shop talk

30 October, 2012
Page 44 

Convenience stores have a lot to live up to by their very names ie everything about them needs to be convenient. So that includes their location, their store layout, their range, their service you get the picture. But do you think your customers expect too much from you or have you got it just about right?

I ask because the other day Mr West and I happened to be in a convenience store together. What a coincidence I hear you cry! What are the odds? Anyway it doesn't happen that often. So we wandered around picking up bits here and there and then made our way to the till.

Mr West was horrified at some of the prices this convenience store was charging. Although he's not usually hot on prices, he does know how much a 500ml bottle of Coke and a packet of Walkers cheese & onion costs. I patiently explained that he was paying for the 'convenience'. He did not really get it and just thought the retailer was a rip-off merchant!

Anyway, as the cashier totted up our items, I realised we needed a bag. But we were not offered one. I paid then enquired about a bag. The cashier looked a little bashful and said they were 10p. Ten pence for a bag. For some reason, I thought this was a disgrace and decided not to pay for it and instead, we picked up all the items and balanced them precariously as we made our way to the car.

Now, to be honest, 10p is neither here nor there but it just seemed a lot for a piffling little bag. I even said that M&S gives you the choice of a 10p one or a cheaper one.

But, and it's a big but, this particular cashier said that he'd stopped offering carrier bags to customers because they always complained about the price and it was embarrassing to say the least.

Now this was a Spar store and I don't know whether it is Spar policy to charge 10p for bags or whether this individual independent retailer had his or her own policy of charging 10p per bag.

Whichever it was, this does not fit with my definition of a convenience store.

It was inconvenient to carry our shopping loose, so to speak. And obviously other shoppers felt the same.

I think this retailer was wrong in inconveniencing his customers. Dare I ask what you think?





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