The EU

Google says the EU requires a notice of cookie use (by Google) and says they have posted a notice. I don't see it. If cookies bother you, go elsewhere. If the EU bothers you, emigrate. If you live outside the EU, don't go there.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Small Bore Entrepreneurship

Based upon my experience Tuesday, maybe we are turning into a "communist" economy, as understood by those of us who are old enough to remember hearing about the problem with both quantity and choice at the Soviet State Department Store, GUM.

I went to Rite Aide to purchase a pair of brown, large, compression sox.  While I had previously purchased a pair of such sox there some time in the past, there was not a pair on the display on Tuesday.  The approach I would have hoped for would have been:  "Yes sir, they aren't being stocked right now, but we can order you a pair, or two pairs, and they will be here within a week, and I can call you when they come in."

Sadly, it was not to be. This is a display from the manufacturer's distributor and they only restock what they have on display.  The clerk did take my phone number and offered to call around to the other Rite Aide stores in the area, but I have not heard from her yet.  She was polite and cheerful, but not effective.

Later in the day I went to a CVS  where I walked in and tried to describe my quest, but failed.  I wandered off and found the hosiery section, where a clerk told me that there were no other displays.  I then looked around and saw an aisle with medical supplies and found what I was looking for in type, but not in color and size.

On the other hand, at Staples my experience is that the female clerks are the ones who know the territory and the male clerks are clueless.  This is, of course, a generalization, but it does influence who I ask for help. And, it is an embarrassment to me, based upon my gender.

My wife says it is the big chains that cause this kind of thing.  She is a "small town" girl.

I think it is treating the clerks like clerks rather than like thinking human beings who should be encouraged to interact with the customers and should be encouraged to show initiative.  And maybe a small investment in training?  You squash initiative a couple of times and you may be successful in killing it, or at least driving it into hibernation.  The bureaucratization of entrepreneurship.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Which will remain nameless, as I know several people who work at various CVS stores and whom I see as real "go-getters."  Thus, this malaise isn't universal, but it may be spreading.


Craig H said...

I'd say it's actually our patronage of the big chains that cause this kind of thing. We go places for cheap prices, and then have the nerve to be disappointed when the side-effects of their efficiency (like limited variety stock) come home to roost, and back to bite us.

I've found the "long tail" of the internet has been my frequent salvation from this sad situation. I now get my Ace ankle supports (for soccer, not old age, at least not yet) at (They're no longer stocked at places like CVS). Medshop also has great prices on cloth athletic tape, too, that even beats the chains. (The ongoing remainder of my case of 32 rolls is still upstairs in my closet).

I get my guitar and ukulele strings at I get all my soccer gear, except boots, at (The shoes I prefer to have fitted in person at the Brazilian Soccer Store in East Boston, and I'm fine with paying the premium for the privilege). Music I get from and Movies I rent via my Tivo from

In all of these cases, the number of people with my narrow interests becomes great enough over the internet for selection and service to become profitable again. (Say Hi! to Peggy Beitel at for me).

And, for everything else, I walk to my neighborhood stores and insist on giving them my business and not anything with a chain affiliation.

Unknown said...

And don't forget the awesome "FREE SHIPPING".