Suggestive selling hits a little too close to home.
One of my favorite things to do at lunch hour is to take a walk through the big Kmart
store in Penn Station a few blocks away from our offices. This store is always a
madhouse and I am just amazed watching how merchandise flies out of there. I am
fascinated to watch seasonal items, like Christmas decorations and most recently Easter
candy, get consolidated down as the holiday approaches, to be immediately followed by
the stock for the next big selling period.
I walked through this Kmart the week before Easter observing shoppers snatching
up pastel pink Easter grass and Palmer chocolate rabbits. However, I was shocked
when I went on my home computer at night and saw an e-mail from Kmart with the
headline “We noticed you browsing. Here are some more great deals we know you’ll
For a split second my heart stopped beating. I didn’t buy anything on this shopping
trip, so how did Kmart even know I was in their store? Then I thought perhaps it this
is all that new fangled smartphone tracking devices that our Technology Editor Deena
Amato-McCoy is always writing about. But how can that be? Thanks to AT&T’s superior
service I can never even get a signal when I am in Kmart, so they couldn’t be using my
phone to watch what I am browsing.
Then when I downloaded the rest of the e-mail I saw that Kmart was suggesting I buy a
fire pit, including a Jaclyn Smith designer model. Sure, that would make a great addition
to my office! It would be ideal for taking the chill out when the air conditioner is too
strong, disposing of old notes and toasting any marshmallows that might make their way
into our Grocery Headquarters Test Kitchens. While I – and apparently Kmart – thought
this was a great idea, I’m sure the sticks-in-the-mud in Building Services would have
some sort of problem with it.
But I never even stepped foot into the Kmart fire pit department. I didn’t even know they
sold fire pits.
Then it finally dawned on me. It turns out the night before I was online shopping for
a firewood rack to put in my backyard. I had visited homedepot.com, sears.com and
kmart.com. I guess they figured if I had a stack of firewood I would need something to
burn it in. I was relieved that Kmart’s customer tracking was not as sophisticated as I had