Well the weather was ramping up to about 70 degrees and it was gorgeously sunny so I figured I’d hop on my bike and do some shopping in town. Like many towns in the is country, Hengelo town center is suffering from pernicious economic anemia due apparently to a combination of ridiculous rent prices and a general shoppers’ malaise. What to do? What to do? I’m no economist, but I am a consumer and I’d like to suggest an easy fix: Improve the dismal service one gets in stores, cafés or on the market. Until this happens, I prefer to shop, lunch, and flaneer in Muenster. Unfortunately, I don’t always have time to go to Muenster.
This is to the wackadoodle saleswoman at Douglas Parfumerie on the Enschedesestraat: You don’t interrupt your transaction with your customer (me) to help your dip of a colleague reassure her customer for five minutes (I timed you) that yes, indeed, that number corresponds to that particular nailpolish shade. I will be shopping at the competition more often in future.
This is also to the girls at the flower stall on the market. I arrived while you were miemeling with a customer over two slightly different colors of tulips and waited patiently for the transaction to be completed. You can probably imagine that I was a bit miffed when you made a beeline for the customer who’d arrived after me. But when you ignored me, for a second time, I had to say something. When I told you that it was my turn your answer was that you can’t keep track of who gets to the stall first. Then you shouldn’t be working on a market stall. My vegetable guy has no problem knowing who arrived first. As there were only two customers at the stall when I arrived, and your colleage was helping the other one, it may be time for you to have your eyes checked, sweet thing. Your colleague is a peach. When the other customer wasn’t happy with the result of the bouqet she’d ordered, your charming colleague told her that hell would freeze over before she remixed the the flowers in another combination. You lost a good customer today. Maybe more than one.
This is to the salesstaff at Promiss on the Nieuwstraat: You greet customers when they walk into the store. You do not ignore customers when they walk through the door and continue lengthy conversations about your personal lives at a volume level that makes your customers uncomfortable. Most of the women who shop at Promiss are like me, women of a certain age. We need some emotional support in the dressingroom. You see a size 14 taking stuff off the 12 rack to the dressingroom, your immediate reaction should be to grab a 14, follow her into the dressingroom and tell her the item “runs small” try a size up. Its a lie, but it will make you a sale and make her day as well. Most women (not me, of course) don’t know how to put together an outfit. You see a woman making for the dressingroom with a pair of black slacks, you follow with some co-ordinates. So what if she only buys the black slacks? She’ll buy them because she tried them on with clothes that co-ordinate and more than that, she’ll remember the attention and come back. I shop at Promiss online these days, it saves me agita.
To all café personnel in the city of Hengelo. Buck up! Get on the ball. You want a tip? You better work for it, baby. I don’t want to order a drink and have it show up 15 minutes later because you’re messing with your Smartphone while you’re waiting at the bar to pick up.
There are a few remarkable exceptions and I’d like to mention those:
Beauty Junkies Urban Spa — Molenstraat My home away from home. Top quality beauty treatments and a fabulous atmosphere.
Newport Blue— Nieuwstraat It may be a chain store, but it is run as a family business with the professional, yet warm and personal service you’d expect.
Morssink — Wemenstraat For decades a byword in fine china, kitchen equipment and cookware. Fine service.
Het Broekhuis— Wemenstraat Another men’s clothing store with wonderful service.
Sima — Drienerstraat My tailor. Looks like a Turkish Gerard Depardieu, sews like a dream.
Ophof Opticiens/Audiciens— Corner of Drienerstraat and Enschedesestraat. Artisans, professionals. I trust them with my eyes and ears, need I say more?
Popeye Records — Drienerstraat Yes, vinyl records, and cds and the mondo music afficionado, Johan Dollekamp more than 30 years at the helm.
De Wereldwinkel – Drienerstraat Dutch Oxfam. Lovely.
Toko Heng Kee— Drienerstraat “Chinese” grocery store. If they don’t have it and/or can’t order it, it doesn’t exist.