|Where I stand.|
It wasn't a single incident that inspired this post, but the common occurrences that come up as an employee of two local boutiques. I'm a consumer like everyone else, so I understand that point of view entirely. But I think there may be misconceptions while shopping small business retail. It is not (and shouldn't be) like going into a chain or department store. Here are just a few truths from where I stand:
1. I'm not being friendly just so you'll buy something. I'm just friendly - period. It can be awkward to shop in a small space without at least a little conversation, so humor me for a second. I don't make commission, so there's no alternate agenda here. Relax knowing that I simply want you to have a good experience. Even if you don't buy anything, I hope you'll tell your friends or write a nice review. At the very least, I hope you come back (unless you're a meanie).
2. I rejoice over every purchase. If a $4 hair bow goes out the door, I'm happy. Even small purchases make me feel like I'm doing my job. It all adds up. At the end of the day, I report to the owner with numbers because numbers (black ones) are what pay my check and make a successful business. THANK YOU for shopping, no matter how small.
3. I'm aware that "it's' expensive". If you're looking for a bargain, there's a Target right up the road. We carry a limited quantity of specialty items. Some things you would not be able to find anywhere else in the world. I believe there's value in that. You know how much I LOVE DEALS. However, I realize that small businesses can't offer 50% off. It's my job to support them, not rob them. Which leads me to my next point...
4. Nobody is getting rich here. Just breaking even is a huge accomplishment. That's 0% profit. Our items may be more expensive, but they are also more costly for us at wholesale. The markup on the knock-off you find at a chain retailer or online for 1/2 price is astronomically higher than our profit on the real, high-quality thing. Let's say a small business gets something for $2 and sells it for $4. Target might get their version for $0.25 and sell it for $2. They can discount it 75% and still make money. #math
5. Your returns suck. Not exchanges or in-store credit, returns. Even if I wasn't the one to help you with your initial purchase, it feels a lot like failure. Don't get me wrong, I understand returns. Buyers remorse is a powerful thing. Sometimes you bring stuff home and it just doesn't look/feel/fit/perform how you anticipated. Returns happen, but they still hurt. And P.S., I can tell the difference between a defective item and something you ruined. IF I take it back, it's for the sake of superior costumer service, not because I'm fooled.