Myer plans to improve its service. About time!

During the past two weeks I have been to three different Myer department stores and they all have one thing in common. Lack of service.

There was simply no staff around. We scrounged around the stock, of which there is also very little. We wandered up and down the menswear department in search of help. But there was none.

I suspect that if I picked up a few items and walked out with them I wouldn’t even be stopped. Unfortunately, there was nothing worth stealing. At one stage we were so busy rummaging through some items that a customer mistook us for staff and asked us for help.

We shook our heads in sympathy with the fellow sufferer. “Sorry, mate” we shouted in the wilderness. “You have to fend for yourself!” Not many people are keen to do that, however, so it’s not surprising that sales in department stores are down by 5.8% in the year to May.

So when the CEO of Myer, Bernie Brookes, announced in the Weekend Australian newspaper that Myer was going to increase its staff by 10% I was nonplussed. 10% of nothing is not very much, is it?

Nor are things much better in “David Jones” department stores, but at least the Melbourne city store had more stock to choose from. There was no service either. Nevertheless, we put in the effort, found an item ourselves and took it to the cashier.

Oh how I miss the old days when someone would greet you as you walked into a department store and ask if you needed any help. From what I can see the only place that has service in a department store is the cosmetics and perfume section and I suspect that’s because the cosmetics companies supply their own staff.

Shopping has become a very daunting experience. Even when you really, really, need to buy something, and you stand there looking desperate, you often go home without a catch. Oh well, you did try to give the economy a bit of stimulus, but if they ain’t doin’ the sellin’ you can’t do the buyin’.

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