If you’re reading this, you probably have an email address. If you have an email address, you most likely have a phone or computer upon which you check that email. If you have a phone or computer with access to the internet, and I’m going waaaaaay out on a limb here, you may have purchased something online. There are lots of businesses, large and small, that would like you to stop buying things online and go back to buying things in stores. Get into your car, deplete gas, expend time, march yourself into a store, select your item, traverse to the cash register and engage with a human (in larger stores, it may be a self-checkout machine), and purchase your item. I’ve heard countless people say that it’s easier to just click one button online and have everything delivered to your door. When I shop online, it’s not because I find it easier. I find it more humane.
In my experience, most online retailers are winning the customer service race. For example, the manager of a women’s clothing store near my house illustrates the dictionary definition of the word snide. I will do every possible thing in my power to not actually shop in that store because each time I go in and she’s working, she’s either rude to me or another customer. I’ve heard her warning other employees about me that they better, “Watch out,” because, “She always uses discount certificates.” In an athletic apparel store I used to frequent, I was getting ready to leave after not making a purchase that day and the employee, while waiting on another customer yelled from behind the register, “Oh my gosh, I never thought it would happen; you were actually able to come in here and leave without buying anything.”
When I shop online, I’m not shammed for using coupons or leaving the site without buying anything. In fact, some sites have great programmers who have written algorithms to notice that I’ve put something in my shopping cart and left the site so I’ll get an email with a discount code for that item. **There are some who think that’s creepy and a little “big brother” but I’m not doing anything wrong so it’s doesn’t bother me so much.** When I shop online, if something goes wrong, I send an email and the vast majority of the time, the people helping me are polite, kind, and generally do whatever is in their power to make it right. I walk away feeling like a valued customer.
I’m sure there are countless reasons for the state of brick-and-mortar and online retail in this day and age, but I think there’s a lesson in humanity here. All of us (every. single. one. of. us.) have some broken thinking. Many of us already know we have this broken thinking. The scary thing to me is that the people who don’t know they have broken thinking aren’t even open to the possibility. The people who know, don’t care. I feel like we live in a time where we are so stuck in ourselves. We are like turtles who refuse to come out of their shells. We have our heads stuck so far inside, we can’t see the light and we are getting a little too used to the dark. We live under the crazy illusion that if we stay in our shells, we will be safe. NEWS FLASH: shells are strong, but they aren’t indestructible and when you are ripped from yours one day, the bright light is going to keep you squinting for a long time.
I have zero advice or ideas coming out of this train of thought.
What are you thinking?
Think. Elevate. Connect.