The Container Store

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to get back to The Container Store.  It’s over an hour drive one way to get there and I probably go maybe twice a year, with gift cards.  I joke that going to The Container Store for me is like a kid in a candy store.  I can spend hours perusing the aisles – appreciating the options available, discovering new products and ideas, getting inspired with new ideas and approaches, and just simply drooling over all the products there.

This last time I was at The Container Store I became aware of something that has happened every time I am in the store.  First, before I delve into that, let me share that I probably talked to at least 4 different salespersons on the floor while I was there shopping.

The first time was after I found a product that I thought might work for me although I wanted to adhere it in a different way than it was packaged, so I wanted to ask someone.  She was quite helpful, agreeing with me that my idea should work fine, and then she went on to make an alternative suggestion of attaching it to what I wanted that was different from both the packaging and my idea.  She helped problem solve a way to make the product work for what I wanted. Since I was already talking to her, I asked her a couple of other general questions, thanked her, and resumed perusing the aisles.

One of the things I’d done for this trip was to take a couple of the pages from their catalogs of products I wanted to check out, things I thought might work for my husband and I.  When I found one of those, I realized it wasn’t at all what I wanted or needed. So, I found another sales associate to ask if they had any ideas of a product that would meet my needs.  She understood completely what I wanted, agreed that the one product wasn’t good for that and lead me directly to an alternative.

A little later I was back looking more closely at those products, next to me was a salesperson helping someone else.  The customer was apparently looking for something quite specific.  The salesperson was understanding and admitted that she didn’t think The Container Store sold anything that would meet her needs.  Then she went on to suggest another store to check if they might have what the customer needed.  Before the salesperson left, I snagged her to ask some questions about this product.  She asked me some questions about how I planned to use it and shared that it wasn’t the strongest for toting around regularly, the one she used was beginning the tear.  As we continued to talk she checked with me that I wasn’t planning on stacking it with other things – it wasn’t sturdy enough for that either.

Unfortunately my experience in most stores is disappointing.  The people don’t seem to know their products well.  They more often than not seem disinterested in actually helping the customer find what they need.  Even more often, they are unlikely to direct the customer to another store to assist them in getting what they need.  I was pleased to hear each salesperson being helpful and honest with both myself and other customers.

It was a little later that it occurred to me that each time I go to The Container Store, regardless of which storefront it is, I find the staff to be happy to help me – not simply there, but actually pleased to talk and lead me different products.  They seem patient and content to help me as little or as much as I need.  This latest trip was to my third store in the Chicago area and all three stores have been the same in this way.  It’s wonderful to experience great customer service.

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