Nothing Casual About This Service

Last Saturday, Lisa and I were going to a wedding.  So naturally, the evening before, I was frantically seeking a new suit to wear.  (Brief explanation: due to the advent of "business casual" dress codes in the late-Nineties, all of my suits are more than 10 years old, and frankly, I may have put on a pound or two in the past decade.)  I had tried a few shops and stores, but had not found any suits to my liking.  So, feeling frustrated, at about 8:45 PM, I spotted a Casual Male store, that specializes in, ahem, larger sizes.  The shop was empty, except for two employees who were busy putting up banners and signs, trumpeting a sale that was to begin the following day. 

From the parking lot, I caught one employee’s eye, and gestured, asking if they were still open.  She smiled, nodded, and waved me in.

Now, given the stores name, Casual Male, I did not expect to find suits, but I figured I could come up with a nice pair of slacks and a dress shirt that I could button at the collar without cutting off all oxygen to my brain.  This I found – and more!  Both employees stopped what they were doing to assist me in finding items of interest, including pointing out a new suit that had just arrived that day.  They helped me locate shirts that complimented the suits I liked, and actually encouraged me to try the shirts on to ensure they fit, which required them opening the package and taking out all the little pins and cardboard backing.

Instead of hovering around me, hungry for a commission, they gave me time and space to find things I liked, but any time I needed assistance or had a question, one or another of the employees was there to help.  I ended up with two suits, three shirts, and a belt.  When it was time to pay, I was told that they would give me the 20% discount that was part of the following day’s sale!  I happily paid, and cheerfully thanked the two employees, who cheerfully thanked me and wished me a good night.  As I was leaving, I noticed that it was now 9:30 PM.  Then I saw the stores hours posted on the door: they were supposed to close at 9:00, and neither employee ever said a word about it, or even fidgeted around like it was time to go!  Now that was impressive!

Here’s what these employees did right:

  1. They invited me into the store, even though it was minutes before closing, and they were engaged in setting up for the following day’s sale.  They never mentioned that closing time was rapidly approaching.
  2. They were attentive and helpful, but not pushy or in the way.
  3. They made sure everything fit, even after taking my measurements, even opening up packaging to allow me to try on shirts.
  4. They gave me the sale pricing that was not scheduled to start until the following day.
  5. They stayed open an extra half an hour, just for me, with nary a peep of complaint or martyr-ism.

Here’s what these employees did wrong:

  1. Absolutely nothing, with the possible exception of making sure that I knew their names so I could commend them to their manager.  But that’s okay, because I will be sending this blog entry to Casual Male, so that they know the caliber of employees they have at their Warwick, RI location.

— Chuck Dennis

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