As a retail owner, manager or employee you get to know the people who frequent your store, and the type of people you can expect to shop there. If you work at Forever 21, you would not expect to see an elderly man browsing your racks, just like it would be surprising to see a teenage girl shopping at Brooks Brothers. But is that to say they can’t, or should be looked upon differently for being there? Maybe the man is looking for a shirt for his granddaughter; maybe the girl is shopping for a tie for Father’s Day. I bring this up because when I occasionally have to make a visit to an atypical store, I sometimes feel uncomfortable upon walking in, but always appreciate when I am treated as though I belong there and am given the help that I so obviously need. I recently painted a few rooms in my home and although I considered shopping for paint at a big box store, I remembered the last couple of times I looked for paint there and the negative experiences I had. Somehow in the 21st century, the employees who “helped” me still acted as though a woman does not belong in a hardware store. I was treated as though I were someone with silly requests, and they were too bored to bother fulfilling them. So instead, I made the decision to pay a little extra and go to my favorite hardware store, Westlake Ace Hardware. When I go into this store, I am immediately greeted and treated with respect. When I select my paint color and inevitably have to return for adjustments to be made, the associates working with me have always been patient and made it very clear that they will go back as many times as I need to get the perfect color. On the rare occasion I need to visit a hardware store for reasons other than painting or planting, I know that there is no way I will be left searching up and down aisles for what I need, which is what seems to happen at bigger stores. At Ace, someone always finds me and offers to help. When I leave, I feel satisfied and usually always have a smile on my face due to the friendly nature of the employees.
Next time you are at your retail location and someone walks in who doesn’t look like they belong, don’t let this happen to you:
Instead, treat everyone who walks in the door with respect, you never know how you can impact their day!