Saturday, October 23, 2004

Both sides of the fence

I'm struck most days by the contrast between the Little Shop (LS) and the Grocery Store (GS) where I work now:
In the LS, schmoozing customers was a given, as each one was precious to the business. Still, sometimes they would just go away, and we never knew why. Corporate accounts fizzled, and we didn't persue them. We did lots of crafty putzing and few large-scale arrangements. Why?

In the GS, there are plenty of customers, with many more expectations than in the LS. If a flower wilts within three days, we replace it; if there's an arrangement in the cooler overnight that isn't perfect, we hear about it the next day; we do weddings, funerals, gift baskets, balloons, proms, in-store promotions and a full range of charity fact, the community believes that the GS can afford almost any donation they ask for, and they ask almost daily. (Fourty-five $10 arrangements for a charity ball at the Radisson? What's wrong with this picture? But, of course......we do them.)

And, because we're large-scale compared to the local LS's, we often supply those little shops. Need 17 yellow roses right away? We usually have them, and can spare them. Need enough tropicals for one arrangement? Check the GS first....(though probably at night). Those Cash'N'Carry bunches are amazing!

In the LS, wholesalers delivered product twice a week; in the GS, we get fresh product 6 out of 7 days, so we're constantly processing flowers.

Mother's Day at the LS? Oh, man, we did 70 dozens!
Mother's Day at the GS? Oh, man, I did 70 dozens before lunch!

Valentines Day at the GS? We do dozens, half-dozens, and three other basic mixed-flower designs....and guess what? Customers never notice the lack of variety.

In the LS, every Valentine order was "to order", because we never thought about it any other way.

An interesting sidelight to all this--when I attend design shows, I try not to disclose where I work, just to spare myself LS animosity. But surely there's room for both of us in the market place--we DO what they CAN'T.

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