“Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs” – Five Man Electrical Band
I spent the past weekend with friends and family visiting the beautiful village of Lake Placid, NY. At one point, a friend and I were checking out some of the local stores along the main drag. One of these was a sporting goods store that featured running shoes and related gear.
Before entering, the first thing that caught my attention was a sign on the door advising “No Drinks”. Ok, it’s not that unusual and having just purchased coffee, we found a spot to set our drinks down before proceeding inside. Upon entering, the next thing that caught my eye was a sign indicating, “We do not allow people to take pictures of our merchandise.” I thought this one was a bit unusual. I briefly pondered what potential issue there could be in taking pictures of shoes but nothing came to mind.
Before I go on, it’s important to know that his was not a big store; I’d guess 800 – 1,000 square feet. There were two employees inside and my friend and I were the only customers.
A few steps into the store and another sign caught my attention, “Don’t open the packages of socks”. I had already categorized this establishment as somewhat customer unfriendly and wasn’t interested in spending a dollar there however, my friend continued to browse so I continued to look around.
Behind the cash was a sign indicating, “No Refunds.” The final kicker for me was the sign posted beside a display of sunglasses; “If your kids scratch the lenses, you have to buy the sunglasses.” Wow!
Browsing completed, we walked towards the door that had a small sticker affixed encouraging people to, “Shop Local.” Maybe we do – but not with you!
Though I would take bets that your signage isn’t anywhere near as bad, I’d encourage you to take a fresh look at it to ensure that it’s sending the right message. Is it cold and authoritarian or is it warm, welcoming and helpful? The signage you have posted in your business or work area is a reflection of your attitude towards your customers.
Postscript: We continued walking a few more blocks and visited another sporting goods store. This one only had one sign that stood out – a huge one posted on the wall behind the cash registers proclaiming, “Enjoy Life!”
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