Imagine the scenario. You are a manager who has just taken over a new branch. You get there and soon discover that it's falling down around you.
Not only that, but it is clear that previous managers have done nothing about it. The staff are completely disillusioned and have no interest in training, helping, or taking on board any solution you come up with, sticking with the firm belief that: "It won't make any difference anyway."
This negativity is passed down to your customers, and consequently your competition, who both similarly regard your shop as a bit of a joke.
This is a situation I recently found myself in. And if you think that sounds difficult, how do you think Yvonne Rankin and her team are currently feeling about the prospect of working with thousands of angry Threshers managers who apparently have nothing better to do than tell all and sundry that "this company is going to the dogs" and "head office are only looking out for themselves"?
In my opinion, writing letters to OLN is doing nothing for the company except letting the competition know exactly what's going wrong and nothing about what's going right. Just how is that helping a difficult situation?
Last week, our delivery was four hours late. After calling around a few stores, I discovered the delivery team was, in fact, on schedule, but one manager had decided that "they probably wouldn't turn up on time anyway", and had stayed in bed for an extra four hours, thus holding back the entire day for every other shop on the district. In what way is that supportive?
I think these managers need to re-evaluate whether they are looking out for the company's best interests, or just looking out for themselves.
Competing with the big boys on specialist ground
So 26% of off-licences are now selling toiletries (OLN, April 18)? Presumably that excludes some of the wines that double up as drain cleaners ... but I jest.
It's all very well to assume the convenience approach is the key to survival, but I have a Tesco Express breathing down my neck.
I can't hope to offer the sort of range of sanitary products, cat food and ready meals that they do - my only hope is to capitalise on the trade I pick up from their customers who want to buy wine that isn't Gallo, Blossom Hill or Jacob's Creek.
If you look at some of the specialists that have run into difficulties in recent years, or even gone bust, it's frequently the ones which made the mistake of not being specialist enough.