I went to Lowe’s in Vernon Hills, IL the other night to get some duct tape, light bulbs and fertilizer. Due to my hardware-shopping list, I decided to get a shopping cart. With no one around in the cart area, I choose a cart on the right end. No luck, with several hard tugs, I was unable to dislodge those 3 or 4 carts stuck together. With 2 other options, I tried the next group of carts, still no luck. I momentarily thought those carts were hammered together with a sledgehammer. If that’s the case, I hope they put that blunt object in the clearance bin. After my 3rd try, I was successful. I was able to grab a shopping cart to start doing what I came into the store to do – shop for hardware items.
You know, the cart guy (what I’ll refer to him as), may only have few tasks to do, one of these is to peruse the parking lot and lasso all those wayward cards with the Lowe’s brand and bring them to the cart station. Perhaps like gathering lost sheep that have strayed from the grazing pasture. If he only has a few tasks to do, perhaps management could emphasize how to proper execute these several tasks.
I’m hopeful most Lowe’s employees are aware of the tone it sets when the first thing shoppers struggle with once entering the store is wrestling a dislodge cart from the pack. If nothing is said to store employees or management, how will management know? Will management walk the aisles from time to time and put things in order that need straightening? If the store manager is too busy to do so, will other Lowe’s employees notice? If not, is their modus operandi relying on shoppers to point out such issues? If less proactivity is done by their employees, is this a customer centric approach?
One other thought came to mind, does it occur with all cart guys or just one? If only one employee poorly handles the carts, will it be hard to diagnose? I also wonder about a mystery shopper dropping by and ultimately remark that first impressions about a store often are lasting.
At this particular store in Vernon Hills, the cart area is quite close to the return’s area. I sometimes see the employee pacing back and forth waiting for customers and looking for something to do. I have an idea. If we can’t get the cart guy to put the shopping carts in an orderly and easy access, why not have the other associate sometimes do a quick review to ensure the carts are easily accessible?
One more thing, we’re dealing with a hardware store. In other words, they are all about fixing, building and maintaining things. Carts that are jammed together are an issue that certainly should not occur in a store that’s all about fixing and improving things. I’m hopeful store employees or management will notify the issue and get it rectified. If some customers notice this issue and it’s not rectify in due time, what does that say about store management and their brand?