Aapne Thank You Bola Kya?? Are you serious, Retail Employees’ Day?!

Posted: December 12, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

So did you guys notice this ad today?

I had to read it twice to understand that it was all serious.

And it was asking us, the paying retail consumers, to say thank you to the retail employees, when we go to shop.

Now I am all for dignity of labour and have nothing in particular against retail employees, but at this rate, next they will have a “PSU Bank Karmachari Diwas” and an “Excise Department Staff Day”, and we’ll have to say thank you and give gifts to them too.

I mean, it is a different thing to have a Doctor’s Day or something like that, but a Retail Employees’ Day, where we, the consumers, need to give them more respect and thank them, is a bit far fetched.. !

I appreciate the few examples given there – a Chotu who delivers tea with a smile, or the Tambi giving you nice steamed idli.


a. These are the equivalent of kirana retailers, who perhaps have a stronger sense of customer service,

b. Also examples are often from the hospitality end of retail, rather than the product stores, and


c. The real association behind this, is of organized retail. The last place in India that you’d associate with good, friendly service!!

Because we do not have a Nordstrom in India just yet. And until then, without much exception amongst the other retailer brands, what we get is indifference, incompetence, gossipy check out counter clerks who are least interested in you, the customer, and the like.

Yes, I am generalizing to a large extent, but that is because, this is the general experience we have at stores in India!!

I appreciate the motives of TRRAIN, which I hope, include providing better training and getting retail employees to a better level, overall. But that process may have just started. As the process starts, you cannot jump in and demand that respect, on day one!! There’s a long way to go.

I am not clear what the objectives of this campaign are. If these are to show the employees, that TRRAIN is doing something for them, and letting the world know that as employers, they care, that is fine. Then, it is an internal HR exercise, and the outside customers don’t really matter.

If however, it was actually meant for the outside customers to feel like they have been enjoying favors for which they need to be grateful, then they’ve got it all wrong!


Improve the service levels. Get the real smile on the retail employees’ faces. Let them be really helpful to the customer – not by exception, but by rule. It’s a long way to go. DO all that, and THEN come back to the consumer. And ask for our respect. We will be happy to say ‘Thank you’ and a lot more!


  1. ameesha says:

    Dear Sanjay,

    Appreciate your views on Retail Employees’ Day.
    At http://www.trrain.org is where you will find the exact purpose of what our trust stands for & what are its objectives.

    Yes nordstorm is what we as retailers have grown up on….but what stops us from creating our own nordstorm way? and i fully agree with you about bad service at various retail / restaurants, etc but out of the 100 bad service examples…there are 2 or 3 which are exemplary & go beyond the call of duty….TRRAIN Awards is one such initiative to recognize & reward those front end sales associates who went beyond the call of duty.


    Albeit a small step ….but yes, we have far far to go before we can reach an optimum level of customer service all round.

    • Sanjay Mehta says:

      Hi Ameesha,
      Good to hear from you and see your feedback.

      I have nothing against rewarding retail employees. Or any employees for that matter.
      We all do this in our businesses, and elsewhere.

      What the advertising conveyed was that, as retail consumers, we should be thankful to these employees, etc.

      That was what I had issues about. Like you say, when the good experience in retail is a 1 or 2 in a 100, is it the right time or place to go to public and ask them to be thankful for that??

      Doing something internally, or even talking about TRRAIN activities and what you are trying to do, is fine. Asking the consumer to be thankful, is extremely premature, when the change is yet to be visible in any way.

      Trust you appreciate my point of view..

  2. rajvraman says:

    Hey Sanjay Read your post. While generally i agree. I would also like top remember those times in restaurants that a waiter has made my day with a little gesture. Believe it or not , it has happened. Like you said theres a doctors day, but news is rife on doctors behaving like marketing agents advocating a angiblasty where not required, but hey there are some good guys there too.
    So why not?
    A toast for the good ones.

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