Archive for August 11th, 2008

So how did you spend your weekend?

The lack of reading posts has a simple answer. I got married. My partner Amanda and I decided Sunday (Aug 3)  that 8.8.08 seemed like a good day to get married.  It turned out that a lot of other folks felt the same!

Friday August 8 ’08 was the busiest day for weddings for 10 years in BC!  The pastor we knew was on holiday. After lots of dialing (hey I am the head-set guy) I found a marriage commissioner. She only had two weddings that day – “if you can have it at 3 PM and not take too long, I can squeeze you in”. My cousins offered their view patio on the  New West Quay (They could be home by 2). We both had busy work mornings booked. Things were looking up.

The sequence of events was sort of like that prisoner statement, ” Nothing like facing a firing squad at dawn to make you focus on your last dinner.”  (forgive me)

Marriage license – check (but someone needs to talk to the BC vital statistics about their redundant web services with a brutal implementation of Adobe Forms).

Rings- a lesson – one shopping mall, eight stores (mostly chains)- I was a motivated buyer (not a wide range of sales approaches- mostly poor to terrible).   Only one sales guy (Chinese)  gave us the right answers, no pressure, just a lot of yes we can do that, by that time, and in 90 minutes – the buy was done – fair price and I made no ask for a discount – he earned the deal.

Flowers – Do people not want the business? Just because we were not booking this a year in advance should not diminish the value of our dollar. Three stores – closed, in the middle of the day?  People, this was cash in the drawer this week. My faith in Canadian retail salesmanship, never high, was disappearing.  Eventually a small Chinese grocery store – florist (little bit of everything)- was johnny on the spot with exactly what we needed.

Dress- The dressmaker was home in the Balkins, so it was the local Chinese alterer who stepped up to the plate!  She finished 3 hours before the ceremony.  Another under promise over deliver service person.  A back-up dress was found after much searching in the major ladies retailers – finally in a marked down section. Amanda was very happy with her find (It will be stunning on the next cruise formal night) , yet dismayed at the decay in fashion retailing. Unless you want to look like Amy Winehouse or a high school prom queen,  in what used to be “good” stores, any search is disappointing. It’s not only the new owners of the Bay that have a huge task ahead of them.

Guests – My sons were all working – Joel in New Zealand made four days notice tough. Kyle was catering two weddings,  which had been booked a year in advance ( With nine days notice he could have worked around it).  But the youngest and oldest (Brock and Michael)  put in early shifts and were able to watch their Dad get married, and do the pics ( My sister, Marni, canceled her trip to the Okanagan (She was married 7.7.07).

Feast?  What else than a well written up Asian restaurant. Green Basil Thai. Great service, friendly staff and delicious flavors.

A sales  lesson in this?

I think that deteriorating Canadian sales skills- retail sample- are a problem. If we did not have an influence from immigrants who want to do well for the customer, we would have no service culture at all. This is more than a productivity problem Prime Minister Harper, it is an attitude problem.  Serving customers to their full satisfaction is a simple but tremendous skill, that some “Canadians” seem to have put aside. Do they  lack the desire to do it? I think so.

Any wonder why so many of us shop in the US?  Yet,  Canadian consumers put up with our lack of service in Canada.  Maybe it is time to put the wallet back in your pocket and demand a few things. In the US, consumers refuse to pay as much as we do for cars, as well as meat, dairy and other products – and their retailers still compete on service.  If you do not ask for better – you deserve what you get.

I will be back to my regular programming shortly, just a  little right of Attilla the Hun.

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