Ask the Retailaholic…
by Adam Zack — January 14, 2015
I’ve been in a long-term relationship, and I’m starting to get worried that things may be heading down the wrong road. We started out many years ago as a result of convenience. I was in a hurry to get to a party and I turned the corner and there he was. He was clean and well groomed. He was amply stocked with all of my favorite things. He was friendly, not pushy, and genuinely happy to see me. I bought a bottle of wine from his eclectic, fairly priced selection for my party, and well, I was smitten. I found myself going out of my way to stop by to see him. Twice a week lunches turned into dinners, which soon turned into weekly shopping. Next thing I knew he was wooing me with promotional offers, free cake on my birthday, and weekly specials that were just too hot to resist. Before I knew it, I moved across town just to be near him. His employees knew me by name. I felt special. I felt appreciated. I felt loved. I wouldn’t even look at another grocery store. But then things started to change. It was around the time the recession was happening. The familiar faces I was so used to seeing started to disappear. The mouth-watering deli selections started to look a little tired. The hot specials became luke-warm at best. I started to feel unloved and most importantly, unappreciated. I admit it, my eyes started to stray, even though he still had my heart. If only he would show me he still cared! Make me feel like I was the customer who meant the world to him like those early days! So, Retailaholic, here I am at a crossroads. How do I tell the store who changed my life, who warmed my soul with his chef-made soup and quenched my thirst with his icy cold craft brew that this may be the end. Can we still be friends? See each other on a casual basis? There are so many potential suitors that are pursuing me, and they are very handsome and really seem sincere.
Signed – It’s not you it’s me – no wait, it is you!
What you describe actually occurs every day, but unlike you, most people just end the relationship without telling their grocer a word. One day they are in buying a fresh, juicy peach (which turned out to be neither very fresh or juicy) and the next day they disappear. No goodbye. No “Been nice knowing you”. Nada. Zip. Zilch. They are just gone and are soon smooching in Publix or going all the way with Whole Foods. So what happened? You are right – it’s not YOU. It’s him! Your beloved grocer started taking you for granted. He forgot just how special you really were. He stopped listening, and he stopped talking to you! So is there hope? Can he change? Can he evolve with your tastes and excite and entice you for years to come? If he’s smart, and he’s reading this, it may not be too late. You may have to undergo a trial separation to show him you’re serious. If he’s smart, he’ll try and woo you back. He’ll realize that he needs to be a better retailer, that he needs to realize your relationship is one he needs to live. To keep you, he needs to anticipate your needs and desires. He needs love you not just for who you are, but because you love him! So give him another chance. He deserves that after all these years. Tell him how you feel with your most sincere customer comments. Be patient, but not too patient. If he’s serious you’ll know it, and if he’s not he’ll miss you more than you will ever know. But it will be too late.
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