Did you ever consider the word SHOPPING? How about the SHOPPING EXPERIENCE?
Every so often I find myself in a situation where I need to find a gift for someone: a niece graduating from high school, a coworker retiring, a grandson’s wedding, a baby shower for the neighbor’s daughter, a Christmas gift for Aunt Mary, a hostess gift for a dinner party, and on and on. My guess is that you’ve all been there.
When I was younger I would talk to the clerk in a brick and mortar store if I didn’t have a clue, and I often didn’t, about what to get for this occasion or that. Times changed and the World Wide Web, later the Internet, became accessible through my desk top computer. It became possible to buy things without leaving the comfort of home. Pretty neat, but I still had to figure out what to buy. As time passed the “on line” stores began to carry a wider selection of goods, and it became easier to find a gift.
The problem I experienced was that I couldn’t hold the item in my hand, or see if it was well made or flimsy, until after I bought it and it was shipped and received. It was impossible to know if the lavender sachet was too strong, or barely scented, until after I bought it. I’m sure it has happened to someone you know as well.
Technology had given me convenience and variety, but in many ways I was still on my own and taking a risk when I was shopping on-line.
I stopped in a gift shop the other day to pick up some stamps. I had seen the Post office sign when I stopped to eat in the restaurant at the other end of the block. After lunch I decided to buy some stamps.
I heard a customer asking about a book for a grandchild and a store employee ask polite questions about the child and make suggestions. The two of them ended up laughing together about one of the books.
The employee that sold me my stamps asked if I had seen the new stamp designs that had just come out. I bought some of both and was glad that I had been shown and offered the choice.
After I pocketed my stamps I asked about a CD Album that was laying on another counter. The helpful employee took time to tell me about the artist and the theme of the disc. She also told me it had just been put on sale, 50% off, and hadn’t been marked down yet.
As I turned to leave a display of figurines caught my eye and I spent a moment or two browsing and accidentally listening to another customer thanking a different employee for helping her find a book of poetry. She talked about how pleased her father had been when she gave him the book. She said he had really enjoyed it because it reminded him of the farm he grew up on.
As I put my stamps away at home the time I had spent in the store replayed in my head. The store had given me a sense of comfort. The employees had all been helpful and friendly. There was a lot of variety. I could pick things up and ask questions. I realized I had just had one of the best shopping experiences of my life.
I’ll be shopping at Gifts To Go again, and if you would like a wonderful shopping experience as well, I’ll be looking for you there too.
Ken B, Surprise, AZ
Editor’s Note: We at Gifts To Go appreciate our customers and visitors and strive to create a fun, easy-going environment that makes people want to come back and spend time with us. We take great pride in moving our postal customers through their transactions quickly and correctly and take great joy in spending time chatting with those who aren’t in a rush. So, receiving Ken B’s letter (above) was an immense treat that we will cherish and are thankful to Ken for sharing his thoughts.
And as in all of life’s endeavors, timing is everything. We received this note on the first day of Small Business Week 2016. So, if there is a small business you appreciate for their skills, location, ambience, community focus or… please take a moment this week and let them know. And, please remember artists, authors and musicians are small businesses, too.