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First of all, apologies, dear Readers, for the massive delay since my last post.  I’ve been wrestling with WordPress and the glitchy handling of images in blog posts.  *sigh*  No resolution yet, so I’m going to post sans graphics until this improves.  Sorry about that…

Anyway, has anyone else noticed that lack of gratitude in stores these days?  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I assumed that stores were anxiously awaiting every purchase we make, as most retailers’ financials are in the toilet.  Yet, it is seemingly impossible to receive a simple, “Thank you for shopping with us” at any retailer.

In a bizarre twist, I often catch myself thanking THEM…for example, when they hand me back my credit card, or when they hand my bag over the counter, I automatically say, “Thank you!” and head out the door.  Why do I say this?  Maybe I’m overcompensating for the lack of thanks in the process.

So I started a little test – I wanted to see what would happen if I don’t chirp my thanks during the transaction.  And the result?  Awkward silence.  Try it sometime.  At the cupcake store, I got a “Did you need your receipt?  Ok then, you’re all set!”.  At Cusp, the bag was silently handed across the counter.  At J. Crew, I routinely get, “And there you go!”  There I go?  This isn’t a Dr. Seuss book…

Of course, you can always blame the slack-jawed lackeys working in retail, who could care less about the store or its customers.  I know that it’s hard to hire truly engaged workers at low hourly rates.  But in this economic crunch-time, companies need to differentiate themselves from the pile of competitors all struggling to stay alive.  The worst companies will bemoan their lack of resources to make significant change.  The smartest companies will get creative and make improvements that cost them little to nothing.  For example, ensuring that your staff are receptive and polite is an easy way to differentiate yourselves from competitors.  No cost, and can go a long way to attract and keep customers.  Is it just me or is this a total blindspot?