I was thinking recently, I think I used to work in a relatively SC free zone!
I used to work at Argos, a catalogue store well known in England. For those who dont know it, I will explain how the system works. There are 2 areas of the store. The shopfloor has desks around the place with laminated versions of the 1500+ page catalogue ring-binded to them. The desks also have a stock checker on them, which enables customers to check if the item they want is in stock, using live info from the store server. If the product is in stock, they write the code on a slip and take it to a cashier at the till desk. The cashier types the code in and repeats what the product is and the price, along with any notes / promotional / battery details that are flagged up. (the main catalogue is 6-monthly, promotions are run monthly, so customers will not know about any promos unless they read the promo leaflet) Customer confirms, and pays, while a picking slip is printed in the warehouse, the second, larger area of the store. Customer then moves along to the pick-up point with their reciept and collects their product from the staff there.
There is limited stock on display, mostly promotional items and toys and brightly coloured stuff. And none of it is edible
so the potential for SC'ness here is greatly reduced. Its rare that people leave products in random places, because most of them only pick up goods that they have just purchased!! So they dont leave things lying around in the wrong place etc!
Out of stock complaints are reduced because of the stock checker system. They find what they want, check the stock, and if it aint in stock, they choose another item!
If they want to inspect an item before they purchase it, they arrange a veiwing, in the same way they purchase it, and the staff open the box and show them, they dont just tear into any old box and wang the packaging around like i see customers doing in some shops
The other thing about Argos is its computer system is very very good. If a customer sees an item is out of stock at one branch, the staff can access stock data at the 20 nearest stores, and reserve anything for them at any of those stores - customers like this, and so rarely leave without a smiley face, even if the product they want is 15 miles away, they know they're going to get it!
The only time SCness arises in Argos is at busy times. See, all the staff are trained in picking, collection, and cashiering. When there's a queue at the tills, people come from picking and collection to man the tills. Then the throughput of customers means there's a queue at the collection point! So staff then come off the tills and man collection and picking, even if there's still a queue at the tills. Customers queueing at the tills dont like to see this.
You also get those who dont get the system, they come straight to collection point expecting to pay for their good there, and I have to explain they have to pay before their goods are picked. That got the
look a few times.
Then there's those who arrange a viewing of a product, come to collection to view it, and them try to give me the cash for it!!! NOOO you have go and pay someone with a cash drawer!!!! IE. a cashier!!! "Cant I just give you the money here?" NO! I'm not insured to take £300 off you and walk halfway round the store to a till!!!!
However, in all my time at Argos, about 4 months over Christmas, I never got yelled at, never got belittled, and never experienced any major sucky customers, the exception being those who said our queues are too long. As I explained above, theres nothing we could do and most were understanding. Very pleasant place to work.
I just though i'd bring a bit of light relief to the SC forum! There is light at the end of the tunnel