Poor Marketing Decisions

Dear Not-As-Funky-As-You-Think-You-Are Local Music and Movie Store,
I visited your store today. My husband and I were out for a wander on a Sunday afternoon, ready to spend money on stuff that we like, and we popped in to see if there was anything that we might like to purchase in your establishment.

The first thing we noticed when we walked through the doors was that you take the ‘music’ side of your business VERY seriously. And by ‘seriously’ I mean playing the overhead music so loud that I couldn’t hear what my husband was saying to me, even when he put his mouth up to my ear. And by ‘music’ I mean a composition that appeals to about 3% of modern western listeners, and is composed of a very dominant beat and some discordant notes.

Now, my husband and I are both pretty keen on CDs and DVDs, and, being of dual income and having no kids, regularly indulge in the purchase of them, so we were pretty likely potential customers. However, after we had been in your store for about 30 seconds the vein in the side of my head was pulsing to the beat of your ‘music’ and my thoughts ceased to occur in logical patterns.

I half-heartedly (and futilely as it turned out) searched for an item that I thought I would like to own – no luck (aside: How hard can it be to carry an incredibly popular [in a cult-fashion-like way] Showtime series?). At this point I was barely thinking straight due to my ears trying, and failing, to process what was blasting through your loudspeakers. To illustrate – I backed into something soft behind me to make way for a sales assistant moving past and it took me about 30 seconds to register that I may have blithely run into an actual human (nope, it was a stand of t-shirts).

I couldn’t even think what else I might like to buy, and there was certainly no way I would be able to get an understandable response from an assistant to any requests for…well…assistance, so there was nothing left but to complain to my husband – loudly – that I couldn’t think and that I had to get out of there, so I did. I left a store that, theoretically, wanted to sell me something which I had wanted to buy (if I’d been able to think I could prob’ly have found half-a-dozen things to purchase).

A minute or two later my husband joined me outside the store with his single purchase – a cheap CD. He told me that he’d had the following conversation with the sales assistant who had rung up the sale:

Sales Assistant: fleeble farble atch it?
Husband: Sorry? I can’t hear you…
SA (yelling and mouthing clearly): Do. you. need. to. buy. a. CD. scratch. kit?
H: Aaahh…no thanks, just the CD thanks.
SA: OK…darby durgle fornication?
H: Sorry?
SA: Do. you. like. Californication?
H: Oh, no, not interested thanks.
SA (enunciating): You. can. pre-order. Californication. if. you. would. like.
H: No, really, no, thanks anyway, not interested, just the CD please…

After my husband relayed this conversation to me I had to wonder if you were trying to ‘upsize’ us, McDonalds-style. In order for further retail interaction with your store to be a vague possibility we had to enjoy the experience leading up to the – entirely-out-of-the-blue-and-unrelated-to-our-purchase – ‘upsizing’ suggestion. Perhaps if you train your staff to create an environment conducive to inducing your customer to spend time browsing; to be receptive and available to answer questions; and to offer suggestions vaguely related to our current purchase (and, thus, our taste and style), then, maybe, we might like to come back.

Yours sincerely,
Mrs Aili Caradoc


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