Are you are like me getting upset and frustrated by being forced to use Self-Checkouts? Then we have become the victim of a very active Conflict Cloud.
A Conflict Cloud happens when two different factions have conflicting priorities within an organization. For example at the beginning of a fiscal month the organization implores you to only ship "Good" product that has been fully inspected with a minimal concern regarding revenue. Then towards the end of the month when revenue numbers need to be met, the word is "Ship Everything" don't worry about the quality. Of course, confusion occurs within the organization due to shifting priorities.
So how have we become the victim of a Conflict Cloud at our Grocery Stores?
We have two distinct factions with Retail. Our merchandising group is focused on increasing Sales, they create an inviting environment within the stores to entice you to purchase, they provide sales to increase sales, they run advertisements promoting how they wish to create a lasting relationship with you by hoping you embrace them with Brand Loyalty.
On the other side we have our Operations Team looking at the third decimal place and beyond to reduce costs. They get Suppliers to stock the shelves if they want the product sold. They have decided to replace Friendly Human Cashiers with Cold Callus Scanning Machines that grab our money.
Do you see the conflict? You are being enticed to shop at a particular shop and then treated horribly at the conclusion. I wish stores would get to understand that in spite of having the Product, the Location and perhaps proper Pricing it is ultimately the people who create the experience and the memory. My shopping experience is made complete with the short conversation between me and the cashier asking me how my shopping experience was? Was I able to find everything I needed? ... it makes me feel good.
People are upset with the treatment they are getting from the Cold Callus Scanning Machines so it makes sense some items may not get scanned. The store responds by hiring mean security surveillance monitors to check my receipt. They spend precious CAPEX installing guards and fences to control traffic in and out of the store in the spirit of mitigating theft. We all have now been designated as thieves until we prove ourselves potentially innocent after we produce our receipt a check-out.
The merchandising group's efforts are now all in vain and believe me it is going to get worse, much worse.
Time to evaporate the "Conflict Cloud"!! Put back the cashiers and the baggers. Make my shopping experience holistically more pleasant. Yes, I am exchanging my hard earned cash to feed my family, so please treat me with dignity.
But this situation is not new, it happened with gas stations. Remember (for us older people) when you would be with your parents to fill up with gas? Many folks would trot to your vehicle, they would clean your windshield, check your oil level and engage in some simple banter while your tank was being filled with gasoline. Did you not feel like a traitor should you stray to another gas station? It was a relationship violation.
Today, I have no alliance to a particular fuel brand let alone a particular fuel station. I have been regularly filling up at one station locally (for convenience only) for the past several years and I have no idea who or what the attendant is and honestly don't care either.
Soon my relationship with the grocery stores will be the same unless someone with a working brain cell realizes that relationships and human contact is the ultimate marketing strategy.
Locally, Shoppers Drug Mart has lost me as a customer since they have eliminated cashiers, while a small local family run pharmacy has benefited. I am still in shock every time I enter and get personal service. Even if my tank is 3/4 full I always stop at the Imperial Oil Station in Bronte because in the afternoon Jack greets me, fills my tank, cleans my windshield. When I go through check-out at my local Zehr's I always scan to see if my favorite cashier is on duty (she usually has the longest line) knowing she will scan my purchases and apologizes to me that it looks like I have a big cleaning ahead of me or seeing particular produce offers a cooking suggestion, she makes me feel important and I leave smiling and feeling good. Yes, People really do matter and enhance my purchasing experience something a machine cannot replace.
Conflict Clouds happen when there is not a balance or harmony between the beliefs of factions within the organization. Finding that balance and harmony will make the Conflict Cloud evaporate.
Every Organization and Business have Conflict Clouds, some are big and dark like thunder clouds while others can appear to be like little wisps of cotton balls, but all are harmful to the success of the business.
What are your Organization's Conflict Clouds? and share them with us to see how we can help you evaporate them.
Some other stuff that agitates me lately ....
Young People today cannot afford to purchase their first home
My Grandparents struggled to purchase their first home and tell me about it
My Parents struggled to purchase their first home and constantly remind me of it
I struggled to purchase our first home big time, but managed to pay off the mortgage
So Statistically it just makes sense people today should struggle to purchase their first home.
My grocery Store no longer is allowed to pack my groceries in plastic bags but I can purchase a reusable bag at check-out for a mere $2.50 or more but ...
They have rolls of plastic produce bags at every table
The majority of my meat is packed in non-recyclable plastics