Holiday Shopping: In The Trenches

It’s shopping season! Not really but it feels like that sometimes. The holiday spirit hasn’t hit me yet, so I went to the mall, hoping for inspiration. After a few hours in the trenches, AKA the mall, a few things occurred to me.

How to lose my business

  1. have discounts so enormous, I realize you’ve been gouging me all year.
  2. have amazing discounts, but require me to produce a paper coupon, I’ve torn out of one of your mailers.
  3. not hire enough staff to service your customers.
  4. allow your changing room floors or carpets to be so dirty, I won’t remove my shoes to try things on.
  5. have huge lines to take my money and several registers unmanned.

How to win my business

  1. teach your employees to smile at customers and be polite.
  2. offer price matching so I don’t have to race back and forth all over town, to get the best price.
  3. open early and close late so I can try to avoid crowds.
  4. offer a decent return policy that accounts for after holiday gift returns.


I consider these factors all year-long but it feels more important this time of year. Time is short, people are rushing around but I need to enjoy the shopping experience, not just the item. How about you?

Do you care or will you shop anywhere that has what you want?


  1. Customer service is so important. We were downtown on Queen West, an area known for small independent shops where the owners know you when you come in the door. I love that place. I was saddened to hear that one of the best vintage stores in Toronto that has been there for over 60 years will be closing its doors due to lack of customers. Too many people shopping online. It’s such a shame. Soon there will be no interaction between people and drones will drop everything at our door. I’m nostalgic for small neighbourhoods with interesting shops and store owners that care.


  2. I do a lot of online shopping but during the holidays (the most crazy time of year), I like to shop in stores. I agree with all of these, especially the customer service piece!

    Doused In Pink

    1. Customer service is the only reason to shop in person :)!

  3. Regina L. L. Wells says:

    Well said! I like your perspective. Those are the some of the same things that aggravate me when shopping. Hopefully, you’ll get into the Chriatmas spirit, though. ?? Happy Friday!

    1. Thanks Regina. The closet I get the better my holiday spirit 🙂

  4. I’m picky. I do a lot of online shopping or go to little boutiques as I can’t stand the mall or big box experience.

    1. It is painful Jen. Sometimes I just have to succumb and I almost always regret it.

  5. I’m with you. And I am quite vocal to staff in stores where I shop. Not rude…just honest about why I’m staying to shop. Or leaving. And most of what makes me stay is service. I won’t shop again at a J Crew here in Ottawa because in the three times I’ve been there, the service has been abysmal. And next door at Aritzia it’s the opposite. So guess who gets my business.
    I worked in retail years ago. And I know it’s a tough job this time of year. But a positive attitude in staff can be fostered by management. Respect their workers, value them and make that store a fun place to work. It’s not rocket science.
    Just my two cents:)

    1. Your 2 cents are always right on the money 🙂 This is the hardest time of year to work in retail. I know from experience too!

  6. annie vanderven says:

    I shop mostly at Lord and taylor now , living in the East Coast, they have the best service and quality clothing, well for older ladies like me!!! of course they also cater to the younger crowds and the quality is what you find everywhere else….. Having worked years ago in the fashion industry, now talk about a different environment…I also feel that how you treat the sales personnel has a lot to do with how you will be treated… As for sales etc… In this fast market turnover it is essential,unfortunately it is the beast driving the clothing industry… and everything else….

    I am french and I don’t know if you have been there, shopping is an experience not to be missed… When you enter a boutique don’t touch anything without the salesclerk,otherwise you will get withering looks and smiles are not included etc… in America you are so free to touch without being annoyed!!! Love this attitude.

    Wishing a good holiday shopping experience..

    Annie v.

    1. Thanks Annie. It is a very different environment in France. People who are rude to sales clerks have no class. I’ve been on the other side of the counter and know it’s tough to serve the public.

  7. I worked in retail sales for many years and this is what I’ve learned. I absolutely kill these people with kindness, smiles and patience. It doesn’t always work but at least I’ll know I’ve tried. Then I come home and mix myself a Pomtini.

    1. I learned the same thing in retail Connie:). Wasn’t it fun?

    1. I don’t want to do it often. But sometimes I just need to.

  8. Dear Jennifer, I am so sorry to hear of your latest health issues, it feels never ending sometimes, I know!
    Plus, I agree with you completely about shipping, and that is why I am doing a lot of shopping online. I hope you will check out my site, you will love this collection! http://www.indiahicks.com/rep/karenalbert

    The Arts by Karena

    1. Thanks so much Karena. I love the India Hicks line.

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