“would you like a little bag?”


I walked into CVS this morning. I entered, not because they are sharing a monopoly with Walgreen nor was my visit motivated by a coupon or by habit or because of my love for CVS; I was there to buy a memo book, the size and color, the number of pages and the spiraled binding making it fit my particular needs as a writer. I keep one in my shirt pocket at all times.

It is better than a napkin, a smart phone or a thrice folded 8.5 x 11 inch piece of printer paper. If I could buy it at Walgreen I might opt for the printer paper but I would go to just about any other source if I had the option.

Is my grumpy attitude aroused by any other shopping inconveniences? No, no, no; absolutely not.

What then?

The most important experience in visiting a store with no warmth is the point of sale person who captains the register. We exchange smiles, we have a short chat if no one is behind me and then she says, almost apologetically, “would you like a little bag?” and as I leave I swear to myself never to return to any CVS or Walgreen or Circle K ever again.

My career has been creating and managing small retail stores. I have been at the helm of every aspect of design, working with architects, interior designers, copy writers and marketing geniuses; for most stores these are onetime events, After all the preliminaries it is up to me or to the person who greets, works with or writes orders for our customers to remember always that making friends with and serving as we would want to be served, those who could determine the success of this business.

Never has the question of “would you like a little bag” ever been verbalized or probably even thought by those who have greeted my public. I go to Trader Joes and Whole Foods because I am treated well, never insulted and have access to great products. I get a paper bag with handles without having to ask and I can if I wish select and buy shopping bags of varying quality.

If you serve the public, how well you do that may determine your future and that of your country.


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