August 29, 2006

You're Out, But It's Safe

The Sports Authority, nationwide retailer of everything athletic, has horrible artistic and symbolic judgment.

On the doors when exiting their stores are photos of a catcher tagging a runner at home plate. Over the photo is a balloon with the words "Thank You!". Directly above the photos are those generic "Out" signs with the green circle and the arrow. Get it? "You're out!". Thank you for being out? Goodbye! Leave! Could you hurry, there is a line!

Surely, most people would prefer to be "Safe!". At the least, they want nothing to do with being congratulated for being out.

Some smarmy retail environment genius probably had a great idea on the drawing board but it lacks thoughfulness and consideration for the customers' frame of mind - not to mention that the marketer was probably clueless about the out sign above his clever graphic. All the positive merchandising and astute customer service so well crafted and trained into every last linoleum tile of their superstore will never obscure that last image visitors take in as they walk away to tell everyone they know about their experience.

Is the last image you want your customers to see that of the winning run being sent to the bench, the fans filing back to the parking garage in depression, Casey standing in the rain, mouth agape, staring at the scoreboard?