Timing is everything and I decided to start a business at the beginning of the Great Recession. One of the things that was big back then was that businesses would need to focus on giving a “great experience.” This was a trend that had begun several years earlier that really caught on during the recession and the years that followed. Up until now that is.
What irked me at the time was the notion that everything had to be an experience. Sometimes I just want to go into a store and buy a widget without some marketing person trying to fit me into another person’s idea of what an experience might be. The only experience I wanted was good quality for the price I was willing to pay for the widget.
Where this led in retail was that buying cheap crap from China on the Internet became the norm because the experience was better than driving to a store and finding the best product for the price. I spend my share of money with Amazon.com but when you live by the experience, you die but the experience:
Not understanding how my amazon PRIME say my stuff coming in a week 🥴🤨.. where is my free two day shipping
— 🐍avage (@KissMyKicks_) May 5, 2020
The other thing that irked me was that I felt the country was losing its desire to have experts and that people had begun believing that having an experience was the same as knowing and doing. It seemed to me that people were no longer willing to pay the price of getting real learning unless they could be guaranteed of having a good experience along the way. The notion of hard work and sacrifice seemed to be going out the window and in its place came a sense of entitlement.
As a retailer, this manifested itself in all sorts of ways. You could deliver excellent quality at a fair price but if that’s all they got, you were likely to get an annoying review on Yelp. This happened most of the time with people who expected the entire experience to be more delightful than the actual product delivered. I had a number of customers who would spend very little money but enjoyed coming in for the experience. On the other hand, these people just cost me a ton of money and was one of the reasons I closed the business.
And now we have Covid-19 where any aspect of having a good experience has been thrown out the window. I’m sure it’s come as a great shock to people who are rather stunned that a store no longer cares about your experience and if they’re out of something or it’s inconvenient in some way to shop there, tough toenails! In some ways, I find this refreshing and should be a reminder about how good we had things and how easily it can all be swept away.
Hopefully it’s a bit of a wake up call that no one is entitled to anything other than“certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Unfortunately, a virus doesn’t recognize these rights — nor would it seem certain state and city governments.