I recently went to an Academy Sports store here in Orlando on a quest for compression socks and energy chews for an upcoming race. The parking lot was almost empty, and I initially thought the store was closed. Upon closer inspection, I realized they were open and went on inside.
There were quite a few employees inside, which was almost comical considering the total lack of customers. Despite this fact, no one greeted me at the door. I grabbed a basket to carry merchandise in, and immediately located the energy gels right up front next to the protein powders. After grabbing ten of various flavors and brands (I’d rather have more than I need than not enough), I went on to look for the compression sleeves.
And I looked. And looked. And looked. In the men’s department. In the ladies department. In the footwear department. I couldn’t find a single compression sleeve. I’ll tell you what I was able to find, though: groups of employees socializing amongst themselves, employees appearing to be busy making sure the hangers on racks were evenly spaced, and employees looking up things on computers for imaginary customers. What I couldn’t find was an employee who wasn’t too busy to assist me. I almost approached a woman in an Academy Sports shirt, leading me to believe she worked there. She spotted me walking toward her, and turned to walk quickly in the other direction. Maybe she was on a break. I was becoming increasingly irritated as I walked helplessly around the store. After half an hour, I walked up to the front, put my $25 worth of energy gels back, and walked out the door. No one told me to have a nice day.
Thankfully, Dick’s was right around the corner. I hoped for a better experience there, and I got it. As soon as I walked in the door, I was greeted by a young man with a smile on his face. He asked if I needed help finding anything, and I told him what I was looking for. He directed me to the footwear section, and I headed that way. Before reaching my destination, I passed two more employees who each offered assistance.
When I got the the footwear department, I was approached by an employee who asked what I was looking for. He lead me over to a rack and showed me the options available, going through the pros and cons of each option. After making my selections, I went to the register and was checked out by a friendly guy who not only asked me if I was able to find everything I was looking for, but wished me a pleasant day as I left. It’s important to mention that there were plenty of other customers in the store, yet employees at Dick’s found the time and energy to treat me as though I mattered.
The point of this post is not necessarily to put down Academy Sports, but to emphasize the importance of spending your hard earned money only in establishments that actually appreciate it. None of us deserves to be treated with indifference when shopping. If a store employee is unpleasant to you, don’t hesitate to buy what you need elsewhere. We cannot accept poor behavior as the norm. I hear so many people complain about this store, or that restaurant, yet continue to patronize them. There is power in keeping your wallet closed.