I have an allegory to share with you. On one hand, it has nothing to do with retail pharmacy, but on the other hand it has EVERYTHING to do with it.

I had the need to go to my local Bunnings recently. I was undertaking my latest home renovation project involving applying beautiful period pressed metal sheeting to some specific walls. I had bought the standardised sheeting and needed to cut to size to fit my wall dimensions. How to neatly cut pressed metal, I pondered? Hhhmmm….. never done that before. Better get on down to Bunnings I mused ….. probably need some sort of specialised tin snips or bladesaw or some such.

So I entered my local with a product requirement mindset, and prepped myself to describe the type of product I needed to the young chap serving in the tool shop that day. He was pleasantly responsive and reacted to my need and dutifully took me over to show me the range of tin snips and bladesaws for me to choose from. But as I considered the options, I couldn’t escape the consternation that these tools were not going to cut a nice neat edge into my pressed metal sheet.

Another Bunnings chap must have overheard my conversation with his colleague and wandered over to assist. I was a little taken aback by his approach initially but quickly warmed to his intervention. He began with an entirely different approach compared to his younger colleague and immediately prompted me with questions I had not even thought of let alone asked. He then proacted with solutions to solve my problem, rather than products. I will remember his first question for a long time. He asked me what type of look, style and feel I was trying to achieve with this project. He could see me struggle to clearly articulate my answer. So he verbally painted a picture for me to mentally visualise. He prompted me to describe not only how I wanted the wall with the pressed metal sheet to look, but how that look would integrate with the existing styling and adornments in the room. Now I was getting excited.

Then came the multi-product integrated solution. Firstly, he explained, these tin snips and bladesaws will not deliver the cut I was looking for. “You need one of these nibblers”, he exclaimed. I had never seen such a device before. He demo-ed the use of the nibbler and how I needed to fit it into my drill to work it. Then, upon digesting the style I had described, he asked me about accompanying mouldings and trimmings. Again, I struggled to articulate what I wanted. So he took me over to that section and proceeded to showcase the options that attach to the pressed metal edges to set off a beautiful finish. “What sort of a paint finish are you looking for” , he asked me next. Again I struggled to clearly articulate. “ Ok , come over here to the paint section” he beckoned me and away through the same prompt and proact cycle we went again.

Long story short, I walked out of Bunnings that day having invested several times more dollars than I had originally guessed, but I was happy as a pig in pooh because I had in my basket a set of products that represented a complete and integrated solution for my renovation, not just a product to cut my metal.

See how my story has nothing, yet everything to do with retail pharmacy?