A few Novembers ago, I was driving through Boyertown, PA when I noticed a shop. Actually, I didn’t notice the shop at all. What I did notice was the man out front: a guy wearing a Santa Claus suit, and waving a little American flag. “Man, that place must be pretty desperate for sales,” I thought, and drove on.
Now I live near Houston, and every day as I tool down I-45, I note that nearly every automobile dealer, furniture store and big-box flooring retailer has a giant inflatable figurine on its roof. Most often it’s a King Kong-sized ape, but I’ve seen Godzillas, Santa Clauses, enormous cowboy boots and Dog knows what else. I imagine the various retailers pay a fair amount for rental of these things. My question, or poll, therefore, is: has anyone actually based a purchase on whether or not the shop had a giant ape on its roof? If so, why? I suppose it’s also worth asking the inverse: has anyone ever refused to patronize an establisment that resorts to inflatables apes as sales devices?
If anyone in retail wants to chime in with facts and figures demonstrating the efficacity of ape-etizing their stores, well, that’s fine too.