Define it or gain weight

Its time to get serious about all the time I spend in the gym - I need a nutritional edge. We’d stopped in a GNC before for protein powders and wanted to see how the experience differed when not in a specialty health supplement shop.

This visit was done at Boots, which is more of a generalist store. We didn’t have detailed questions, we just wanted someone to discuss the various options. We stopped an employee and stated up front that he knew “nothing about health care.” But he pointed in the direction of a few people who would.

Specialist Employee number two took us back to the same spot in the store and then said, “Im not the best person to ask about protein shakes.” But she offered to find out.

She spoke with a third employee who gave her a brief tutorial in front of us, instead of speaking with us, and then she took us back and let us know that some protein powders help to define muscle and others help to gain muscle. It wasn’t terribly helpful information for someone wanting to buy the right product and it was the result of the coordinated efforts of three employees.

This raises the question as to what level of expertise a pharmacy should need to supply for all the things they offer. Is the job of staff only to point people in the right direction in the store? It would have been a better experience to buy these supplements online in order to become educated. So why bother to go to this shop? Probably convenience. It may have been around the corner from where I live or work.

But as price wars with Amazon and other online competitors continue, convenience alone may not be enough to ensure that I will choose this store. As an example on the Boots website protein powder costs 32.39 GBP.

The same product costs 29.99 GBP on So I can get the same product for less money online and that website has some educational content.

On the other hand, the employees at GNC were much more educated as they specialize but almost needed too much information from us to provide a recommendation. Where is the balance? What is sufficient for a customer experience? At Boots they could easily have some content and tablets available in store to help me along. We know that their staff can’t be experts in everything. What should I expect from an offline store as a customer seeking basic information?