Chadstone Shopping Centre is suffering from budgetary restrictions

With all that’s going wrong in the world of retail wouldn’t you think that a complaint about the nauseatingly dirty restrooms at the Chadstone Fashion Capital would be taken seriously?

More about that later.

It’s no secret that things are looking grim in the retail trade. Shops are closing down and going out of business. Consequently, shopping centres and malls must be feeling the pinch as well. They will simply have to try harder.

More about that later as well.

So what is to blame for the downturn?

Certainly there’s the GFC. But there are other factors as well. Retailers like to blame international online traders and they are demanding a GST placed on all online shopping to level the playing-field.

But that would only add 10% to the cost of the item. Most overseas online purchases are very much cheaper than the 10% GST difference. So even if a GST were imposed on online sales these would still continue to grow.

Firstly, because the world of online shopping is huge and it’s tempting. There’s so much choice out there that local retail just can’t match.

Secondly, retail, particularly department stores, have been providing less and less personal service. Now you would think that retail would try to outdo online shopping in the personal service field. They’ve got an obvious advantage here. After all, they have the goods and they should offer a shopper face to face attention. What an opportunity to outdo online traders!

But service has been going downhill for too long. Staff shortages have meant that you get more attention online. How ridiculous is that? Combine that with cheaper prices and immediate responses by online sellers and it’s no wonder retail business is suffering.

Now we get to the main substance of this blog. About time…

I’ve often complained about poor service in department stores and lack of facilities at Chadstone Shopping Centre, in particular.

I did so again a couple of months ago to one of the Chadstone executives. His name is David and he is in charge of customer complaints.

He is a busy man.

And that’s why he took several weeks to respond to my complaint about the terrible state of the restrooms in his Centre. Dirty floors, lack of paper, blocked toilets, wet and slippery conditions. You get the picture.

At long last, David phoned me only to explain that it costs a lot of money to supply hand towels instead of the useless hand dryers. It takes a lot of money to monitor the hygiene of the toilets.

David assured me that the restrooms get cleaned at the end of each day (whether they need it or not, apparently).

But he did not seem to understand that toilets should be cleaned often. They should provide paper hand towels or efficient hand dryers such as the Dyson ones that actually dry your hands well.

There were budgetary restrictions, David said, and he used that excuse over and over again, when I talked about making shoppers welcome at “The Fashion Capital of the Universe.”

He made it all sound so sad that I almost offered him a donation. On the whole, it was a pathetic response to a complaint about dirty loos.

Mind you, this is the same centre that is planning a multi-million dollar expansion, in spite of David’s unfortunate budgetary restrictions.

It doesn’t make sense to tell me they can’t afford to keep the loos clean and make the place shopper-friendly. There’s not much point in expanding unless you raise the standard of the service provided.

Happy shoppers lead to more business, David. Isn’t that “Retail for Dummies” advice?

But you’re the expert, David, and I’m a mere customer who fails to appreciate budgetary restrictions when it comes to hygiene.

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