I spy with my little eye…

Let me ask you a question:
Can you spot any striking connection between Karstadt and Schlecker?
I mean beside the obvious, that they both went bankrupt not too long ago.
I’ll give you guys a hint: When you walk through any mall, what happens around 6:30 pm?
Well obviously its not as crowded anymore, but that’s not my point today..
No, what I was getting at is the fact, that Karstadt and Schlecker close their doors and switch the lights off around that time, shutdown.
Who of you has not been terribly annoyed before from their aweful business hours!
There should only be a few amongst you who weren’t bothered by it (yet)…
There is nothing more annoying than walking to the Schlecker store in your neighborhood on a saturday, only to realize that it’s closed (maybe mosquitos at night in your room appear to be similar annoying, but you get my point!!)
In my opinion their business hours have done a great deal to lead those two companys into insolvency.

Also if you compare the assortment of Schlecker to other drugstores, f.e. to DM you will realize, that they have way more to offer and to choose from. Even the stores are prettier! They are bigger and therefore brighter and friendlier. Schleckers concept was it to be present everywhere, no matter how small the stores were and how many other Schlecker stores already existed in the same neighborhood. As a matter of fact, on my 10 minutes way to universitiy via bike I pass 3 Schlecker stores..

And for the service, oh boy, how often did i wish for a friendly ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’ from the Schlecker employees, but as far as I remember I never received one!
And the only friendly word from a Karstadt employee I ever got was downstairs in their food department, someone giving out samples of cheese.

Considering these I can’t help wondering if those two company would have also went insolvent, if they had been more customer-friendly, concerning both business hours and service. Thinking about this I can’t help to think about other companys with similar awkward business hours (or even worse!). ‘Die deutsche Post’ for example has the worst business hours ever! But the Deutsche Post has been one of the biggest and successful german companys and still is. So what is the difference between companys like Karstadt/Schlecker and the Deutsche Post? It’s actually fairly simple, there are a lot of alternatives to Karstadt and Co.
If Schlecker is closed you just go to DM or Rossmann. No problem at all, but where do you go if the Post is closed?
Once that happens things get highly problematic!
That is the rule of substitution, once you have many possible substitutes for the good/service you are offering you ned to keep the customer coming to you, away from your competitors. And that does apparently not work without beeing extremly customer friendly in all areas!

Once you start thinking about stuff like that you start to discover very interesting theories and make connections
from which you might even benefit sometime later in your life.
So question everything and look for hidden pattern, because its fun to explore them!
Go research topics that randomly come to your mind and don’t be afraid to make bold assumptions,
they could turn out to be true afterall!

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10 Responses to I spy with my little eye…

  1. Fenja says:

    Nice choice of title, Kathi – this got me hooked instantly to read your post!
    I liked how you applied theories we discussed in class (e.g. rule of substitutes in Microeconomics) to issues that interest you in your daily life. Your conclusion that takes a step back from the specific case you’re talking about and takes the greater picture into account rounds off your posed nicely. Well down!

  2. lilmeu says:

    Hey Kathi!
    I totally understand why you are so upset with Schlecker because I also have made bad experiences with it. They were not as terrible as you might guess now. Well, I never was insulted by a employee or was convicted guilty for stealing something. But it´s about the small things: the cold atmosphere, colorless shelves, a rare supply of different products, poky corridors and the annoying “Schlecker” advertisement on TV; you know, what I mean?
    I as a common customer just avoid this drug store and buy my stuff elsewhere; but what about the employees? Schlecker indeedly is criticized because of its bad working conditions. Do you remember a store with lots of skilled personnel? No! Because the company has to save money, there is only one worker per store (and perhaps up to two assistants). No wonder that customer service falls off in quality.

    So, let me share my assumption: less capital of the company results in savings regarding to employ less and “cheap” workers. That leads to a bad service which cannot meet the customers demands. What do the customers do then? Leave the store and buy at Schlecker´s competitors. What about the employees? Well, the empty store leads to boredom and pessimism which results in even worse customer caring.
    This vicious circle had to be interrupted; but now it´s already to late.
    Schlecker saved money in the wrong place, to my mind. Instead of decrease skilled employment they rather would have closed some stores; like as you already wrote, 3 stores during your way to university are too much!

    But did you try to get the bottom of the reason why the company decided to do so?
    I mean, that must include any strategic targets, doesn´t it?
    Does the company wanted to be present everywhere?
    But this is might not the purpose, if they already close at 6.30 pm…

    All in all, you have written about an very interesting and current topic! Perhaps, you could expand your thoughts and add some visuals to make your article more attractive 😉

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  4. Mai says:

    Kathi, I love your short but precise post 🙂 They are direct, not a lot of story telling, but rather pointing out the interesting thinks to reconsider. In fact your post was an inspiration for my post about Asian culture of small shops; and it seems very obvious that kind personnel is a big point of success. Also, the heading is really well thought out, very catchy and inspiring, could be a line of a song 😉
    Can’t wait to read your next blogpost.

  5. xxanh says:

    Dear Kathi,

    Everytime I read one of your blogpost, I feel really amused. I just love your style of writing, there are emotions, irony but also facts. And the most funny thing is that you are actually writing about a serious topic, which is not at all funny! The reader can feel your anger, you put so many emotions in your words-amazing 🙂 I noticed that you had a lot of ideas in your mind as your were writing this post. You tried to include them and connect them, e.g. Schlecker & Karstadt are substitutes, comparison to Deutsch Post or talking about customer care. I had the feeling that it was a little bit messy and unsorted. You jumped from on point to another point, therefore I was a little bit confused sometimes. You should also include facts and data in order to give your topic more substance. But I am sure that you will improve that in your next post, since there is a lot of potential-I know it ! Keep your style of writing because that is probably the most unique charasteristic of your blogposts! ❤

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  9. angi2012 says:

    Your headline is really cool, I just had to read who you are watching ;)Your very serious topic is actually written very interesting with lots of humor. It kept me reading further. I would have wished a few pictures to support your statements. However, I’m looking forward to your next post.

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