I've been telling friends - and anyone else who will listen - about what a great time I had shopping for a battery charger at Best Buy.
I was greeted by several employees, got help from a knowledgeable clerk, made it through checkout easily and was on my way back to work before I knew it.
Which is so fabulous. And kind of sad.
At many stores, I am ignored.
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No smile. No hello. No "How may I help you?"
And from me, no sale.
It's common sense, but now a survey quantifies it: A bad experience with a salesclerk is the biggest reason a shopper stops shopping at a store.
According to the study, being unable to find a store clerk causes retailers to lose about 6 percent of their business.
Being ignored by salesclerks drives away 3 percent of shoppers.
The bottom line is that shopping isn't so much about buying a shirt or washing machine or a can of paint, it's about the experience.
Where to go? Here are some stores where I've experienced consistently good service:
- Trader Joe's: Just walking in reduces my stress level - and it's not just because I know I'll be walking out with a bottle of the $2.99 Charles Shaw wine! The employees are so incredibly helpful and upbeat. If you buy something you don't like, Trader Joe's will give you your money back. On top of that: The prices tend to be good! To find a store: www.traderjoes.com
- Neiman Marcus: Whether you're buying something at full price - or on deep discount during the store's legendary Last Call sales - Neiman Marcus treats everyone the same way: fabulously. Every shopper gets a clean, spacious fitting room. Every shopper gets the help he or she needs. Every shopper feels important. To find a store: www.neimanmarcus.com
- The housewares and china department at the Oakland Mall Macy's in Troy, Mich.: Even when they're swamped with shoppers, the clerks are helpful and friendly. I bought two extremely discounted crystal vases, and the clerk was as excited about the fabulous deal as I was! To find a store: www.macys.com