I needed dog food, four wood screws to fix a wobbly table, a few basics at the grocery store - and all I had was an hour for these errands.
Since I'm a merchant, you'd think I would take my time and see how other stores do business. Nope, not me. I cannot stand waiting in line. I hate searching the aisles. And when I'm done, I want out. A shopper I am not.
Still, there are a few things I just don't get about retailing these days.
At the pet store, I lugged a forty-pound bag of dog food up to the counter because I don't want to track down one of the shopping carts left scattered around the parking lot. I waited in line with a bag of rawhide in one hand and the dog food slung over my shoulder. By the time I got to the counter, I was sweating.
"Do you have a rewards card?" the clerk inquired.
I searched my wallet for the card that is a ticket to nothing. I've never gotten any rewards from that store. They've never thrown me - or my dog - so much as a bone.
"Would you like to donate your change to the Rescue Dogs of America?"
Now, I'm sure Rescue Dogs does wonderful work, but I don't know anything about the organization. Does the money actually go to the dogs - or to support some swanky fundraising operation? I declined politely. The cashier shot me a dirty look that accused me of being a dog-hater.
At the hardware store, I found the screws. I had the sixty cents ready.
"Do you have our rewards card?" the clerk asked. That stumped me. She offered to look it up, pecking away at her keyboard patiently entering every phone number I've ever had without finding a single record of me. She offered to sign me up. I declined. As I left, she was scowling.
Racing against time, I hurried into the grocery store for the bare necessities: bananas, ice cream, OJ. I hit the express line only to find an older couple who apparently were stocking up for nuclear winter - and they had to write a check.
My bill turned out to be $3.80 more than I'd calculated. "If you don't have our saver's card, then you don't get the sale price," the clerk told me. I couldn't find the card, so I asked her to help me out. That annoyed her. She went searching for a supervisor, who grumbled but gave me a break.
I finished my errands feeling unwelcome and unappreciated. I vowed to go back to our showroom and thank every customer who came in the door. Heck, I'll even carry your purchases out to your car - and give you a friendly wave as you leave. I'll never forget: we are lucky to have you at FCG. And you don't need a special card to get that special treatment from us.