My wife and I took our 16 year-old daughter shopping for a prom dress this past Saturday. Being the father of two teen daughters and the only male in the house, I’m a veteran when it comes to doing "the girl thing". I’ve had sixteen years complete with Disney Princesses, endless giggling sleepover nights, strange emotional mood swings, and late night runs to the store for "female things". I’ve also had sixteen years of being the "bag man" on many a shopping trip. My job – as the dad – is to tag along and bring out the credit card at appropriate moments.
At the first store we visited on Saturday, I encountered two other bag men. The store was filled with teen-age girls and mothers running frantically from dress rack to dress rack. Being a hardened veteran, I ducked my head and entered the fray – only to be pleasantly surprised when it took a mere ten minutes for my wife and daugther to decide there wasn’t a reasonably priced dress in the store in the style my daughter wanted. As we exited the shop, I saw the two other bag men. They stood anxiously by the door with deer-in-the-headlight stares and hands in their pockets (holding credit cards with an iron grip, no doubt). I could only give them a nod of sympathy as I made my escape.
I don’t understand why women’s stores haven’t figured out how to cater – just a little – to the "bag man". How about a couple of chairs, a few old copies of Sports Illustrated, and a small television tuned to March Madness? Keep the bag man distracted and content – and you just might keep the females in the shop longer. The longer the girls stay the more you might sell. The happier the bag man is – the more likely he will be to loosen the purse strings at checkout time.
Great Customer Service (and marketing) includes catering to the bag-man.
Here’s a a short list of female-centered stores where this bag-man has longed for a small chair, a portable television, and an issue of ESPN the magazine: