July 26, 2006

Building Brand Loyalty

This vignette takes place in a Subway sandwich shop, on New Britain Avenue in West Hartford, in fact. But its not about Subway, really.

I stopped in yesterday for a sandwich at lunchtime. There were a number of us in line - and at the head, three younger women who work at CVS (most likely, the one across the street, where I shop) - they were all wearing CVS work shirts. Well, one of the women was being a real pain in the neck about using a high value competitors coupon (D'Angelo's, as I recall) insisting that Subway had to honor it, insisting that another manager said she could, insisting that the Subway employees hand over their bag of coupons so she could go through it to find one like hers, insisting that they would go to D'Angelo's from now on (which was BS, cause they work across the street, the nearest D'Angelo's is down at Corbins Corner). It was not a simple exchange - she was arguing about it, questioning the integrity of the employee and the manager she had spoken to, being aggressive, condescending, nasty. Meanwhile, a line of patrons started to form, perhaps 15 deep at the end, all of us waiting and inconvenienced by this woman's bullheadedness.

At one point, I turned to the woman behind me and said "Makes you want to switch to Walgreen's, eh?" which got a laugh all down the line (Walgreen's recently opened a store across from CVS at the old Elm Theater location)

Not sure what the lesson is. Take your competitors coupons to CVS, just to be difficult, maybe. If you are gonna hire aggressive, angry people, do not let them out of the store at lunchtime in your company uniform. Go to Walgreens.

I dunno, I know people who just have this superior attitude that rubs retail workers the wrong way. But usually they come with bona fides - politicos, professionals, celebrities. One would think that being on the received end of retail drudgework would make one a bit more sympathetic. Or perhaps its a bullying thing - she gets shit all day at work and by god she is gonna hand some out at lunchtime, to detox.

In any case, it was both annoying, as well as darkly amusing and thought-provoking.

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