When you’re waiting for a gobbler you’re sure is going to show up, there’s plenty of time for deep thoughts. And last Saturday, thinking was a dire necessity. It was the only thing keeping me from falling into a sleep deprivation-induced coma. Well, that and my neck snapping every time my head bobbled around.
Usually, we pull our clean, comfy trailer to hunt camp. However, a detour to Atlanta for a family Easter celebration caused us to leave our camper at home, go native and stay in our tent instead. With thunderstorms threatening, Wes and I decided at the last minute that we needed to spend the night in …gasp… the Blair Witch Camper. The BWC is really an aging Airstream that hasn’t been used in several years. Scary in the sheer number of dead bugs that litter every surface, it also carries the unmistakable stench I call “moldy basement.” So between worrying about storms and the possibility I would end up like the bugs in the BWC, I slept about 20 minutes over a 7-hour period. And not all at once either.
Having seen three turkeys the evening before, I was more than happy to bail out of the BWC and head to my “spot” so early that only the whippoorwills and barred owls were chatting. The magic time, when every bird within earshot makes darn sure they’re heard, had come and gone without a single gobble. I figured the boys had hens and thus no reason to sound off. No worries. Sooner or later, they always seem to show up at their favorite strut zone. So I waited. And ruminated.
Recently, I’ve read a couple of Seth Godin books, Tribes and The Purple Cow, so I felt inspired to consider what remarkable contributions could be made on behalf of women who love the outdoors. And one thing struck me in particular. While there are specialty shops for quilters, cooks and clothing that fit women who are tall, short and curvy, there’s a shortage of hunting stores just for women.
Yes, I know conventional wisdom says retail space for women in a hunting store doesn’t pay the bills. However, women’s hunting clothes usually have been displayed using a “Where’s Waldo?” approach. It’s as if all retail strategy goes out the window if the product is women’s hunting clothes, despite the fact one would assume retailers know quite a bit about female shopping habits.
So, while waiting for toms, I conjured up a retail fantasy for women hunters. The store would carry women’s hunting clothes from all the manufacturers. I’d be able to see deer hunting, turkey hunting and upland bird outfits modeled on mannequins. I could try on clothes in roomy fitting rooms where the lighting was friendly to the 40 plus crowd. I could slip my feet into and “test hike” several different brands and styles of boots.
Here’s the kicker. Many retail experiences are a letdown because the service is abysmal. I once asked a young sales associate why one tree stand was $30 more than the model next to it. Both looked the same to me and apparently they did to the sales clerk, too, because he shrugged his shoulders and said “I don’t know” as he walked away. No cha-ching for that cash register.
In my fantasy store, the sales staff would be pleasant and knowledgeable about hunting. Unlike other retail experiences, I’d gamble that extraordinary service would actually be good for the bottom line, and I’d compensate sales associates accordingly. Rather than distractedly point to a display of duck decoys, they would actually walk you over to them. And if you had a question about how to work rattling antlers, they would patiently show you. There’d be none of that condescending “well, little lady, you can’t shoot a turkey with a 20 gauge, you need a submarine-launched ballistic missile.”
Eventually, this marketing dream could be expanded to women who fish, target shoot, kayak, camp and any number of other outdoor sports. It also could take the cyber world by storm with the most astonishing outdoor Web site just for women complete with video tips, product reviews and of course, free shipping.
So, what do you think? Did the lack of sleep addle my brain? Post a comment or email me your opinions at <email@example.com>.