My luggage was lost (and I wasn’t even at an airport). I had purchased the luggage in question on Cyber Monday last year, as a holiday gift for my son. To save on shipping, I had foolishly opted to have the set delivered to my local store for me to pick up. But now, I was standing at the customer service counter in a large mall department store while a young woman (I will call her Miss Apathetic) explained that she had no idea where the newly purchased luggage had gone.
“Maybe its still at the warehouse,” she said, in a disconnected voice that hinted at a combination of annoyance, boredom, and anemia.
The tracking slip from this megastore’s website assured me that the luggage was in the building. But Miss Apathetic seemed to have no intention……or maybe no energy, to try and find it.
Miss Apathetic seemed to lack the basic skill set of a good customer service rep. In fact, her basic skill set seemed to only include the talents of yawning, eye rolling…..and pissing me off.
Whenever you shop at a large national department store, you roll the dice. On a good roll, you might be waited on by the committed enthusiastic worker who truly cares. Today at my area Acme, for example, I watched a clerk actually unload an elderly woman’s cart, ring up her purchases, bag them up and then call for another clerk to take them to her car. Now THAT was customer service! But on a bad roll, your “helper” might just be Miss Apathetic, who was too busy just staring into space to help me.
But this Holiday season, instead of rolling those dice, there is an another way…….
A few years ago, the folks at American Express came up with the idea for Small Business Saturday, https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/Shop-Small/ . On November 30th, right in the midst of that crazy shopping weekend, small business owners will be doing what they do best…..giving you a personalized shopping experience and excellent customer service! And while most of them won’t open at midnight on Thanksgiving (cause that is just crazy, admit it!), your small businesses will work hard to make you a satisfied customer! PLUS- your purchases put money back into your own community…..no CEO or share holders taking their cuts. You will be buying great stuff AND supporting your local economy!
So on Saturday November 30th, and all through the Holiday season, think about shopping Main Street instead of the Mall….shop SMALL!
To start you off, I have listed links to the South Jersey SMALL business craft shops that I love the most! These particular shops make quality handcrafted items and they can be found only at local craft shows and online. But hey, you can shop small from a laptop too!
Erin makes bohemian accessories for cool surf-minded guys and gals at https://www.etsy.com/shop/serendipityblu
Michele makes gorgeous handmade cards and paper items at https://www.etsy.com/shop/Scrapsecrets
Alison sews amazing bags and items from cast-off coffee sacks at https://www.etsy.com/shop/BackAlleyChic Go upcycling!
Jaime’s accessories are classic and “conservative glam” at https://www.etsy.com/shop/JewelrybyJaime
Kim makes cool and unusual beaded and wirework jewelry at https://www.etsy.com/shop/BEADseduction
and while this is clearly a shameless plug, here is my shop, with coasters from upcycled materials at https://www.etsy.com/shop/RoofTopCreations
Plus, LOTS of other great artisans are part of the South Jersey Etsy Team and sell their wares on the crafters marketplace website, Etsy. Just go to https://www.etsy.com/ and type in SJE …..that stands for South Jersey Etsy…..and you’ll find a gold mine of small businesses with GREAT customer service skills!
And by the way, my luggage WAS eventually found, but not before I learned a lesson…..shop small!
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