St. Louis Retail: the good, the bad and the ugly

I spent the past few days with Samantha and Hazel in St. Louis. We were visiting my longtime buddy and business partner John.

We had a great trip and accomplished a lot of fun stuff (dining out, talking, playing) as well as some serious work (computer & server installation, house planning, etc.) One thing that really struck me though was how poorly St. Louis retail locations were performing.

Service at Best Buy, Target, Old Navy and several other places was very lacking compared to Springfield MO or Tulsa OK. Maybe it was the snow, or maybe it was just a bad day, but customer service was not priority #1 for any of those places.

Best Buy in particular was at the bottom of the service arena. We were looking for a particular product and┬ásalespeople┬áwere not to be found. We decided to head to the service desk where it then took about 5 minutes to be helped (there was one other customer there and no line). John waited in line while I looked. Apparently there was a lively discussion about tacos and what people had for lunch, but not much service. Likewise, there was one poor woman working at the checkout area while customers waited… yet four employees (2 blue shirts and 2 yellow shirts [managers?]) stood around at the entrance chatting (not greeting customers, just chatting).

I understand that retail electronics is not a fun environment to work in, and I do not mean to disparage or begrudge Best Buy or its employees. It was simply an example of non-motivated service and it made us pretty unlikely to return to that particular store.

Restaurants on the other hand fared much better. The food was good and the service was great. Imo’s, Pei Wei, Burger King, and especially┬áChevy’s┬áwere all delicious and the service was wonderful. It makes me very happy that the USA has a tradition of tipping servers when it comes to dining. So that┬áexemplary┬áservice can be┬áduly┬árewarded.┬á[interesting note: in some well know &┬ápopulous┬ácountries like Japan, China, Spain it is not customary to leave tips for restaurant servers…]

Finally, there was really nothing ugly about the trip except for the accidents due to the snow. In our excursions around the city we saw at least six accidents of varying severity. Thankfully, all of them looked like no one was seriously injured.

I always enjoy visiting St. Louis and I would like to thank John for being such a gracious host, thanks so much amigo!

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