How to Get a One-Star Rating

You all know that I love to tell tales about my retail and other experiences, right? This one’s a doozy…

Because I am the best wife ever, I got my husband a snowboarding trip for Christmas this year. In preparing for the trip he discovered that he needed new snowboarding boots. We happen to live in an abundant retail paradise with no fewer than three sporting goods stores within two miles of each other, so we figured we were golden—we’d load up the girls, go buy some boots, and head out to a late dinner. I won’t name names here; (rhymes with Click’s and Mort’s Authoriny) were a disaster. I am not going to recap all the horrors that ensued, I am simply going to encapsulate ways that, if you have the will, you can really scare off customers, alienate potential new customers, and guarantee that your bricks and mortar presence come into immediate danger of extinction. These are in no particular order.

  1. Ignore new customers all together. You are so engrossed in the conversation that you and three of your coworkers are having that you couldn’t possibly be bothered to acknowledge the existence of someone who has money in his pocket and is ready to give it to you. Smooth.
  2. The layout of your store should make no sense. Winter gear next to golf stuff. Racquetball rackets next to energy bars. Your space looks like it was designed and is maintained by monkeys. And that is really not fair to monkeys. I know a few with a real flair for design.
  3. Under no circumstances should your signage be accurate, consistent, or reflect what is on the actual shelf. Even better, when the client reluctantly brings something to the counter, you should tell them that not only is it not on clearance as the signage suggests, but that the item is actually scanning higher than the printed manufacturer’s suggested price. But you’ll offer to do the client a huge favor and honor the price printed on the box. You are a swell guy and a shrewd businessman!
  4. This one is vital. You MUST act like not only do you not need or want anyone’s business; you should actively behave as if to repel anyone with a legitimate need or money to spend. Bonus points to you if you print out fliers directing your clients to on-line retailers, or your competent competition like REI (who by the way is 30 minutes away and twice as expensive)

And next week we will pick up where I am leaving off with REI, and how to score a five-star rating while charging twice as much.

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  • aspireforbill

    Man, am I glad to know that somebody else has bad customer service experiences! Kelly, I thought I was ground zero for this kind of thing. Does Mass know that you went through all of this just be the best wife ever?

  • Kevin Keane

    Great post Kelly !

    And as we have the two thinly veiled sports retailers in my burg too, I know exactly of what you write (and made me laugh in the reading too!)

    As more printers come to grips with w2p and the perils of e-commerce or even mobile commerce, I think they may have to start to pay closer attention to the retail mindset. If they have a company Facebook page for example, they will likely have to make sure someone monitors it 24 / 7 to handle with grace and aplomb the occasional brickbats that will come.

    Even something like a post on a comment wall like this one needs watching. Yesterday I ran across a Linked In discussion thread that seemed to start off innocently enough but then it turns into a very mean screed against Braden-Sutphin Ink – I am going to send it to Jim Leitch, CEO, as I think he needs to know about it and handle it as he will.

    On Tuesday I saw that Publishing Executive magazine was enlivening their February print edition with Layar’s Augmented Reality. The blurb ( on a Board identical to this one) was well written, enticing, and referenced a link to a Pinterest page where you could learn more about the creative process of using A/R, and it referenced a link to a video of the editor talking about the process and how it can help magazines.

    The Pinterest link works fine, but it doesn’t have the video, so I posted a glowing attaboy statement in a comment box just like this one, and asked if some one could tell me where to find the video as I wanted to share both the blurb, the Pinterest page link and the video on my social networks — so far no reply, and I get that folks are busy, but this is why at the Vision 3 Summit a year ago, I asked how many print company honchos had a chief social media officer ( maybe 2 did) and I forecast that in a years time, more and more printers will see that they have to monitor the face of their firm, they have to think like a retailer, police the storefront, wash the virtual windows, see what folks are saying about you both positive and negative and respond.

    It’s a new cost burden, but if you don’t mind the internet image, well at what cost?

    My 2 cents, can’t wait for the REI installment! Good on ya, Wife of the Century!