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Imaginary African Safari…

Sometimes it helps to play crazy. At least, sometimes there are good things that come from acting just like your customer. A perfect example of this would be this spry old lady who comes to our store to buy gear for a safari that she's been perpetually "leaving to go on in a week".



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Sometimes it helps to play crazy. At least, sometimes there are good things that come from acting just like your customer. A perfect example of this would be this spry old lady who comes to our store to buy gear for a safari that she’s been perpetually “leaving to go on in a week”.

The last time we saw her was 3 months ago, when she needed a pair of sandals that would “keep her comfortable in Africa next week”. She came back later with the same sandals, still unopened and in the box complaining that they were “too sad, the color isn’t happy at all!”.

Always eager to please, and with a “customer service” grin plastered on my face, I offered to help her find a “bright, happy color.” We went back to the sandals, and I helped her find a pair of sandal hybrids which were so hideously colored that they alone were on sale, out of all of the colors in that style that we stocked. Only a crazy person could like them – and of course, she did.

“They’re perfect! They’re so much better than boring green, they make me happy!”

I went along with her madness, grinning and nodding like I couldn’t be more pleased that she found a pair of shoes to trek through her imagination in. Perhaps we’ll see her next week as she further prepares for the trip she’s going on “next week”.

Then again, maybe she’ll actually go.

— Jeremy Spencer, Massey’s Professional Outfitters – Baton Rouge, LA


Through July 1, retail sales staff answered the contest call to submit a story of survival and perseverance in the face of challenging customers. The story titles with summaries that made the first round of qualifications are listed below, and each is now in the hands of our judges to decide on the top 10. You can read each story in its entirety by going to the contest landing page — click here.

Ten lucky story writers will each win over $1,000 in product prizes based on the contest judges’ votes. Here is where you come in! Of those 10, one will be named the grand prizewinner, cashing in on a trip for two to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2007. Three others will be named official “honorable mentions,” and in addition to the valuable prizes, each will receive a gift certificate that can be redeemed toward attendance at an Outdoor Industry Association-sponsored event, such as Outdoor University, Mountain Sports Festival or the OIA Rendezvous. The grand prize winner will be announced at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006. We will determine the grand prize winner and the three runner up winners based on popular vote (sorry judges) — those among the top ten receiving the most votes win, it’s that simple. This is for store pride, for knowing you have a winner amongst you, so vote as often as you like. Tell your friends. Tell your friends friends. Tell your dog — but only if he can work a computer keyboard.

Deadline for voting is August 1, 2006.Click here to register your vote now!

Did you miss out on this year’s contest? Bummer, but no worries. If you haven’t already done so, outdoor retail staff can get ready for next year by activating a subscription now at www.outsidebusinessjournal.com/freeretail/snewsarticle-contest.html. Then, watch your SNEWS® for announcements calling for our next contest entries and get ready to be a winner.