I am not cut out for retail. I know this. But for the duration of the month I am going to smile and nod and keep the peace. When January comes, however, I may offer the Retail 101 course free to all of those shoppers who failed it the first time around. Or the second. Maybe even the third.
The course will cover the following:
1. Read the signs. These are important indicators as to how a particular establishment operates and it will save you time at the checkout. For instance, when the sign says CASH ONLY, it actually means you must pay for your purchase in cash. Your VISA card is not cash. Neither is a coupon or your debit card. And your looks of disgust and dismay will not change the process. There is a bank machine across the street. Use it.
2. Confirm refund and exchange policies before making your purchase. If your receipt is stamped ALL SALES FINAL in big red letters, it usually means all sales are final. No refunds. No exchanges. Done. Finished. I don’t care if your husband didn’t like the little ceramic angel candy cane holder you bought for his mother. Give it to someone else.
3. Take your kids to the bathroom before you leave the house. Most retail outlets will have a public restroom, but the smaller ones don’t like to advertise it. We have to clean them ourselves and I won’t go into detail about how disgusting it is to have to mop up the mess kids make in there. It’s even more disgusting when the parents don’t buy anything.
4. A bookstore is not a library. I still shake my head in confusion when I see shoppers plop themselves down in a chair or on the floor with a pile of books and proceed to pour through them one by one. I get that you want to know what the book you’re thinking of buying is about, but when you leave two hours later without making a purchase, well . . . I used to have a customer who would come in every Friday while her daughter was in dance class. She would sit in a chair and read, but never bought a thing. I’m sure she read six or seven entire books in my store over that winter. I’ve removed the chair.
5. No pets allowed. Since when is it okay to bring your dog into a store? It isn’t. Ever. Unless it’s a pet store. And mine is not. I don’t care if Fido is like one of your kids. I don’t care if he’s cold. I don’t care if he cries without you. Please tie him up outside before you come in. Or leave him at home.
6. You break it, you buy it. That includes anything your children, your husband, your grandmother and whoever else you brought with you might break. That Bradford Exchange plate you just dropped on the concrete floor cost me plenty and if you didn’t want to pay, you shouldn’t have picked it up. That’s why we have PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH signs everywhere (see point #1). Oh, and you’re welcome to take the pieces of the plate with you after we have your cash.
As you can see, my course outline is coming along quite nicely. The first ten to sign up will get a free personal consultation.