Day 20 of Campaign Smile was as beautiful an experience as all the rest and as unique as each in its own right. It got me thinking a lot about smiles in the retail environment and their effect on everything.
1. I began my smile campaign by smiling at a man who was walking past me. His response was different from any I have encountered so far. He maintained a scowl on his face and stared at me in seeming disbelief at my gesture. He seemed to have forgotten that he was not watching a television show because he appeared surprised that the “show” was interacting with him.
2. One of the employees walked past me next and yielded a tired smile at what was, apparently, the beginning of her shift. I don’t know why she was so tired when she was just starting her work day but I hope that my smile was a help to make her shift a little easier.
3. The gentleman I encountered after her bugged his eyes out and mouthed something incoherent to me. Maybe I was developing a transparent quality since he looked as if he was looking at a ghost. I’m not really sure and there is no way for me to know now. However, I can be confident that I made an impression on him.
4. Another man was walking right behind him and I smiled at him as well. He met my gaze and quickly found something interesting on the floor. Must have still been shimmering, I guess. I really have to focus on keeping my energy in physical form while I’m campaigning. Otherwise, it has a very disconcerting quality. 🙂
5. The final contact of the smile campaign stop was with the cashier. She was apparently having a long day because she rang up everything and let me read my own total. Then she simply stared straight ahead until she heard the printer creating the receipt. I, as you might expect, spent the entire time smiling, mostly directed right at her. As she handed me the slip of paper she forced a smile. In fact it barely qualified as it was more like simply pulling her face muscles together.
That prompted me to revisit a thought I have had many times. What has happened to the joy of shopping? I have noticed this a lot in my various stops but I already knew it as I am sure you do as well. Most of the people I see seemed scared to smile or show any enjoyment in their shopping experience. Further, most of the people we encounter working in retail act as if they are unhappy with the experience a lot of the time. Certainly, retail is not easy and some people are better at that job than others. This is true for every profession. However, I think the problem is larger than that. What is it that these individuals dislike about the experience? If the company could make it more pleasant or rewarding would the employees respond with more upbeat attitudes? Don’t you feel more comfortable shopping in an environment where people, employees and shoppers alike, are happy? I want to figure out how I can bring this message to these retail companies and how I can help them change things for the better. I have 61 smiles in my smile campaign so far and looking for bigger numbers ahead!