Thursday, August 7, 2008

Observations...Life Experience or Personal Opinion?

When my husband and I first took over our pack and ship store there was a man who came in who shall herein be referred to as "Mr. Observation". My husband, who shall herein be referred to as "my husband", was repeatedly telling me about this man and his more than unwelcome comments about the changes we were making to the store in order to bring more business into it. Now, let me preface this by saying, our business was already a 20+- -year-old business, starting to fail, and never updated in appearance in all that time and no marketing tools or promotions were done to keep things moving in the black instead of the red. In other words, it was still painted wannabe-post office green. Ok. NOW we're up to speed.

Just after the first of the year a mommy comes in to ship something and brings her darling little boy, who shall herein be called Eddie Munster (if you catch my meaning). Mommy was not paying any attention to Eddie Munster and he began to "play" with one of our printers (we own a printing company as well and have large printers). While my husband is trying to weigh, get the dimensions of the items and determine the best shipping options for Mommy, Eddie breaks, (YES, BREAKS) the feeder off of one of our printers. She laughs and says, "oh, my. Honey, you shouldn't do that", in her sweetest "I am not going to pay for that" voice. Anyway, she DIDN'T pay for it either and the piece was irreplacable. Shortly after that a lady, who shall herein be called "I couldn't be bothered with my child" comes in and lets her little girl go WILD in the store. We have postal boxes and a large camera we take passport photos with and I caught her as she was just about to pick the camera up off the tripod and said, "Sweetie, you need to come back out here with your mom, ok?" She looked at me with sort of a devious look and marched herself right into the postal room (can you say privacy violation?). So I went and got her and brought her back out and explained to I-couldn't-be-bothered-with-my-child that HER child needed to stay with her so she "wouldn't get hurt with our equipment". (Instead of IT'S YOUR JOB UNTIL SHE'S 18.) I-couldn't-be-bothered needed to go to her car to get something and child stayed in the store and that's when I noticed she was barefoot. I told her she needed to put her shoes on and she said, "NO!!!!!!!!" I said, "you have to wear your shoes in here because there's no telling what's on the floor". (I mean seriously, can you imagine what's on the floor after people trample God knows what in on the bottom of their shoes!!) She never did put her shoes on. So I made a corporate decision: we would make a sign. A sign pertinent to all parents. The next decision would be how to say "watch your child" in a way that was humerus, yet got the point across. Here's what we got: PARENTS PLEASE DO NOT PLAY WITH OUR PRODUCTS. CHILDREN LEARN FROM OUR EXAMPLE.

This is where Mr. Observation comes in. Our first "encounter" with him was when he tried to convince me I needed to hire his son to do graphic designs for us. His son is 14! Uh....NO! Next he comes in one day after we painted the inside of the store. Now we went with a Colorado/territorial style. We painted the walls kind of a rusty red which looks awesome with the paintings, etc. that I picked out. He came in and he said, "Expletive.....this place looks like a whorehouse!" It took my husband back so much that he started keeping track of the positive comments.(Positive to date: 3 million, Negative: Mr. Observation.) I actually wanted to ask him if he knew this by experience or was it just a personal opinion. Next: he saw the sign about parents keeping their hands to themselves and he said, "do you know that there are three women who won't come in this store because of that sign"? I said, "Really? Well, now that sounds like a personal problem to me." Another time he came in and saw the pursehooks we are selling (which by the way have sold like hotcakes) and he said, "Expletive...I could go to KMart and buy these ten for a buck. I walk by, pass him, and roll my eyes.

Now, my husband says I sound a little angry with the guy. My office staff kills him with kindness and he still acts like we are something he pulls off the bottom of his shoe. There's something that keeps him coming must be because he gets to vent in here. OK, so let him vent. Please understand we love our customers...we'd starve without them. We say all of this in jest and the names were "herein" changed to protect them and the innocent.

So my question is this: Observations: Are they from life experience, personal opinion or just observation?

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