As we all know, there are many types of people in the world. And eventually, all of those people will wander into your shop for one reason or another. Because you never know what each person will ask when you wander up to them for a congenial chat, you have to be ready for anything. Everyone who has worked for any chunk of time in the outdoor gear retail world can probably relate to the following customer scenarios…
1.) The guy who knows everything comes in to show off and tell stories about the time a bear nearly ate him in the woods and he fought it off with his bare hands. He talks for two hours without stopping to breathe. He is dead-set convinced that his sleeping bag gets two pounds lighter when he puts it in his compression sack and squeezes the air out. He is also thoroughly convinced that he can thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in three weeks or less. (He does not seem to be aware that he is more than 100 pounds overweight.)
2.) The irrelevant phone calls that never seem to stop rolling in. (Keep in mind that these people are calling a specialty backpacking store…): Do you carry live bait? Do you stock collapsible pool tables? Fish tanks? Softball uniforms? Do you rent R.V.’s? Do you have those shirts, you know, the ones with the buttons? Do you carry oxygen tanks? When is your climbing wall open? How much is it to rent your store? Do you rent ping-pong tables? Where are you located? My GPS steered me to the wrong place…
3.) The ever present “funny line” that the customers say when the price tag is missing… “Oh, this thing doesn’t have a price tag, ha ha, it must be free…”
4.) The male customer who thinks he is a professional because he has been on a five mile hike, once, for a few hours, five to ten years ago. He says to the highly experienced female associate who has been camping all over the place, “Isn’t there a man who works here? Girls don’t know anything about camping.”
5.) The lady who doesn’t understand the product even after you have been explaining it to her in great detail for twenty minutes. She is trying to purchase a set of trekking poles with anti-shock springs in them for a weekend trip with her husband. She says, “I don’t think I need anti-shock poles because I don’t plan on hiking through electricity.” (I think this lady might need more than just trekking poles to get ready for her hike!)
(Come on, confess! You know you love retail!)
-- Hollie Rice, Backwoods - Overland Park, KS
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.