Okay, maybe the news reports of Lowe’s closing some stores aren’t really because of toilet seat bolts but I do think there is a connection – no pun intended.
A few days ago my wife read to me a list of physical stores that are closing some of their stores. Lowe’s was on that list. I can tell you why with my example of trying to get a simple toilet seat bolt.
We decided to replace a couple of toilet seats in our house so we went to Lowe’s to pick out a couple of new seats. When we got home and I began to install them, I discovered that the old toilet seat bolt was not compatible with the new seat. Who would have thought that?
I made trips to the store TWICE in an attempt to find the treasured toilet seat bolt. On my second trip I was fortunate – well, I thought I was fortunate – to actually find a Lowe’s employee to help me. He was not any help. I asked for a compatible bolt and he took me to the section when he said, “These are all I got. One of these should work.”
Frustrated, I went online and found the compatible bolts and ordered them.
This is why physical stores are closing. Lack of in-person customer service and limited supplies in stock.
When a consumer gets better service by ordering online, why go to the trouble of actually going to the store?
There are times I prefer to go to a physical store and put my hands on an item that I am interested in buying. Of course, a toilet seat isn’t something I want to put my hands on in the first place but there are things like tech equipment that I like to see in person before I decide to purchase them. With Christmas shopping season almost upon us, I am hopeful that I can accomplish most of my shopping online this year.
Sadly, good customer service is difficult to find in the physical stores now. People are becoming increasingly challenged with dealing with people face-to-face. Employers are now having to train new employees on how to relate to customers in the 3-D world.
Another reason is that their are limited supplies of items in stock. I have even had employees to tell me to go online to find a part. Seriously? It is frustrating when you go to a store only to discover that the store does not carry all the parts you need. If I am going to take time to go to a store, I don’t want to have to go on an internet search to find the missing pieces. If you carry a Church brand toilet seat then you need to carry all the necessary parts.
According to Businessinsider.com, here are the list of stores rumored to be closing:
- Payless Shoe Source (2,500 stores)
- Gymboree (805 stores)
- Dress Barn (650 stores)
- Charlotte Russe (520 stores)
- Fred’s (520 stores)
- Family Dollar (390 stores)
- Shopko (371 stores)
- Charming Charlie (261 stores)
- Chico’s (250 stores)
- Gap (230 stores)
- Avenue (222 stores)
- Walgreens (200 stores)
- Forever 21 (178 stores)
- LifeWay (170 stores)
- The Kitchen Collection (160 stores)
- Sears (124 stores)
- Kmart (115 stores)
- Bed, Bath and Beyond (50 stores)
- Pier 1 Imports (57 stores)
- Party City (55 stores)
- Office Depot/OfficeMax (50 stores)
- Lowe’s (20 stores)
Honestly, I have never entered the doors to many of the stores on this list but you can see the trend that is happening with physical stores unable to compete with online shopping options.
If the frustration of finding the right toilet seat bolts are any indication, I can see why.