Citizen Wausau

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Is Retail an Impossibility??!

by on December 26th, 2007

So, I know what is expected of me is in fact a nice, community, love everyone post about how seeing old friends makes the heart warm, or some such crap, well in all honesty the founders have encouraged this particular post, and I fully intend to let it rip. So, grammar be damned, and spelling can kiss my butt.

I love the holiday. Nothing is more fun for me than to buy my brother, my mom, and his fiance presents. It is the coolest thing to sort of give that little shot of love over hte bow of consumerism. We are a close family, and in all honesty gifts are a lot like shopping together…”Oh you like that?” MENTAL NOTE, DEWALT IS BETTER. Or sometimes we just buy it right in front of the person. So it goes.

But I love buying gifts, I just do. I like to pick them out, hold them in my hand, interact with the staff at a store, and give them my money. It is a wonderful feeling to do something for someone else. It really is.

So what’s the problem, Dino? What’s gotten under your saddle blanket?

The EASTBAY RETAIL STORE has gotten under my saddle blanket.

So, if you work there, or own the joint, or own stock in the company, that’s fine. If you are the actual kid in question, I am sorry in advance, but you totally have this coming. But honestly, JUST CLOSE THE RETAIL STORE.

The fact is, the retail store is ignored by the company, and a result it has turned into a home for wayward former track standouts who now go to UWMC. It is a store that is really a place for employees to pick up their discounted wares, and the rest of us get lulled into thinking it is a real store when in fact it is not.

Here’s what happened. My younger brother wanted new Nike boots for Christmas, and I was happy to buy them for him. Thrilled, actually. So I went online, found boots on the Eastbay website, and called the store. I knew they would not be in the store, but the guy said they had lots in stock and could PICK them. So, I had the assurance that my boots would arrive in time for Christmas, and my brother would be happy. One gift off the list. I can trust Eastbay; they are a hometown shop, right?

WRONG.

I get to the store, and stand there for 2 text messages on my cellphone, while waiting for ANYONE to approach me to see if I might, you know, WANT SOMETHING. I suppose people often just come in from the cold, but, in this case I wanted something. You know, shoes. I guess you could ask, why not just order them online or through the phone bank. Well, shipping is like 12 bucks, and I LIVE HERE! So why not just pop over, and pick them up? It’s a store, right? When they say they will have something for you, they have it.

Well, FINALLY, Little Jimmy of the Plugged Nose Clan approached. Asked if I wanted anything. I stopped with the Crackberry, and said yes, I ordered some shoes, and would you please see if they are here.

Can I get your name?

So I told him my name. I even spelled my last name. It’s an unusual name for Wausau, so I expected some confusion.

Little Jimmy ambles away. Only to return a few moments later wanting to know how to spell my last name.

I spell my name again for Little Jimmy of the Customers are in the Way Clan.

Little Jimmy hobbles back to the secret retail area of magical arrivals.

I stand there for a few moments, and realize that Little Jimmy of the Let’s Kill Time and See if this Guy Will Leave Clan might not be coming back, so I am forced to look at wind breakers and jackets I am not going to buy. A full 4 minutes later (I wear a watch) Little Jimmy of the Oh Crap He is Still Here Clan approaches again and asks…I am sorry, what was the name again?

Now Little Jimmy of the About to Get Yelled At by A Customer Clan has a look of real terror on his plugged face. So I hand him my card, which has my name WRITTEN ON IT IN ENGLISH. Big Block letters. My name. PROPERLY SPELLED and everything.

So off Little Jimmy of the I Can’t Believe This Old Guy’s Balls Clan rumbles.

Within 30 seconds Little Jimmy returns and says, “Sorry we dont have them.”

And then I am off like an old lady to a bingo night and I say, “Can you check the computer for me?”

Little Jimmy of the Eye Rolling as Aggression Clan rolls said eyes and says sure. We approach the counter, a manager of the Eye Rolling Clan stands there and asks, “Can I help you?” to which I respond, “I ordered some shoes to be PICKED a few days ago, and I want to see if they are still in stock.”

To which I get a dual eye rolling. Little Jimmy hops on the old terminal, and tracks down that there are several hundred of this popular item in stock. So, I inquire, just for fun more than anything at this point, “Then why weren’t they picked when I ordered them?”

To which Little Jimmy of the Exacting Use of the English Language Clan responds with a shrug of his clearly overworked shoulders and a “I don’t know.”

I thought, oh so briefly, about asking Little Jimmy of the Missing the Actual Role of Retail Clan to explain to me about what an order is, and what the function of a store is, and the general concept of supply and demand, and purchasing and selling and the like. But instead I thanked Little Jimmy of the Undeserving of My Thanks Clan for his time, and walked out.

So I have to ask, why do we even bother shopping in stores? In general, yeah, Eastbay sucks, but other stores suck as well. Why do we even bother? So few in these stores have any idea what they are talking about, and so few care. It is like a front business for the Russian Mafia or something 8 out of 10 times. I just want to walk into a store, and have someone who knows something about whatever they are selling talk to me about it.

I confess, I worked in retail once, for one day, and I was that guy. So I quit, and ran away. I knew I had nothing to offer anyone that came in that big box store, so I left. The training was terrible, and I had no idea what I was going to sell, and they handed me a shirt, and cut me loose. And it was the day after Thanksgiving. I literally left in the middle of my time there, and never returned. So I do not work retail, and as a result know little about it.

But, we talk about this internet world, and we lament it. We bemoan the Web 2.0 world and the loss of connection. Well, I wonder why I should venture into a store and buy anything ever again? What is the point if we are faced with Little Jimmy of the Killing Time between Bioshock Campaigns Clan? Little Jimmy, who does not know a training shoe from a race day shoe?

I am sorry, but I have really just sort of had it. Have you had the same thing, or maybe a good experience?

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