Do you remember the scene in “The Wizard of Oz” where the Wizard tells the Scarecrow, “My boy, back where I come from, men teach at great universities with no more brains than you have. But they have one thing you haven’t got – a diploma!”

Is the same thing happening in retail? I wonder how many with a “diploma” actually have a clue what to do next. If you want a real solution to today’s problems instead of academic conjecture, get out on the floor and talk to people. You’ll know what they’re thinking in a matter of minutes.

Recently Time magazine published an article on the changing shopping habits of retail customers. If you haven’t read it you probably should.

Don’t become complacent. This description explains my concern for the furniture industry: “Complacency is a blight that saps energy, dulls attitudes, and causes a drain on the brain. The first symptom is satisfaction with things as they are. The second is rejection of things as they might be. ‘Good enough’ becomes today’s watchword and tomorrow’s standard. Complacency makes people fear the unknown, mistrust the untried, and abhor the new. Like water, complacent people follow the easiest course — downhill. They draw false strength from looking back.”

True benefits and fair pricing are the barometer for purchasing. Hound your suppliers so you can offer products rich in features you can demonstrate. Show her something real. Don’t tell her what you think. Cash registers will still ring. They might just sound different.