retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting story in this morning’s edition of The Washington Post about the demise of the pay phone.

“The number of them across the country has dwindled from a high of 2.7 million in the mid-1990s to about 1.9 million now, supplanted by the more personal wireless phones that fit in a pocket,” the Post writes. “The small companies that maintain them are pulling out of the business. Even at the higher price of 50 cents a call, many phones run at a deficit -- it costs more to clean, maintain and service them…”
KC's View:
This story intrigued us in part because pay phones used to be a profit center upon which retailers no longer can count.

But it also reminded us of an idea we saw recently in a travel magazine that could be easily adapted by retailers.

There is an establishment out there (we can’t remember which one) that has a bunch of cell phone chargers available to people using the bar or restaurant. In their case, it serves a dual purpose – not only do the chargers provide a service to patrons, but they also stop people from actually using their cell phones while eating or drinking.

We thought that was a pretty good idea for retailers to use that would allow them to provide a basic, necessary service to customers.

Just a thought…as we start to formulate notions about what will constitute customer service on 2003 and beyond…