Wednesday 13 April 2016

When will Airport Duty Free Retailers stop being Idiots?

I wonder whether the collective stupidity that characterises most retail interactions in airports will ever change.

This morning I flew Larnaca to Warsaw at 03:40. At Warsaw airport, I bought a 500 ml bottle of water at the duty free. Here is a record of the interaction.

Cashier: “Good morning. May I have your boarding pass?”
I hand over the boarding pass.

Cashier: “Is Vilnius your final destination?”

Cashier: “For statistics purposes, may I ask where are you from?”

Cashier: “That’s 6 zloty”.
I hand over 5 Euro.

Cashier: “I have to give you change in zloty.”

Cashier: “Here is your change.”
“Thank you”

Cashier: “Would you like a plastic bag for the water?”

Cashier: “Have a nice day!”

Fucking collective insanity. So much about this retail transaction is wrong.
  • Duty Free retailers do not need my boarding card, nor my final destination, nor where I am from. This is a gross violation of basic privacy rights.
  • In all my years travelling (and I am on the road 200+ days per year, with over 60 flight segments per year), no Duty Free retailer has ever actually used this data to improve my shopping experience, or even to contact me with anything relevant.
  • I am just buying a fucking, grossly-overpriced bottle of water.
  • I do not need a plastic bag for a bottle of water. The bottle is already damaging to the environment. Why make it worse?
  • It should be obvious that at 06:30 in the morning, even assuming I had slept the night before, that I don’t need a third-degree interrogation to buy a bottle of water.

This is a useless and offensive procedure. I had exactly the same experience in Larnaca, buying another over-priced bottle of water (€ 1.50 in Larnaca instead of € 2.00 in Warsaw). Right down to the offer of a plastic bag.

Is there any evidence of sentient life in Dufy retailer management? Is there any prospect of relief from the vast and collective stupidity which characterises most bureaucracies today?

Get a grip. Really.

© Philip Ammerman, 2016

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