Jonathan’s wife ordered some clothes from Banana Republic, and was confused when another, similarly-sized box arrived on their doorstep from Banana Republic a week later. This box was clearly not destined for her, since she had not ordered the exciting new “Open Your Own Banana Republic” playset.
“Names, like fashion trends, often don’t age well,” notes Chadwick Matlin over at Slate’s The Big Money. In this week’s “Broadband” video segment, he looks at Radio Shack’s weird rebranding effort to get people to call it “The Shack,” even though it’s not changing its name, and even though “The Shack” isn’t any better. “Radio Shack has hedged its bets,” Matlin writes, “Splitting its identity in two and not choosing either. What’s worse, neither is especially impressive, or especially modern.”
Jay Goltz, a small business owner in Chicago, thinks there are three reasons why customer service is so terrible at so many companies.
This is old news to some of our readers, but not all: Microsoft is planning to open their own retail stores. What would such a wondrous place look like? Gizmodo has a concept Powerpoint presentation (what else?) that shows what the stores could look like.
Jim spotted this confusing sign at a Fry’s store in Campbell, Calif. On a display of compact fluorescent light bulbs, the store helpfully notes that some assembly is required. “Is it safe to assemble your own fluorescent light bulbs?” he wrote. “I mean with the dangerous mercury vapor and all?”
Village Lighting in Bellingham, Washington refused to let a 29-year-old man use their bathroom, and the man retaliated by going completely batshit insane on them.
REI’s Director of Corporate Communications contacted us with an official statement about the recent showdown between two Loomis security guards and a customer with an iPhone at one of their Seattle stores. She says despite the document Shane says he was forced to sign at the police station, he is not banned from their stores. Below is REI’s official statement.
While Shane was standing in the customer service line at a Seattle REI, he watched two Loomis employees open and change out the cash in an ATM machine. Shane took a photo of them with his iPhone. This apparently freaked out the Loomis guards, the REI security staff, and then the Seattle police, who put handcuffs on Shane, drove him to the police station, and then made him sign a statement that he wouldn’t return to a REI store for a year. You might have noticed in that summary that they didn’t actually bring any charges against him, which should make it clear to anyone who wants to side with the faux Po-Po that what Shane did wasn’t illegal, that the rent-a-cops should be fired, and that REI and Loomis owe Shane a big apology.
The Circuit City death watch is long over, but now there’s a way to preserve those memories forever—maybe even to outfit an entire troupe of Circuit City re-enactors. Reader chainofcommand02 was shopping in a grocery outlet store when he discovered several cases of Circuit City polo shirts. Yours, for only $1.00.
Some stores—like A&P Supermarkets and Bed Bath & Beyond, for example—seem to have a sort of antagonism against coupon users. (For that matter, some of our commenters do too, but they are wrong.) Steve Gosset notes on his “Reality Bites Back” blog that the shortsighted coupon policies at these two stores only ended up costing them more fees, or even a sale.
Some German’s art project is to engage in “urban camouflage” by creating three different ghillie suits made of bulk IKEA items: piles of dishcloths, boxes, and shopping bags. Then he goes and “hides” out in the open inside the IKEA, blending in with his surroundings and only disturbing shoppers when he moves. Hilarious, brilliant! Here are the videos so you get the full effect:
Time interviewed Paco Underhill, a retail consultant and the author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, to find out how the average American consumer shops and thinks these days. Turns out, according to Underhill, there are three types of “average consumer” out there now, and—you may have noticed this already—the era of the big box retailer is in decline.
Consumers are cutting back — and the AP says that shoppers are abandoning Target for even cheaper stores. In addition, Target’s credit card division is running into trouble as shell-shocked shoppers aren’t able to pay their bills.
As pretty much every retailer imaginable aside from Walmart loses money — one chain is not only doing fine, it’s actually growing — GameStop. It seems that when the going gets tough — people just want to play video games.
The New York Times’ Bits Blog posits a terrifying idea: what if they bring back Clippy to work the floor in the new Microsoft retail stores? “It looks like you’re trying to run out of the store in disgust!” [Bits]