The Case For Cheerleading

A blog about business and economics.
April 4 2013 11:25 AM

How Haterade Hurts Us All  

walgreen
High-tech foot insert machine.

Author's photo.

One of the most common bits of feedback to the post I did yesterday on Walgreens' great new flagship store was snark about how Walgreens must have bribed me. A lot of folks seem to prefer coverage in the vein of Benjamin Freed whose Walgreens coverage conceded that the new store is "shiny and clean" while offering a wider range of products and services than your typical drug store while nonetheless insisting on maintaining a sneering bad attitude.

And I get it. Negativity sells. Snark is fun. I've been there.

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But look around at this great big world of ours and ask yourself why so often things are so crappy. Sometimes it's because we genuinely don't have the know-how to make things better. You can't get an HIV vaccine because nobody's invented one. But that's not why the run of the mill drug store experience is so bad. Lots of times things are bad because the people in charge simply don't care to take the time, energy, and money that would be necessary to deploy state-of-the-art stuff. Making a store that's clean and well-lit and stocks the best products and equips its staff with the best tools and uses the most up-to-date soda fountains and frozen yogurt topping dispensers isn't all that hard. But lots of stores aren't up to that standard. Because their owners and managers think it's not worth it. So new technology rolls out achingly slowly and managers don't bother to treat their staff well enough to create a high standard of customer service. And thus we all sink deeper into the funk of mediocrity.

So why not clap a bit when someone raises the bar? Why not make sure people check it out? Why not let people who do a good job hear some praise?

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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