Written by Doron Levy
On Saturday’s, my daughter, the aspiring thespian, has a drama class at a local theater. She goes with her friends and it ends at 12, right around lunch time. We love this chain called Mr. Submarine so we decided to try a new location just across the street from the theater.
I like patronizing these small merchant franchises because chances are, you are being served by the owner. The person making your sub, putting on the toppings, getting your drink, ringing you up has a personal and financial interest in the store. Back to the story….
We were with another family so we basically took over half of the store. Everyone loves kids, right? Ordered our subs, ate our subs, all is good. I decide it’s time for cookies (they have really great fresh cookies). I ask the associate behind the cash for the price, 3 for $1.49, not too bad (I miss the 99 cent price point thought). I’m about to hand over my cash and the owner, Amir, walks over and says to the girl, ‘Just void it out and ask him how many kids there are’. All of a sudden, I’m handed 10 cookies and my money back. I’m in shock! Really I am.
The other father I was with didn’t know about the freebies and went over to the counter to order some for his kids and he was handed 6 more cookies at no charge. Not really what you would expect from a chain but without even knowing it, Amir embraced and exercised the ‘merchant mentality‘.
Don’t think I’m looking for a freebie wherever I go, but now my kids will not shut up about the ‘free cookies’ at Mr. Sub and I will have to return there for lunch for the duration of the class which ironically is another 8 weeks. My friend and his 4 kids will also have to return. Amir did exactly what he was supposed to do as a retailer, make us have to come back.
After all the kids were strapped in to everyone’s respective SUV/Minivan, I went back into the store to get Amir’s card and ask him about merchant mentality. He politely said he didn’t know what I was talking about so (without charging him) I explained ‘merchant mentality’ and how he unconsciously exercised it.
Imagine if the big guys developed an internal culture using the ‘merchant mentality?’
Doron Levy is president of Captus Business Consulting. Captus provides support to the retail industry. His blog can be found at www.gocaptus.com/blog and can he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.