First Impressions Make a Big Difference,
But Are Not the Only Thing That Matters
by Ally Curran
I’ve always heard not to judge a book by its cover, and
often you have to do just that when you picture something one way and
it turns out completely different.
While visiting South Carolina recently, I set out to see how the Low Country
did business. After researching nearby window retailers, I went to a local
company to inquire about purchasing windows for a beachfront property
on Pawleys Island.
While driving up Highway 17 to Pawleys Island Lumber, I saw a billboard
with the company’s logo and the words “500 feet ahead on the left.” The
building is located on a small road off Highway 17 and occupies three
adjoining buildings. Finding the entry was a little confusing. Upon entering
the building, I was taken back by the animal heads mounted all around
and the aisles of hardware tools. It took me a couple of minutes to realize
that I wasn’t in a hardware store, but a showroom.
An employee named Rachel led me back to a conference room where samples
of windows were scattered throughout the room on the walls and some on
the table in the center along with blueprints for a project. She then
referred me to a gentleman named Duff.
Duff did not give me his title, (nor is it on his business card), but
he seemed important. He wore camouflage windbreaker pants, a performance
fishing shirt and hunting boots. His appearance did not give me much confidence
in his ability to help me find the windows for the beach house. However,
he quickly restored my confidence.
Secret Shopper Report Card
Pawleys Island Lumber
Location: Pawleys Island, S.C.
Facility Type: Showroom
Store was Easy to Find A-
Parking Lot was Clean A
Greeted Upon Entering B+
Neatness of Displays B
Employee Appearance D
Employee Product Knowledge A
Store Experience Satisfaction B
Overall Grade B
A Excellent B Above Average
C Average D Below Average
He told me to first decide whether I wanted impact or non-impact
windows. He explained that the impact window was actually the one inside
the house as it is your last defense if something (say a hurricane) were
to happen. He did not know if this was something I wanted on all my windows,
but definitely suggested it be considered.
Upstairs, in a more typical showroom, there were numerous displays of
the different types of windows. Duff told me that I also would need to
choose a wood finish or a white factory finish. He warned me that aluminum
corrosion would be a factor because the property was on the ocean.
He then provided me a list of several local contractors
to call for a look at the house and the windows. Upon leaving, Duff gave
me his business card and some brochures on both Marvin windows and Andersen
My first look at the building and my first impression of Duff left me
feeling uneasy. However, his extensive knowledge and good manners impressed
me and changed my mind. At least I had a starting point for my project.
My recommendations to Pawleys Island Lumber would be to think about the
current first impression of the store and require some uniform or standard
for attire. Overall, the company is a great local resource for consumers
interested in replacing their windows.
Ally Curran serves as marketing coordinator for DWM/Shelter magazine.
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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.