This is a great perspective on why we need other peoples help, published in “InStore Magazine, November 2008”

Reading the future

Reading the future

The Losing Hand of Playing Solitaire

I USED TO PLAY a lot of solitaire. Over time, I learned I was playing a game designed to make me lose. There was no way to tell from the hand whether the next cards would fall properly. There was only luck, and the game was designed to keep me playing, and keep me losing.

Now I’m in another game, this one called retail. And I have a real tool that is almost never used by retailers, a tool I should use more often. You see, in solitaire, you play alone. In business, you have a tool that helps you predict what will be hot, prevent losses, figure out what displays are working, even judge which media to use. That tool is other people.

You haven’t noticed them yet? They are on your staff and reading all the magazines you don’t have time to read. They are cutting your hair and would love to talk about their jewelry. They are your best customers, brought together for lunch and a discussion.

Still want to play solitaire? Trust me, you’ll lose.
Jeff McCandless has been in retail management for 30 years and is now general manager for J.E. Caldwell’s Center Valley, PA, store. E-mail him at