I wish store manager Bruce Emig could host a seminar for retail managers across the country. The topic, "Free publicity is good."
I needed a place that sells appliances to let me inside with a videographer to get video and interviews on the Cash for Appliances rebates that started in Illinois Friday.
When I asked Bruce if we could come in his store and do that, he didn't blink (He did try to get me to buy an appliance, though).
He led us back to the appliance area and told us we could shoot video of whatever we wanted, talk to any employees we wanted and any willing customers. Bravo, Bruce. He even walked away trusting we were there to do what we said we were going to do... and would you believe?... that's exactly what we did.
What Bruce realizes (and so few national retailers stop to consider) is for anywhere from 30 to 90 seconds on the news their name, their brand, their distinctive store colors are going to be on television and they don't have to pay a penny for it. Thousands of people will see their stuff and perhaps want to come out and buy it.
Viewers wouldn't believe the difficultly we often have with such a simple request. I haven't called Walmart for anything in15 years because the answer is almost always, "No."
So many places seem so paranoid, like they think we're doing some kind of expose' and entering their store under false pretenses. That would be so unethical (it also makes me wonder what they're afraid we might find if we asked enough questions).
Bottom line, we were able to get what we needed for our story. In return, the Collinsville Home Depot will appear on News 4 at noon, 5 and 6pm. What a deal!
So if you wonder why when TV news stories on shopping or economic issue always happen at Target, Best Buy or Home Depot, now you know.
These companies get it, although in recent years Target has stopped letting us talk to customers inside their stores. Not sure what happened there.
Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.