One of my co-workers is expecting a baby girl. In honor of the parents, the Mother of the soon-to-be-Mama invited us all to attend a baby shower.
So, I looked at the registry and ordered a few items to be shipped directly to my co-worker’s house. Because I didn’t want to arrive to the shower empty-handed, I also decided to venture to a Baby Gap on 5th and 17th in NYC.
I opened the front door, stepped inside, and there wasn’t a soul in sight. I looked and looked and finally found a sales person to direct me to the baby section.

I went downstairs and, yet again, there was no one there. Only after walking around in circles did I finally find the newborn section.

The Problem: Even when I finally got to the right section it was, quite frankly, a disaster!! First of all, why the hell is everything categorized boy/girl? It made me think that the Gap designers and marketers are still stuck in the 90’s. Have they never heard of the term “gender neutral”? Seriously, everything was either pink, blue, or decorated with rockets, stars, ballerinas, or hearts. Ugh…I would never dress my child in this!

After going through a rather frustrating curation of baby items, I found 3 outfits that I thought could work but they all had stripes. Oh dear, I hope I didn’t buy outfits that will make everyone dizzy!

I’m not even going to describe paying for my gifts, which was an entirely different and yet equally frustrating experience that I’ll address another time.

 

The Fix: Clean up your stores! For instance:
– Have a sales clerk on each floor
– Fold the clothes so they’re not randomly stacked in disorganized piles
– Attend to your customers—they might have questions!
– Minimize the checkout waiting line. This is probably where most retailers lose their customers.

Just FYI, I had to wait 20 minutes in line as there was only one checkout clerk available and the line kept getting longer and longer. During that time, 2 customers gave up and left.

The Gap’s management is clearly stuck on the 90’s and isn’t up to speed with reality. I recommend shaking everything up and hiring new blood.
Look at other stores who get it right, like Bonobos, and use them as your role model!

New Yorkers are so lucky to have a great shoe shine and repair service that is local and in places that are easy to get to. Leather Spa can literally fix any damages/problems you have with your shoes, handbags, or leather belts, restoring them to their original gorgeous look. The other day, I found out that they even can lower the excessively high stilettos that I purchased after having too many mimosas on a Sunday afternoon. My girlfriends had convinced me that I looked fabulous in them and that the stilettos would go well with my jeans or leather pants. So, I went ahead and spent some $$$, only to end up wearing them once in 5 years. Bummer, I thought, because they’re super nice but the heel is a tad too high. Then I found Leather Spa: they came to the rescue, and guess what, I love my new, 1/4” lower stilettos 🙂

The problem
I took my fabulous stiletto boots to the closest Leather Spa. On my recent visits to the Leather Spa FiDi location, the line was insane. I discovered that the clerk taking orders also performs inspections, which must be done in order to get a price quote. Only after the inspection and a price quote can the order be placed. Despite the long line, the clerk didn’t even think of calling for help. Finally, another staff member showed up, but he didn’t open another cash register done with the average price of carpet cleaning in dublin to help the next guest; instead, he helped a shoe shine customer who had come in way after me and the three other waiting customers.

The Fix
The management should train their staff to keep an eye on the traffic. If there are more than 3 customers waiting in line, someone should call for assistance. It would also be a good idea to monitor what times of day are busiest and hire part-time help during those hours. At the very least, have the decency to serve the customers in the order in which they arrived—no matter what service they need.

On a recent visit to a private club I belong to, I had some downtime between meetings and decided to sit at the bar with a latte to work on my pitch deck. Next to me were a couple who had just joined the club. They were discussing rules, the service, and the workings of the member benefit program with the head of membership.
The couple were asked if they had any food allergies or restrictions, and they said “Yes, we’re pescatarians.” I thought, “Oh, just like me,” and I almost walked over to introduce myself, but then a dish welcoming them emerged from the kitchen, so I stayed put and continued working.
After an odd silence, the new members asked, “Um… is this chicken?” The head of membership had left by then, and it was up to the bartender to tell them it was. Oh dear, this was painfully embarrassing for the club’s entire staff—as well as to me, as a member!

The Problem
The club has recently gone through a major staff restructuring, hiring kids with limited experience to run membership, operations, and the kitchen. Rumor has it that there weren’t any transitional training periods, where the “old” staff could train the new kids. It was clear to me from what I overheard that the head of membership had no clue what “pescatarian” meant!

The Fix
The club’s CEO made a fundamental mistake in letting the whole staff go and hiring a bunch of untrained youngsters to take over the entire operation of an elite private club. The obvious fix is to either train them yourself (@CEO) or make sure that you’re not pissing off your loyal staff and/or firing them on the spot. Make sure the old staff and new staff overlap and do everything you can to ensure a graceful transition so your operation doesn’t suffer. As one of my favorite architects once said, “God is in the details.”