Thursday, February 1, 2007

How Not to Run a Department Store

During the holiday season, I received a shirt and some gloves that didn't fit me, so I took them back to the store where they were bought, Boscov's. I hadn't been there in years and now I know why.

Here's my basic review of this shopping adventure:
  • Atmosphere: Generally drab and messy. I understand the holidays are over and stores are recovering, but at least attempt to look neat. Grade: C-
  • Selection: Again, the holiday season probably ravaged stock, but they had a narrow selection of a wide range of stuff. My advice... Stick to what you sell well and don't try to be everything to everybody. Grade: C-
  • Salespeople: The two that I spoke to were pleasant, but overall nobody gave a hello unless I approached them. But I'll give them the benefit of doubt that they're probably tired of working in such a tired store and at least weren't rude. Grade: B
  • Prices: Generally things seemed pretty reasonable, but this is also a result of clearing out from the holidays. Boscov's always runs bizarre discounts like cashier roulette or something or other that I don't really get. But for $40 I got a nice scarf and my wife-to-be got some shoes and a photo album. (I actually had a $50 voucher but couldn't even find a way to spend all of it.) Grade: A-
  • Registers: The cash registers looked like they were from a 1980's cyber thriller where the Russians are attacking the U.S. and we get a glimpse of the futuristic gadgets that will help save the country from missile assaults. In other words, they were 50 pound calculators. Not to mention the fact that we had to pay for shoes in the shoe department and not at another register with everything else. Annoying. Grade: F
  • Odds and Ends: The "electronics" section was an insult to all things electronic. For example, they had a "2 band radio" that looked like it had been in the store since 1972. The thing was the size of a brick and the packaging exclaimed: "Pocket sized". Meanwhile the sporting goods section was rather deflated with the bare bones of athletic items. Oh, and the men's clothing department had a video running on a small monitor. It was playing on a VCR and was set on loop so at the end of the tape you see it rewinding. I mean really. Grade: D
I really have a hard time complaining about stores I go to because I know from experience that there's a lot involved in keeping it in good shape and there's a lot of competition out there that's always looking to one-up you. But this particular Boscov's was hurtin' big time. If I ever make it back there to redeem the rest of my 10 bucks on my gift card, I'll give you an update. Hopefully the next report will be a little more upbeat.

But I will say that I have gotten two compliments on my scarf. Sadly, that's more than I can say about the store, however.

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