During the past week or so, I’ve been in two drugstores. Both times someone called out to me with a hearty “Welcome to _______.” It happened again when I stopped in a home improvement store.   It seems the Walmart greeter idea has spread. I was going to say it’s become contagious but that would be a less-than-subtle way of sharing my opinion of this practice.

Don’t get me wrong; I adore good customer service. But I think some/many stores of all types and sizes are using the welcome instead of providing the type of help a customer really needs.
When I walk into a store, I’m thinking about the errand I need to do. Once I circle around the item I need, that’s when I may need someone to help me. Typically, that’s also when no one is around. I’ve begun to feel that the greeter is designed to trick me into thinking the store is providing customer service when really it’s a personnel version of lip service. 
I do admit to a lack of consistency on this topic, as I also don’t like being ignored. So, what do I want? 
·      I want a salesperson to notice when I’m scanning a section and then to ask me if I need help. 
·      I want someone to say “Let me know if you need help” and then I want to be able to find that person when I do.
·      I want a salesperson to be honest when he/she doesn’t know and to take the initiative to find someone who does.
I had a wonderful experience recently with that last point. I was in Flyleaf Books and I had picked out a selection for my son. I didn’t have full confidence in my choices so I asked for some feedback when I took them to the register. A shout-out to Sally, who told me that wasn’t her area of expertise and asked me if I had the time for her to take them back to an expert. Not only was Sally respectful of my time; she didn’t take the easy way out on the book reviews. I would have absolutely believed her if she’d told me they were all the best books ever. 
In that short story is the nugget of what this Savvy Spender wants from retailers and service providers: respect. I don’t need or want a cheery hello when it’s not backed by real service. Another example of respect is one told by fellow Chapelboro-ean Fred Black about an experience at Grimball Jewelers: Fred needed a repair on a school ring. Berkeley Grimball didn’t take his money. Instead he reminded Fred the work would be included under the ring maker’s lifetime warranty. Respect for our time and our money is what brings back my business!
What about you? Have you had any experiences that have bonded you to a retailer or a service provider? Where are you a customer – for- life? Write to me at Donnabeth@Chapelboro.com or leave a comment below so everyone can benefit from your recommendation!