Writing Contest Example: These ski boots don't fit ya'll

A customer insists his ski boots are too small...perplexing our intrepid sales person. Through June 1, 2006, retail sales floor employees are encouraged to submit a story of survival and perseverance in the face of challenging customers. Every story will be published in SNEWS®, and 10 of those will win valuable product prizes based on the contest judges' votes. 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.
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Back in late 70’s when the ski industry was booming despite itself, I was working in a ski/rental shop in Breckenridge Colo. In those days it was common to get a large (100 to 500) school or church group of first time skiers come pouring into our store for fitting.

I remember one such day when we had a large church group of 200 or more from Texas come through our doors.

Normally we would try to personally fit each persons' boots, skis, etc., but when we got these large first-time groups, we would just set up stations and pass out each item accordingly.

I was at the boot station and had this large man come by. When I asked what size shoe, he stated 12. So I handed him a size 12 ski boot and told him go try them on and let me know how they fit.

He came back few minutes later shaking his head. “No way Jose! Way too small."

So I handed him a size 13. He came back again.

“No way Jose! Still way too small."

Curious, I took him aside, opened up the 13’s and asked him to put his foot into the boot. It didn't take more than a second to spot his fit problem. Apparently, this man was committed to his cowboy boots, because he had not removed them and was trying to stuff his feet, with the boots still on, into the ski boot.

I pointed out to him that the ski boots would certainly fit better directly over his foot with just a sock on. Once this was established, we easily got him fitted comfortably into the original size 12’s and all was good!

-- Story by: Glenn Buchan, "The Sock Guy" formally known as Director of Product Development, Socks for SmartWool

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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