BrainTrust Query: Happy Holiday From a Friend
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt from a current article from Insight-Driven Retailing Blog.
As you may have learned from TV commercials, retailers like Walmart, Toys ‘R’ Us and Kmart are offering layaway programs this holiday season. The programs are welcomed by families living paycheck to paycheck that might not have the cash on hand to take advantage of great deals. They can lock in a good price and pay the amount off over weeks without having to worry about stores selling out of hot items and disappointing the kids.
While this has been great news for many, something even better is happening across America. In Grand Rapids, Michigan a woman entered a Kmart and asked to see a list of layaway accounts so she should could pay a few off. At first the associate thought the lady wanted to take the items, but that was not the case. She chose three accounts that each included kid’s toys and paid them down to a $10 balance.
“They said that someone had paid $180 on my layaway and there was only $10 left,” one of the beneficiaries says of being told about the mystery woman’s gift. “I thought it was a joke. … I thank her. It’s the best gift that I ever received, and it’s the gift of believing in people. … And believing that there’s good out there, ’cause you don’t always see that.”
On the receipt the Secret Santa wrote, “Happy Holiday from a friend.”
Once a local TV station reported the deed, many more such acts of kindness by what are being called “layaway angels” have been occurring across the country. It’s tempting for Kmart to take advantage of the situation to boost its bottom line, but it claims it will not.
“The beauty of this is that it’s organic and coming from the customers and not from us,” Salima Yala, the retailer’s division vice president for layaway told woodtv.com. “It’s being driven by outside the company. It’s just people to people.”
- Happy Holiday From a Friend – Insight-Driven Retailing Blog
- Secret Santa picks up 3 layaway bills – woodtv.com
- Secret Santa giving continues: More than 40 layaway bills paid off at Grand Rapids Kmart – mlive.com
- Kmart Layaway Angels At Work In O’Fallon, MO – Fox 2 Now St. Louis
Discussion questions: Could retailers be doing more to tap into the altruistic nature of some shoppers? Should Kmart be touting the incident to encourage other similar charitable efforts or even for its own PR benefit?