Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Where has the year gone?

For me, I am sitting here and asking the simple question of “Where did the year go?” 

For a lot of us, we have been getting back into a new routine and finding out what worked and what doesn’t work after almost two years of restrictions and changes that have happened around us. In some cases, for some people, the way they work has changed from being in the office every day to now working at home either all the time or most of the time.

In some cases, the changes are going to be permanent and for other’s the new year is going to result in going back into the office either more often or every day. For someone like me my home is also my office, so there isn’t a change that is going to happen other than when clients want me in their location, which has happened all along.

One of the things that I have noticed is a lot more people are spending more time at home instead of always wanting to be out and doing things. For us, we don’t go out as much as we did in the past, and that means that we have more time to spend together at home doing things that we enjoy. We have also found ways of being happy doing things without the need of being among a lot of people.

In a lot of ways, this year has been the year when we have been able to discover our new routines and our new normal. It may still change some over the next little while, but figuring out how to be happy is what is important. As I am writing this the end of the year is quickly approaching and the year will roll over to a different number but what’s the only real difference, I can see that is going to be happening for us. Yes, the year seems to have gone by quickly in a lot of ways, but then maybe that is because we are doing what we enjoy doing.

So, with that, I wish every one a Happy New Year and I hope that 2023 is a good year for you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Store layouts

Over the last little while, I have noticed some things about stores and how they lay out their aisles that have started to bother me. I am going to try and note some of them here.

  1. Poles in aisles – yes, I know that poles are part of the structure for a building, and they are needed, but do they need to be in the middle of the aisle where customers are walking? The aisles should be made so that the poles are in the shelving section and not blocking where customers walk. It seems that putting the aisles where the poles are is the lazy way of designing a store.
  2. Narrow aisles – there are stores where two small buggies cannot pass easily in the aisle, and that makes for a rather difficult shopping experience. If you need to have aisles that are that narrow, make sure that you have a method of controlling which direction customers travel in those aisles.
  3. Low stock – here is something that has been happening since Covid, and now it is starting to look very interesting in some stores. We have been in a few stores and there are either large sections of open space where bins had been in the past or the product is now set up one deep on a shelf over a large section of the shelf. Yes, I understand that there are some shipping challenges.
  4. Restocking shelves during a busy time – this is one that we encountered this weekend, which is the weekend before Christmas. We were in a store, and they were restocking shelves, so part of the aisle on one side has a cart with boxes and then just past that there was the person kneeling on the floor restocking the shelves. This resulted in an obstacle course around both the cart and the person. It would have been a little better if the cart had of been on the same side as the person, so the restocking was being done when the store wasn’t that busy.
  5. Checkout lines – one thing that I have liked that a lot of stores have started doing is one single check out line, and you go to the next available cashier. This has meant that you aren’t stuck behind someone because of an issue they are having, checking out. What is the problem right now is not knowing where the line continues once it has gone out of the marked area. I have seen a store have the line go one way one day and then a different way another day is that means that customers don’t know where lines are, and they end up standing in stops thinking they are in line when they aren’t.
  6. Not enough cashiers – this could be a staffing problem or just a case of someone not calling for assistance. There are times when the line is growing to check out and there is either only one or two cashiers available, but there are a lot of other staff restocking shelves in the store. There other staff should be helping check the customers out. Michael’s at least during the busy time does something to assist with checking out and that is while you are standing in line, one staff member is going along the line and entering your purchases and giving you a card to give to the cashier. This means that once you are at the cashier all of your purchases are already scanned, and you just pay, and you are on the way.

A good store layout and staffing can make it a better experience for a customer and make for happier staff because customers aren't getting upset with them. I know that the layout of the store isn’t determined by the staff, but whoever oversees the layout needs to think about the flow of traffic in the store, not just what might be the easiest for them to design.


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Furniture Placement

Why do hotels and restaurants put their furniture in the most unusual places?

We have been looking at this in various locations and have found that with some hotels why have placed either desks or a drawer arrangement over part of an outlet. This means that you cannot plug your devices in to recharge in these plugs. A lot of hotels don’t have a lot of outlets to begin with, and putting furniture that blogs the outlets doesn’t help.  In today’s world, people have more than one device that they want to use while away, and they also need to charge these things. It is always interesting to see the locations of the plugs because sometimes they are behind a piece of furniture, and you can’t reach them or there just aren’t enough outlets around. It would be nice if more hotels ensured that there is an outlet near the bed so that devices can be changed in the evenings.

Restaurants are another place that have very odd placements of furniture. Pictures are placed on the wall and then the furniture is placed, and it ends up that the picture is partly blocks but either part of a booth or by other items in the restaurant. I have also seen that restaurants have placed pictures with writing on them up at a high level, making it nearly impossible for most people to read the words on those pictures. If you are going to be placing pictures with words on them, make sure that people can see the writing and read it.

Some fast-food starts have started to place outlets near booths so that people can charge devices while they are having their meal. This can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage. The advantage is you can possibly top up your device while you enjoy a quick bite, but the disadvantage is that people end up spending hours sitting at a table even when the fast-food location is busy. If you are going to be charging your device while at a fast-food location, please try and limit how long you are sitting there because there may be others trying to charge their devices as well.

The placement of furniture is quite often a challenge, but it would be nice if you could enjoy the environment you are in and not have to fight to plug something in or enjoy that artwork that is hanging on the wall.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Reflection of yourself

Have you ever looked in a body of water and looked at a reflection of yourself?  What made us who we are is something that is hard to explain.  No, we weren't just made up of good experiences, some experiences were bad, but they also helped make us who we are today.

If we cannot forget the bad experiences, they are going to impact us for the rest of our lives.  What people need to do is realize that a bad experience happened and let it go.  No, it may not be totally forgotten, but at least saying it happened, and I am not going to let it impact the rest of my life is important.  Being able to accept it happened but not dwell on it will make you a better person. You may have to talk through the experience with someone or write it down before you can put it in the back of your mind.

Looking into who you are is something we all do from time to time, and it's important to look at the good experiences and be happy with them.  The experiences that weren't, so good are lessons that we learned and things that cannot be changed from in the past, but experiences that we don't want to repeat. We need to remember the good experiences and enjoy those feelings, as those are the experiences that have made you who you are and why you smile and feel good about yourself.

Knowing how to accept that a bad experience happened and letting it go will help make that reflection of yourself even better.  You will know that you are a stronger person for letting it go.