You Can’t Suck and Blow in The Same Breath

You can’t suck and blow in the same breath. You can do one or the other, but you can’t do both at the same time. I have a soft spot for service providers, and those working with the general public., having spent over 30 years as a general manager for a major retailer. Profit and being profitable is not a dirty word. When small businesses go out of business, the whole community suffers. You have a choice. You can pay lower prices for the goods and services you buy , or you can have exceptional customer service, but you can’t have both.

Self-Serve Checkouts

I know a lot of customers are upset with retailers who are installing banks of self-serve checkouts. Some are going so far as to suggest you boycott those stores. I spent over 30 years in retail as a general manager for a major retailer. I understand the challenges they face. Margins continue to be squeezed. Costs continue to go up. Business owners are paying more for the goods they sell, the utilities they use, and the equipment they lease or buy. You have a choice. If you want exceptional customer service, you’ll have to be willing to pay more for the products you buy, but you can’t have low prices and service too. If you put it to a vote, the majority of customers would pick low prices.

ATM Machines

I remember the time, yes I’m that old, when my local bank installed an ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) along the side of the building. You had to stand out side – sometimes in inclement weather to use it. Customers had a choice. You can go inside the bank, stand in the line up and wait your turn to get served by the teller or learn to use the machine. Initially, there was a lot of pushback from customers who refused to use the device. If you wanted the bank to hold the line on what they charged for the services they provided, then something had to give. Either they had to charge you more for the services they offered so they could afford to hire more tellers or install more ATM’s, because they couldn’t afford to do both. At least nowadays, you don’t have to go outside to use one. Even better yet. Some banks now have drive-through lanes so you don’t even have to get out of your vehicle to use the ATM.

Fast-Food Outlets

I love the touch screen machines being installed at fast food outlets. You have a choice. You can either embrace the new way of ordering your food and pay for your purchase online or stand in the line up. However, keep in mind that they can only afford one cashier so it may take longer to place and pay for your order. The new frontier, now being introduced by the Taco Bell’s of the fast-food industry is contactless service. They are experimenting with multiple drive-through lanes, some of them dedicated to mobile orders and curbside pickups. Customers can scan their order via a QR code at the digital check-in screen, pay for their order online and then proceed to the pickup area. Handling cash with become a thing of the past.

You can’t suck and blow in the same breath. You can have low prices or pay for exceptional customer service, but you can’t have both.

Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. Brian specializes in soft skills training and leadership development. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit his website: or contact him directly –