RICHMOND – Today, when you get a sales slip from a store, it is usually a foot of printed tape with a request for you to go online and register with them to fill out a customer survey. We don’t understand it. First, doesn’t the company get enough info when you swipe a Visa card at the checkout?
Very often, the sales slip has all sorts of qualifiers about returns, imposing stringent conditions on the customer, not the company.
Recently, we found an old sales slip from the venerable Richmond department store Miller & Rhoads. It was evidence that the old ways were better.
The store was shut down in bankruptcy decades ago, but it is still missed by those who knew it. Today, the store is a hotel and apartment complex in Richmond.
In its heyday, before it was sold out to a group of jerks who ruined it and sent it to bankruptcy, it was well known for its quiet elegance and careful treatment of customers. The sales slip had, on the back, a promise of how it was to conduct business. I think it sort of fits. No, they didn’t call it a mission statement. That would have been to inwardly focused. Instead, it was a promise to do something, to behave in a certain way.
Notice, that it did not put out exact criteria; it did not qualify exactly what return policies were, or what it would do, or that sort of thing. Instead, it was a more general admission that they wanted to conduct business a certain way, and would like their customers to be a part of it.
Today, when we do business with a company, we are often forced to sign or agree to pages of their legalese in a craftily drafted “Terms of Service.” Even worse, there are even statements that we are there at our own risk. In extreme cases, companies ask us to sign away rights to sue.
Just thought it would be nice to point out that companies used to behave this way.