Covid-hit retailers have forgotten how to win customers back

No one wants to be served by Mr or Mrs Grumpy. You will gain nothing

No one wants to be served by Mr or Mrs Grumpy.

You will gain nothing by constantly turning your troubles over in your mind. Instead, think about things in life that put a grin on your face. Wear a visor instead of a mask and greet every customer with a cheeky smile.

Every retailer appears to be doing a conscientious job in making shopping safe by paying close attention to social distancing. But in doing so, many have abandoned two core principles of good shopkeeping: attractive displays and great service,

Over the past four months, shopping areas have become plastered with so many coronavirus posters that customers must find it difficult to spot what the shops are actually selling.

Precincts are peppered with Covid marshals keeping the numbers down and signs have been stuck on every surface repeating social distancing guidelines. As if that isn’t enough, every shop is also urging customers to follow a one-way system and keep two metres apart.

Some window displays are totally hidden by Covid billboards, and the message is repeated inside: all over the floor, behind the counter, above the till and on colleagues’ badges. I’ve seen messages fill the sneeze screen and one (unbelievably) stuck on the ceiling.

It has become such a habit that I’m willing to bet coronavirus notices will still be on display in 2024. That’s one of the real worries about this pandemic: will some of its inconveniences ever disappear, or are we permanently stuck with Zoom, remote working, queuing two metres apart and the pubs closing at 10pm?

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