There is ALWAYS one... and you know it

There are things that make me sad, things that make me mad.

SAD

  • You are in a hurry, driving slightly over the limit in the right-hand lane and then you come up against someone cruising at just under the limit in front of you – and they don’t budge: there is always one.
  • You type a comment on Facebook and make a typo. Someone jumps on to correct it: there is always one.
  • You are shopping in a hurry and pick the Express lane. You land behind the person with 20 items in the basket: there is always one.

Those are all the negative experiences and problems.

Fortunately the universe does not discriminate; and the same rule applies to positive experiences and solutions as well.

  • Your week-long holiday may rain out, but there is always one sunny day.
  • For all the grumpy customers in the world, there is always one who will smile when they see you.
  • And most importantly, for all the retail formats that are struggling there is always one that is doing exceptionally well.
For all the problems you face, there are a thousand obstacles to finding a solution – but there is always one.

There IS always one. All we have to do is to find it.

It is easier said than done, and you are not going to find the answer here. But what I can share with you why the answer is so hard to find.

I was talking to a retailer the other day, and the conversation – after a long time allowing him to vent - went something like this:

Retailer: ‘It is the competition man. Everybody is undercutting each other.’

Me: ‘You can’t control the competition, so stop worrying about them. Focus on your business.’

(This repeats several times.)

Retailer: ‘But the customers don’t want to pay, they just want the cheapest thing and they always argue about price.’

I point out that none of the things you are wearing is the cheapest thing, if price was the only thing then there would only one survivor in every retail category, that customers seek value not merely ‘cheap’ and so forth.

(This repeats several times.)

Then I make some suggestions; and the discussion goes something like this:

Me: ‘Instead of selling that, why don’t you sell this?’

Retailer: ‘That wouldn’t work because…’

Me: ‘Instead of selling it that way, why don’t you sell it like this?’

Retailer: ‘That wouldn’t work because…’

Me: ‘Instead of getting it from there, why don’t you get it from there?’

Retailer: ‘That wouldn’t work because….’

 See where I am going with this?

This particular retailer has been in the (same) business for 17 years. He owns only that one business. He is doing what he did 17 years ago, and the store functions exactly as it always has.

He knows it is not working. But the stock response – his DEFAULT – position to every possible solution is to find a reason why it would not work. I don’t know what his solution is (he is not a client) but I know two things for sure:

  1. There is a solution.
  2. He will never find it.

And those are the things that make me sad.

MAD

Then there are the things that make me mad:

I walked up to a Patisserie the other day to order a bunch of snacky foods for a casual breakfast meeting. You know the sort of thing: a few pastries, a couple of muffins and a few pies. The order wouldn’t have come to $100 but still a bit larger than the average sale.

The sales person (I can’t really call her a sales person, but you know what I mean) responded as follows: ‘Sorry, we don’t do platters.’

Seriously?

You can’t pop into a supermarket and buy a $2 plastic tray and pop a few snacks on it? You can’t think of any way you could maybe make this happen even if I am giving you 3 days’ notice? Maybe bring a freaking tray from home and just make it happen?

I am pretty sure if I spoke to the manager or the owner, they would complain about the competition and the way customers only want the cheapest stuff. And if he or she did I would be too mad to listen because you really just get what you deserve.