They were everywhere – spider eggs, spider eggs and more spider eggs. We found these little hard spheres of terror in our kitchen, in the basement, under the couch, on the rug in the living room and perched menacingly on the stairs. My wife and I spent hours frantically searching Google for ways to rid our home of these soon-to-be arachnids. We vacuumed (that’s a royal we) and cleaned and then we cleaned some more. We were determined to liberate our home from the seemingly endless supply of spider eggs. Our concern, however, went from disturbed to crazed upon finding them on our bed and in the beds of our children. The hunt for a solution to our pest problem was amplified, the frenzied pace of cleaning increased, spider traps were purchased, and a duct cleaning was scheduled. Our kids even developed a game during which they would compete for the most spider eggs collected.
Curiously, though, our home seemed miraculously devoid of the parents to these offspring. Not one adult spider did we find. Yet, the spider eggs kept coming. We were convinced we had them and we were determined to get rid of them. But, did we actually have spider eggs?
Nope. One day my wife shared our spider eggs dilemma with a group of friends over lunch. One friend intelligently pointed out that spider eggs come in clumps, not one or two at a time. Another remarked that we couldn’t possibly have spider eggs if we hadn’t seen a single spider. After kicking our crisis around for a bit, these wise women happened upon the probable explanation to critter calamity – our spider eggs weren’t spider eggs after all. Instead they were probably the filling from a stuffed animal or toy.
Bingo. Upon an examination of the kids’ stuffed animals we found the culprit – Butchie, the Beanie Baby bulldog. He was losing his stuffing and it was that stuffing that had become the bane of our existence, not spider eggs.
Like us, many mall owners think they have spider eggs. They are convinced that the Internet is their spider eggs and is why their mall is hurting. Or maybe their spider eggs are the lack of expanding retailers or the recent wave of national bankruptcies, including Coldwater Creek, Deb Shops, Cache and Radio Shack. The economy and retail sales aren’t spider eggs. Mall owners instead need to find the culprit of a struggling mall; they need to find their Butchie.
What is a mall owner’s Butchie? Boring retail. Boring retail is the culprit. Many retail environments are a yawn. We blame the Internet, the lack of retailers, national bankruptcies and the list goes on. We look at the so-called facts and think we have identified the culprit. But we haven’t. It’s not the Internet. It’s not the lack of retail. It’s not the economy. The culprit is staid, vanilla, energy-lacking shopping environments.
Let’s attack the real culprit. Stop blaming the Internet and other factors for fledgling retail sales. Instead, let’s create exciting, energetic environments in which to shop. Give the customer a compelling reason to spend time and money at your mall or shopping center. Do this and I promise you that you will see results – increasing sales and not dreaded spider eggs.