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9-11: Fall of the twin towers and the terrible negligence of our shop staff

The latest mystery shopper report was in and once again we had been caught out. We were marked down on some minor items but our biggest failing; the one that we failed regularly was that we had failed to cross sell. That is, we had not offered the mystery shopper a related product to go with what was requested. Cross selling was something that most of the staff really did not like doing. We were used to providing customer service – providing what our customers wanted, not trying to sell them something they did not. To be fair we were not being pressured into selling something totally unrelated to what the customer wanted and for some it would be a reminder for something they wanted. However, no one really liked doing it. Even if the sales staff smile when they ask the question it doesn’t mean they enjoy doing it, it’s just a part of their job.

As a part of our punishment/training we had to go into work early for a pep talk. The meeting was set for September 12, 2001.

Australia is about 14 hours ahead of New York, so the 9/11 attacks had occurred during the night here. My wife awoke early and was up with our seven months old child and had the TV on and was the first in our house to hear the news. There had been a terrorist attack in the USA. Passenger jets had crashed into the New York twin towers, the Pentagon and another had crashed into a swamp. There was real concern as it was not clear if there were any other planes being hijacked. Were there more to come? Who was behind it? This was something new. We had not seen this type of attack before. Even though it happened on the other side of the world, the media brought the images to us and it was disturbing. I got ready for work and headed off for our pep talk.

Our Manager attempted to keep us focused. We need to cross sell. We have to ensure that this does not happen again. I didn’t really pay much attention in the meeting. I don’t think anyone really did. It was all so surreal. There had been a major attack and we were worrying about selling more to people to get profits up higher than they already were. Before long we heard George Bush declare “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” and we knew it was not going to be pretty.

It must have had some effect because a few months after this I enrolled in a TAFE course and after working for the same organisation for 18 years I started looking for another job. This event was not the only reason for seeking a change but I think it contributed to it. Almost twelve months later I walked into a new job where I knew I would never have to cross sell again.