One morning when I was “in town” I decided to take a few hours out of my busy schedule to wander around to admire the beautiful hanging baskets and other flower displays. I walked around the grounds of the art gallery, city hall and Gyro Park. I was so impressed! In the air the “city” seemed to be saying – “Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! Stay awhile! Enjoy me! I’m here for you! I’m all dressed up in my finest! Enjoy the restaurants. Do some shopping. Spend the night. I appreciate you.”
I was on a high and still had some time to spare so I decided to wander through a few shops. I love shopping, always did and always will.
The first shop I walked into the “owner” was busy chatting with someone. No, “Good morning,” no “How are you”? no “I’ll be with you in a minute, feel free to look around.” I walked out feeling very unhappy!
The second shop I walked into (the door was wide open) it seemed welcoming except there was no “owner” inside. He was never to be found, never to be seen -- nada. I wandered in, wandered around and wandered out feeling very, very unhappy!
The third shop I walked into the “owner” was rummaging around in the rear of the shop. She raised her head, looked up and continued her rummaging. No “Good morning,” no “How are you?” no, “Can I help you?” I walked out feeling, very, very, very unhappy!
The forth shop I walked into the owner gave me a big smile and an acknowledgement. I was shown “the latest”. I made a purchase. I was back in my happy feeling!
The fifth and last shop I walked into the “owner” gave me a vacant look and continued chatting with someone about some “current events”. No, “Good morning”, no “How are you?” no “Can I help you?” “Feel free to walk around.” The “owners” conversation went on and on and on. I walked out and I was back to my unhappy feeling!
After talking to a few friends of my experience the comments I got was, “I’m so happy to hear your story because I thought it was ‘just me’”. They all experienced the same treatment. The conclusion was that this town needs a “personality transplant” and it all starts from the “top.” The beautiful hanging baskets and landscaping are wonderful but they will not solve the “problem.” You can have your “Midnight Madness” and bring bands, etc. - all very nice and thoughtful but that is only one night! It ain’t gonna work! You gotta be nice year round and nice doesn’t stop at 5 p.m. -- after store hours. When you stand next to us in a grocery line or when we pass on the street -- how much energy does it take to smile and say hello? It’s a small town -- make an effort to know us and appreciate our business. Smile and welcome us! We want to shop at home. We love Grand Forks! Just remember you need us, we don’t need you! We could always just go to Kelowna. It’s all in your hands! You can do it! Change your attitudes!
A disgruntled shopper who believes in hope and change