I Should Have Known (Top 10 Finalist)

“Excuse me, but would you answer a couple questions about GPS’s?” the middle-aged man asked. “Sure”, I said. What I was thinking though, was “damn, not exactly my strong suit!” I looked around trying to be as casual as possible, hoping I’d locate a staffer who had more experience in the digital world. No such luck. Everyone in the vicinity of the front counter were recent hires with little experience or training on our selection of instruments.
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“Excuse me, but would you answer a couple questions about GPS’s?” the middle-aged man asked.

“Sure”, I said. What I was thinking though, was “damn, not exactly my strong suit!” I looked around trying to be as casual as possible, hoping I’d locate a staffer who had more experience in the digital world. No such luck. Everyone in the vicinity of the front counter were recent hires with little experience or training on our selection of instruments.

“Is there a particular model you’re interested in?” I asked.

“Maybe those”, he said, pointing at a couple of Brunton models from here in Wyoming.

Then it dawned on me: my son, Hayden, age ten, was in the backyard tending to our strip of “lawn”. A couple weeks earlier he had used his hard-earned money to purchase a one!

“I’m somewhat familiar with them but let me get someone out here that knows them much better.”

I made my way to the back of the shop. “Hey, Hayden, do you mind coming out here…there’s a fellow interested in GPS’. Maybe you can answer his questions.”

“Sure, Dad.” He looked stoked. Anything was better than mowing, especially showing his Dad and the rest of the crew a thing or two about something “computerized”.

“Sir, I’ll have someone out here in a moment to help…”

As Hayden confidently strode out onto the sales floor the customer looked at me with an expression that said it all: ”I should have known…”

No different than figuring out how to use a new VCR or running a Powerpoint program…just ask a ten year old.

by Phil Leeds

Through July 1, retail sales staff answered the contest call to submit a story of survival and perseverance in the face of challenging customers. The story titles with summaries that made the first round of qualifications are listed below, and each is now in the hands of our judges to decide on the top 10. You can read each story in its entirety by going to the contest landing page -- click here.

Ten lucky story writers will each win over $1,000 in product prizes based on the contest judges' votes. Here is where you come in! Of those 10, one will be named the grand prizewinner, cashing in on a trip for two to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2007. Three others will be named official "honorable mentions," and in addition to the valuable prizes, each will receive a gift certificate that can be redeemed toward attendance at an Outdoor Industry Association-sponsored event, such as Outdoor University, Mountain Sports Festival or the OIA Rendezvous. The grand prize winner will be announced at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006. We will determine the grand prize winner and the three runner up winners based on popular vote (sorry judges) -- those among the top ten receiving the most votes win, it's that simple. This is for store pride, for knowing you have a winner amongst you, so vote as often as you like. Tell your friends. Tell your friends friends. Tell your dog -- but only if he can work a computer keyboard.

Deadline for voting is August 1, 2006.Click here to register your vote now!

Did you miss out on this year's contest? Bummer, but no worries. If you haven't already done so, outdoor retail staff can get ready for next year by activating a subscription now at www.snewsnet.com/freeretail/snewsarticle-contest.html. Then, watch your SNEWS® for announcements calling for our next contest entries and get ready to be a winner.

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