Thursday, July 14, 2011

There's plenty of other stores

It seems David Jones is in a bit of a bother, and their sales are down - dramatically. The finger is pointed squarely at the Carbon Tax, but could we just be moving away from large department stores?
I just love workshopping a subject like this. It's so interesting.
I don't really frequent department stores myself. I find them overwhelming, and just too 'overstuffed'. My eye doesn't settle on anything long enough to want it that much.
I also think they've propped themselves up with 'sales' and discounts so much that customers now expect to pay less than the rrp for their purchase. If the item isn't on sale now, it probably will be next week.
Maybe it's just me, but when I look at the lack lustre, mass produced merchandise on sale, with all the quality of a movie prop, it seems like it's just something to sell, rather than a great product that people will want to buy. Here's a shelf, quick, put something on it to sell!
I think the service has improved in department stores, but only once it hit a crazy low, when it was near impossible to find someone to take your money. One day when I was buying a toy in the other big department store, the woman who worked there actually, literally, tried to talk me into going to another counter so she didn't have to serve me. She said the toy I was buying should be 30% off, but she didn't think the discount would work on her cash register. I said I didn't care, and I didn't, I just wanted to pay for it and get out of there. Hey presto! Her register worked perfectly, I got the right price and she skulked off, I'm assuming to hide from any more customers.
When I was a teenager I worked at Sportsgirl and we did training in customer service. We were encouraged to suggest clothes to customers if they were having trouble finding something. We swapped sizes for people, said hello to them and made eye contact.
Maybe DJs customers are all off shopping in their neighbourhood boutiques, where they get attention and an already edited stock which they know will suit their taste.
We must also be approaching a point where we do not need any more retailers. There must be a stage at which there is the perfect number of shops for a population, when they can make a decent living. Past this point, business is thinned out and making a buck becomes more difficult. What is the economic term for this?
Could it be that retail therapy is not filling the void it once did? Are we evolving? 
I may be a mad consumer, but I would estimate four out of five things I buy are second hand. It's more of a sport, I get something that's more unique and interesting, it's recycling, and quite often, better quality than something that's new. It's win, win, win.
Now, The Red Hill Fair is on Saturday, July 30th at Woolcock Park. You must all come and buy a cake. I am the Cake Stall Convenor, and we take our cakes very seriously. I've even set up a blog, which you can see here.
The Red Hill Fair is our kindy's major fundraiser, and every family has to make eight cakes for the cake stall. I set up the blog to distribute the recipes. Maybe it will be of help to you too as cakes are often used to financially prop up educational facilities.
The Fair is a great day, it starts at 10 and finishes around 3pm. Don't worry, I intend to remind you again before the BIG DAY.


  1. I have never liked DJs and Myers even tho I live a long way from them they have never interetsed me when I am in that town that goes for BigW and kmart etc.I have been but its usually out of despeartion when I cant find what I want at op shops and its usually kids shoes.I way prefer treasure hunting at opies.The lack of staff at above stores is crazy its like they go into hiding,
    Good luck with your stall too I am going to do a stall weather permitting at school fete.

  2. I agree with you about expecting to buy things cheaper that rrp. I always wait for the sales and then hate the feeling of 'pile it high and sell it cheap' in the shops. I'm not the biggest fan of DJ's, there's never any staff to help you out.

  3. What is it with D J's ?.....A friend was there last week to find some clothes for her coming trip to Paris, she walked out with nothing, said she didn't see anything she wanted to buy.

    Maybe they need new buyers to stock the stores with decent appealing merchandise.

  4. Great article! I only go to the big department store when I know what I need to buy and I can't buy it anywhere else (eg. Jo Malone perfume for a friend's birthday). I have to admit that during the sales I did have a browse at the clothing just to have a look see. I came home empty-handed. It seems I buy just about everything online these days except for furniture which I buy from my local junk / antique stores. Amber

  5. I've found the customer service at DJ's over the last 12 months really disappointing. Staff haven't been the least bit interested in finding out when something was going to restocked. Not even willing to take my name and number and follow up or even ring their manager and find out. And other times I couldn't find anyone - and believed me I searched - and so left. Mary

  6. Great post! I was just thinking something similar whilst shopping the other day, looking for an evening dress. I have money to spend, but seriously, the racks were a total mess, the few things I did like looked as though they'd but thrown on the floor and stomped on (and they were still full price, loose buttons and all). No service at all (staff standing around complaining about other staff), until I walked from the department store to a smaller store where the staff couldn't do enough for me and I ended up buying a heap of casual clothes and wearing an old evening dress out that night.

  7. Hope the stall process is going well. I had a look at your site and had a flashback to your birthday cake stories. Brought a smile to my dial, for sure!!

  8. I am over 50, have a lot of money to spend, which I used to spend at DJs years ago. But now I often wander in and out with nothing. God only knows who buys their "older" stuff - not me, not even my mother, it is so frumpy. I do shop at their food hall a lot, though often walk away because of lack of service.

  9. Too true....I'm an ex-Country Road (while studying at uni) shopgirl and I can't believe the service in stores today. The other day I was buying something from a Queen St Mall surf shop for my son and the super cool shopboy grabbed his lunch and went on his break before I had even finished the credit card transaction. I've decided the only way to fight back is to not shop at these stores or be the stroppy lady who tells them what she thinks. It pains me to see SO much stock on the shelves and no one to help you buy it.

  10. i love your point of view on retailers and the whole retail scene. maybe we are all just shopped out and it isn't any fun any more when there's nothing to inspire one to spend money. gosh, that's sad! what's even sadder still is the lack of great second-hand goods to buy these days. they've all been picked over by charity staff that there's nothing left worth taking home. at least, that's what it's like up on the sunshine coast! Love your blog btw. Hx