Yesterday I had fun in my favourite electronics shop. However, this particular fun was of the sarcastic kind - I had fun rather than actually enjoying the high calibre of service that I'd usually expect from the place. The excuse for the lack-lustre performance was that it's a newly re-opened store and a lot of the staff are new. The place was certainly busy, which is a good sign - perhaps the newly reopened shop was attracting a new clientele... or perhaps their incompetent staff were taking so long to serve that people were trapped in the shop for longer - causing a backlog.
Maybe this is a key to maximising impulse purchase? I know that I'm likely to spend more, the longer I hang around a shop which sells lots of things I might enjoy buying. Perhaps it's a good idea to provide staff that can't serve too quickly - it increases the customers' exposure to the shop and its ability to self-sell some of its products. Having said that, there's a law of diminishing returns here - if you're too incompetent, people might slam down their baskets and leave the shop in disgust. Or decide not to go back there again.
Yesterday I had two requirements which were almost entirely painful to receive service for. Question one - "how exactly do you solder to this plug?" - this warranted a painful slow-talking answer, which basically amounted to - "I've no idea, but if I open the packet and annoy you enough, you'll work it out for yourself and leave me alone". Then there was the "I'd like to buy a mirror ball" moment. I asked to see the mirror ball they had on a shelf, but I realised I wanted a bigger one. The guy didn't know how to use the computer to order me a larger one. He asked how big an area the mirror ball was to cover and then tried to tell me that the 9" ball would be enough (in my opinion, even the 12" one will be a bit small, but that's the biggest they do - however he wanted me to buy the one which was easiest for him to sell). I'm almost quoting perfectly here:
ShopMonkey This one should be fine. You see what happens, is that the light comes from here (indicating a light source), hits the ball here (indicating the ball) and then it's reflected and it travels along until it hits something. So it will go as far as you need it.
Me Thanks for explaining the basic laws of physics (smile to attenuate the harshness of the comment), but the size of the ball affects the density of the spots of light that come from it, and I want the bigger one.
ShopMonkey Thing is, I can order one, but it's in the lap of the gods - it's impossible to say when it might ever arrive.
Me That's not what I want to hear. It's hardly reliable.
ShopMonkey Well, I can tell you you'll have it next week, if that's what you want to hear, but I'll just be making it up.
Me Perhaps you give me a reasonable estimate based on how your deliveries work?
Later I was served by someone who wasn't ****ing useless and I will receive my correctly sized mirror ball on Monday. The lady in question knew more about my order than I did... thank goodness for experienced staff who have served you countless times and roll their eyes in reaction to the monkeys to show you that they feel your pain.