Looks to me like Roger Soler’s Broadway Store is fixin’ to shut its doors. The Mrs and I dropped in yesterday afternoon; she was looking for a new set of runners to replace the ones she was wearing (comfy, but wearing out). Her only qualification was stylistic, nothing garish, since she isn’t thrilled with the red piping and laces on her current shoes (“Clown shoes” is her description). A slacker salesgirl stepped up to the plate, and my wife patiently struck her out:
- Mrs: “Can I get a new pair of these shoes?” SS: “No, all of that brand has been moved to our main store.” SS didn’t think it useful to call the main store to see if any of these shoes might be in stock.
- SS did suggest a vaguely similar racing shoe, a lightweight one in powder tempera red, from heel to toe. (I think it may have been the Mizuno Wave Rider. Wave goodbye.) My wife emulated the Buddha by refraining from screaming “Fugly!” while fleeing the store.
- SS did not offer to measure my wife’s feet, determine her running style or preferences, or do anything else to indicate that she might be interested in something so mundane as selling shoes.
Strike three and out. We left. Outside, my wife suggested we go a few blocks east to a competitor, the Fleet Feet store on North New Braunfels. We went.
The difference was like night and day. At Soler’s there had been one other customer being casually assisted by a salesman; at Fleet Feet there were four customers ahead of us being furiously served by the 3 salesfolk, who were showing an array of shoes and putting the customers through “test jogs” up and down the mall to get a good feel for the different runners. My wife, ever leery of crowds, initially wanted to come back later. I convinced her to sit tight with the simple argument “Hang in there, these people want to sell shoes.”
A few minutes later, spunky
salesgirl Fit Expert Hope de Lamos had my wife’s feet measured and recommended two different brands of runners, both of which passed the test jog. I treated my wife to a new pair of shoes, and she treated me by selecting the ones that were last year’s model with a 40% discount (she is, after all, using last year’s feet). Feeling expansive, I also bought her some neat running gloves, thin enough to double as glove liners during ski season (Note to stores: good service generates extra sales.)
Imagine my surprise then, when I read of the predicted decline of Best Buy. It’s got the ring of truth.