Customer Service - Retail

Here am I, an elderly gentleman in the new world. How fortunate to still have my mobility and all of my senses. What a pleasure to have family barbeques, friends to meet at cafes and formal occasions such as weddings. One has to dress for the occasion and I've noticed changes in the clothing stores. Years ago my clothing needs were catered for by a family owned, very small department store. They knew the customers by name. With my wife, our first visit would be the ladies fashion. Mrs Taylor, the owner, knew me and would guide my wife to her preferred area then chat to me before getting one of her staff to walk me over to the menswear. Usually I saw Doug, Mrs Taylor's son, a personable young man. If I needed a suit, they would take my measurements and show me the latest styles with shirts, ties and shoes. They would bring my selection to a change room. The clothes were the best quality and although I could have shopped around, I wanted to give this family our patronage. I always bought the full outfit and they did their own alterations so I felt well looked after. Today, I don't know of a similar store. The clothing is designed for the young ones. The quality of the fabric is not the same and the stores feel like self-service. They don't have enough staff so I find what I want, figure out my size and find a change room myself. It's hard to locate staff to talk to other than the cashier, but they are busy putting through sales. Clothing, shoes and accessories are all in different locations. Alterations aren't done in-house, so I find an alterations business. The experience feels disconnected and impersonal. My family tell me I could shop on the internet if I knew how. The clothes would be sent to me within a week. If the size is wrong, I can go to the company's closest store for exchange or refund. Imagine Mrs Taylor or Doug shopping for themselves today. The feeling of being a valued customer, decade long relationships with the staff, leaving the store elated by the experience and appreciating the value when you're ready to go out and catch a glimpse in the mirror. Let's make the customers feel great - is that what we’ve sacrificed? For the People Series.