do in this new economy. I am in the same situation. Do I sell to shops or directly to the public and at what price?

Lover of Life said...

Good point, Butternut.

Jeninacide said...

That sounds pretty convoluted as far as the delivery goes- and I didn't PASS on it- I just have to discuss larger purchases with the main breadwinner prior to spending like, a car payment on a new table.

Also, I think you overestimate how much a sales girl that makes $8 an hour CARES about the competition. Should she care? Yes. Does she? I doubt it.

Faithful said...

In this a good salesperson, I'd would have waived the $25.00 fee regardless of who was right, just to move the merchandise! The longer she sits on her furniture (no pun intended) she will have lost more than the warehouse fee. When in sales.. always make the customer happy!

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