This assignment called for meto visit at least 6 stores to observe andshare insights and point out hiddenopportunities.With my trusty camera, I have set out tovisit the stores, and you can read in thenext pages the accounts of my visits.The stores visited here are located inSM Megamall and The Podium inMandaluyong City, Philippines. Dimpy
BOOKSALEMy first visit was to BOOKSALE, a purveyor of discounted books.No one can match Booksale’s low book prices, and is the reasonwhy I regularly frequent this store.THINGS I HAVE MISSED BEFOREHad I not checked out the corner pile in one of the lowerdisplay shelves, I would have missed that Booksale alsocarries a few audiobooks.BIGGEST SURPRISEI am always surprised by Booksale’s wide and eclectic selection of books, ranging frompocketbooks to coffee tablebooks, which they also keep current. I know that f I browselong enough, I will always find a title I would like to buy. I actually found in their shelves a bookthat I was looking for for a long time – Arturo Perez-Reverte’s “The Fencing Master”, which I bought.OPPORTUNITIES HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHTI wished Booksale made an updateable online list of book stocks available in their branches. Thatway, I can check out and reserve books that I am interested in before going to the store.
JAMAICAN BEEF PATTIESMy stomach rumbled, and I felt I needed a quick pick-me-up.I went to the nearby JAMAICAN BEEF PATTIES to buy myself abeef patty snack.THINGS I HAVE MISSED BEFOREAutomatically, I ordered my usual favorite, the spicy-variantbeef patty – known as “Beef Pinatubo” (named after thePhilippine volcano Mt. Pinatubo) – but it was unavailable. I had to settle for the more mildly-flavored“Beef and Cheese”, which I haven’t tried before.BIGGEST SURPRISEWhile it was not the “Beef Pinatubo” I wanted, I realized that “Beef and Cheese” was okay. I decided thatif the store doesn’t have “Beef Pinatubo” again the next time I visit, I’ll just order “Beef and Cheese” again.OPPORTUNITIES HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHTBefore the day ends, the store always runs out of the “Beef Pinatubo” variant because it is one of theirmore popular beef patty flavors. It is an obvioius solution, but they could have stocked a few more “BeefPinatubo” variants, and less of the others that don’t sell well.
RED RIBBONRED RIBBON is a popular cake and baked goods store.They also serve cooked meals inside the store.THINGS I HAVE MISSED BEFOREI found out after entering the store that Red Ribbon has a newcake variant out called the “Triple Chocolate Roll”, which theyare branding as the “chocolatier roll” compared to theircompetitors.BIGGEST SURPRISEEven though I did not eat anything, I found out that it was very comfortable to hang out in Red Ribbonwhile admiring the cake display and smelling the fresh-baked scents. I found a table with plates thatsomebody left, so to everybody, it looked like I belonged there as a customer.OPPORTUNITIES HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHTAnother reason why I entered Red Ribbon to look for a cake I intended to give to a friend whose birthdaywas coming up. My friend is diabetic, so his cake has to have no sugar. Red Ribbon, however, had no“no-sugar” cakes in their selection on display. I see this as a missed opportunity to cater to diabeticbirthday celebrants, or people who are watching their weight.
COMIC QUESTI figured it was time for some comic browsing, so I hopped overto the comic book shop COMIC QUEST.THINGS I HAVE MISSED BEFOREWhile I have been in Comic Quest before, this was my firstvisit after a long time and I saw that they have a new storelayout. They now have more spacious displays, with lightedshelves and cabinets that show off the items for sale better. I think I like their new store layout.BIGGEST SURPRISEInside the store, I overheard some geeks conversing that Professor X is now dead, killed by Cyclops during the“Avengers vs. X-men” series. This was not new to me. What was new however, was their other piece of news– that there will be a new Spider-man and it won’t be Peter Parker anymore. Whoah!!!OPPORTUNITIES HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHTNo offense intended, but the sales ladies should read more comics. The sales ladies (who are not geeks) aregood at selling, but they are not that deeply informed about what’s going on in the comics world. Theyknow the characters and can tell you who’s popular, but they don’t know the motivations and the innerdemons of these comics characters like hard-core geeks do (yes, I admit I’m a comic geek).
NATIONAL BOOK STORENATIONAL BOOK STORE is another store where I can spend atleast 15 minutes in without getting bored, and without the guardsand the sales staff becoming wary of me. National Book Store isthe largest and most successful book store chain in the Philippines.THINGS I HAVE MISSED BEFORENational Book Store had a new set of sale books inside. Theprices are not as cheap as Booksale’s (which specializes inreally cheap books), and the variety is not as extensive, but theydid have a few gems here and there. I did not buy any books, though.BIGGEST SURPRISEI was pleasantly surprised by National Book Store’s festive Christmas display of multiple lighted Christmastrees and Santa Clause figures. These made me feel the Christmas spirit as I entered the store. Good job!OPPORTUNITIES HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHTAs you can see in the picture, there’s a security guard at the store’s entrance. Perhaps, to add to the funelement, the guard can be fitted with a Santa hat to complement the Christmas theme of his surrounding.Ho ho ho!
TOY KINGDOMTOY KINGDOM is a big store full of toys. It’s always great for meto browse here because I find the toys exciting and stimulating.THINGS I HAVE MISSED BEFOREThere are life-size statues and stand-ups of pop-culture charactersat the store. Before, I used to just pass them by. However, this time,I saw them as great subjects for photographs, and I helped myself tosome pictures of them (see the items at right).BIGGEST SURPRISEAs it was closer to Halloween and not exactly Christmas season just yet,the store had an extensive collection of Halloween costumes and masks on display.It was a freak-fest of ghouls, witches, ghosts and zombies!OPPORTUNITIES HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHTMany of Toy Kingdom’s customers are not kids and their parents, but adult toy collectors.Maybe a section of the store can be allocated for collectible, high-end or nostalgic toys that aretargeted for grown-ups
LA SENZAAt this point, I already visited 6 stores, which is therequirement of the assignment. I figured any additional storeI visit would be a bonus. I decided that my 7th store canbe LA SENZA.La Senza is a lingerie store, a lingerie store forwomen. You won’t find anything directly for men here. Themoment I walked into the store, the sales ladies saw that I don’tbelong there. Spending 15 minutes there was out of the question,and I found my way out after a few awkward minutes.THINGS I HAVE MISSED BEFOREUmmm....BIGGEST SURPRISEErrrrr....OPPORTUNITIES HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHTUrk....