Grumpy Dwarf

March 14, 2005

I’m still alive. Just nothing much to write about.

Well, I could go on about my disappointment with the Disney Store. First, a bit of background. I worked at the Disney Store in Echelon Mall for about 2 years – one of those years was full-time as I was in between ‘real’ jobs. I applied to be a seasonal Cast Member (it’s all a show at Disney) for Christmas. About 20 of us were hired, and our ONLY goal to be ‘kept on’ as a regular CM. You had to greet every guest (you’re not a customer, you’re a guest!) as they entered. You had to keep your shelves neat and your tables perfectly folded. If you were in charge of toys, it was your job to make sure Plush Mountain was perfect.

I was one of 5 people to be kept on. Our team provided excellent customer service. We were all about putting on a “good show.” We had lots of repeat customers, and those customers spent lots of money. Then things changed. Upper management was shuffled around, and the goal became not magic, but profit. Collectables, jewelry, watches, and most adult merchandise was discontinued. We started stocking more kids’ clothing and tons of toys.

Staff was cut back, and we were told that store appearance was no longer a priority during the day. Selling was now the name of the game. Slowly, the store began to look like the Disney aisle of a WalMart or Toys R Us. I got my job at the C-P and quit the Disney Store. I could have stayed around, but why?

Now, when we go into the Disney stores (Now owned by the Childrens Place) at Echelon or Cherry Hill, we see no more than 2 Cast Members at a time. Nobody greets us. There is one small rack of ugly shirts for adults. Most of the classic characters are ignored in favor of Pooh (I hate Pooh), Lizzie McGuire, and Power Rangers. When Thor and I were there last week, we approached the register to ask a question. The Cast Member was on the telephone with a guest. She put the guest on hold to ‘look for something’ and then engaged in a 5 minute conversation with another CM about a party. Neither CM1 nor CM2 acknowledged us. CM1 got back on the phone, curtly apologized for the extended hold time and said they didn’t have the merchandise. THEN, she asked us if we needed help.

Um…no…we’re standing here for no reason. We ask if the stores still sell Annual Passes to Walt Disney World. She didn’t know. She called back to the manager. The manager didn’t know, and the CM informed us that the manager was in the bathroom sick. Like we really needed to know that. She had to call another store to ask the question. The answer was no.

I know things change, and that the Disney Stores were having a hard time of it. (Gee…I wonder why? Let’s get rid of our high-end high-margin collectibles and start selling cheap toys for $5.00 higher than the toy store at the other end of the mall sells them.) But good customer service should never be sacrificed, even in bumpy times.

I guess I’ll stick with Disney Direct from now on.

You Might Also Like

  • Tommy March 15, 2005 at 7:24 am

    You’ve just described the legacy of Michael Eisner. I didn’t realize that Disney was owned by Children’s Place – but let’s face it. It’s Eisner who took the magic out of Disney and made it Corporate. It’s Eisner who convinced Mickey Mouse to go from a loveable character to a ruthless Businessman. My children could care less about Disney – and that’s a shame because when I was growing up nothing matched the “magic” of Disney.

  • dr. dave March 15, 2005 at 12:25 pm

    You need to forward this to the new CEO!

    Dear Mr. Iger… you need to get this company’s shit together… starting with Plush Mountain!


  • niel March 16, 2005 at 12:49 pm

    I agree the Disney Store’s suck really bad since they
    were sold. But when they were still owned by TWDC
    they were simply not making money.

    The only Disney Store off property and stilled owned
    by TWDC is the new New York mega store, which is an
    exact replica of one of the stores in Downtown Disney.
    And that one is making money, because it sells stuff
    taht you can’t get anywhere other than at the parks or

  • Brian Z March 17, 2005 at 9:10 am

    Actually, the Disney Store in Manhattan has recently been remodeled extensively and is now called something else entirely, like “The Disney Experience” or “World of Disney” or something like that. It looks like one of those big ol’ theme park-esque “shopping destinations” that occasionally crop up, but I’m sure that inside it’s still a soulless corporate money hole.

    But be fair. Pooh is wonderful. Disney Pooh, by which I mean the ridiculous “property” whose personality has been entirely replaced with tiresome and facile “life lessons” and bears no resemblance whatsoever to the original A.A. Milne magic, is the one who sucks. Y’know, just so we’re clear. ^_~