Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I Am Not A Guest

Yesterday, I was in Michael's craft store. It's a new-ish Michael's fairly close to where I live. I'd only been there once before. To be honest, the place makes me kind of tense. The bright aisles, the piles of cheap, cheap, cheap stuff that looks like nothing so much as landfill fodder that I nonetheless find myself buying because who can resist sparkly mosaic tiles for $3.99/bag? Plus, if I got them from Oriental Trading, there'd be shipping! The experience of being in there is something like a cross between a sense of anticipated salvation for a rainy day (art projects!) and deep depression. It's not like being a guest. No one offers me cookies when I get there, there's no place to sit, I don't even know if there's a bathroom. Not only are all the regular hosting functions abandoned, but there's hardly anyone around to help, and there are problems with my stuff at check out, meaning my kids and I have to wait around for too long while the cashier tries to solve the problem of pricing moon sand. She seemed very committed to solving the moon sand scanning and pricing problem, much more committed to the scanning, in fact, than to my comfort. So why does she insist on calling me a guest when, really, I'm just in the way when it comes to scanning moon sand? What ever happened to being a customer? If I were a customer, would I always be right? Would my needs be better considered? A customer looks for and buys things, a guests eats things and offers nice conversation. When I go to a store, I don't like to chit chat, I like to buy my stuff. Who's the marketing wizard who decided the experience of a person buying something would be improved by telling that person she's a guest and not a customer? As double speak goes it's not as dangerous as, say, "the death tax," but doublespeak is never good. Anywhere. Really, it makes me miss shopping online, where I can be a guest in my own home.


Karen said...

They have a bathroom! OK, I am the wrong audience for this post because I confess, I LOVE Michael's. Though I can concede every single point you make. Yet, my love wins out in the end.

Robin Aronson said...

truly, in my crankiest moments, the guest thing makes the cake for all my other issues. michael's is kind of a mind-blowing place and there is a lot to love. Helen said to me: "Mommy! Don't bring me back here because I'm going to want EVERYTHING!"