Together Again?

This weekend’s shocking news of the Wal-Mart Black Friday gone terribly, sadly wrong has led to a lot of handwringing about how this economy has driven shoppers to cutthroat behavior. 

But, after from the horror of that customer stampede, this holiday season, I’m wondering if we may see a shift from the Vigilante Shopper behavior we’ve observed for years, where women war with stores that are hotbeds of bad customer service. 

Over this past week, I started my holiday shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue and Publix supermarket in Ft. Myers, Florida, as well as at two small shops in Frenchtown, New Jersey– The Studio and Pardon My French– and Schneiderwind’s farm stand on the Delaware River in PA. And here’s what I’ve noticed. This year, we’re in this together. 

At Saks, a walking-around department manager let me know how good the sales were and pointed out the best deals. Multiple reductions later, I was glowing. Publix, famous for its customer service, was even friendlier, sharing everything from cooking advice to the location of the Jack Be Little pumpkins. When the bag packer took my cart out to my car and I asked if I might tip him, he smiled, “I’d rather you didn’t.”  

At The Studio, I bought a pretty pendant lamp, brightened by their 15% off “Let It Glow” promotion. At Pardon My French, I picked up oversized jingle bells, reduced because, as store owner, Lynn Sweeney put it, “Hey, with the way things are, everybody’s looking for deals, so let’s do it.”  And Craig Schneiderwind offered to drive to my house with the leftover branches I’d forgotten after he’d trimmed them from my Frasier Fir. 

Fancy stores to farm stands, could this be a retail season when we are finally partners, not adversaries? Maybe the tide is shifting due to desperation or maybe it’s just a crisis-induced truce. Or maybe I’m just lucky to shop at happy places. But think about it. Every salesperson and proprietor you meet is in the same boat you are. They really want our business. We want to buy stuff, but need a break. Could this difficult economy, with its deathgrip on all our wallets, actually lead us to put down the gloves and (almost) enjoy shopping again?

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January 22, 2022
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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The God Box Goes Global!

“The God Box” has grown to include an app, audio book, philanthropic venture and solo show performed by Mary Lou across the US. Now The God Box Project goes global to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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