Let's face it, Americans are very good at many things; count selling or merchandising among them.
Last week I visited two big computer-electronic stores: Future Shop and Best Buy. The two stores stand almost side-by-side, but I walked into Best Buy first. There was a door-greeter who told me where to go — in a very nice way — and as we meandered about, we were also helped twice by salespeople on the floor. It wasn't difficult to get their attention; Cuppa didn't even have to bat her eyelashes. However, when I couldn't find exactly what I wanted, we headed over to Future Shop where there was no door-greeter; neither was there anyone who felt urge to help us as we wandered about aimlessly. We soon departed — more than somewhat ticked off.
One strange thing about it is that, supposedly, Future Shop employees work off sales commissions, but Best Buy's people don't. Wouldn't one, therefore, expect those on commission to try harder? Another strange thing is that both stores are owned by the same company. At least they now are. The difference, in this writer's most humble opinion, is that Future Shop began as a Canadian company, and Best Buy has always been an American company. Therefore, they have different cultures, the American store emphasizing service and the originally Canadian one being more stand-offishly Canadian.
I remember Dale mentioning something similar when he was building a deck (I think that's what it was). He tried his best to do business with the Canadian, Rona, but was unable to make much headway. Rona simply wasn't as friendly, accommodating or competitive as the American, Home Depot. To be fair, Dale also rails against the American-style management of his former employer; no system is perfect, eh?
This isn't exactly a newly minted coin, for almost two centuries ago, Canadian author, Thomas Chandler Haliburton, created a character called Sam Slick. As his name at least partially suggests, Sam was a slick, door-to-door salesman: a Yankee salesman who preyed on humble Nova Scotians. To be sure, Haliburton was satirizing both Americans and Canadians in his short stories. Nevertheless, the American knew how to sell; he could even appear friendly ion order to accomplish this.
We used to live in a border town and were able to cross over fairly easily to Port Huron on the American side. I can recall the friendliness and helpfulness that I was offered in the American shops totally taking me aback — in a good way — although anything can be overdone, and sometimes one just likes to browse unimpeded. That was awhile ago, and since then, I have noticed that Canadian retaillers have generally improved customer service. However, in some cases at least, it appears that they/we still have a long way to go. Meanwhile, however, as in Sam Slick's era, Yankees can still teach Canuckleheads a thing or two about relating to their customers.