Elen sila lumenn omentielvo!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

A retail dilemma: What would YOU do?

OK, so this happened.

The Daughter had a church-related function today for a couple of hours, and The Wife was working, which gave me some free time. I decided to avail myself of this opportunity to do a small amount of my Christmas shopping, and to that end, I further decided that scope out a store I'd noticed in nearby East Aurora, NY, wherein I thought I stood a good chance of filling one of The Wife's gift wishes and also fulfill my usual desire to do at least a healthy chunk of my shopping at a local establishment. In addition to carrying the type of item The Wife had requested, this shop also apparently features jewelry made by a local artisan, so there's a double opportunity for supporting a local business.

According to this shop's Facebook page, they are open on Sundays, so off I went -- only, when I got there, the place was closed, tighter than a drum. I wondered if maybe I had misread things on FB, so I actually got out of the car and checked the posted hours sign on the door. Sure enough: Sunday, open 10 AM to 5 PM. And yet: lights out, locked up, nobody home. No shopping for me. And no sign on the door saying anything like "Dear Customers, due to unforeseen circumstances we will be closed on Sunday, December 9." Not even a "Out to lunch" or "Gone fishing". Just a locked up store.

This irritated me. I specifically drove to East Aurora -- not a far drive, it's just the next town over, about fifteen minutes -- to check out this store that I'd wondered about. (Key point there: I've not yet set foot in the place.) But when I got there, it was closed when it should, according to all information at my disposal, have been open. Now, there are other places in East Aurora to shop, but I was looking for a specific kind of item, so there aren't any other stores of that nature there. And I didn't really want to do the 'park and walk up and down Main Street' thing -- for one thing, I only had limited time; for another, I don't like window shopping by myself.

So later on, I went to the shop's Facebook page and inquired as to why they were closed when all information indicates that they should have been open. The proprietor responded within an hour to basically say this: "Sorry about that, but at the last moment I scored tickets to the Bills game, and I almost never get to be out of the shop. But next time you drop by, I'll give you a discount!"

Now, part of me is thinking, "Hey, discount. Huzzah!" But the other part of me is saying, "Yeah, hell with that. You know what you're looking for, so go to the other local business you know of that sells that sort of thing, where you've done business before, and spend money with them, since you know they'll be open." And you know what? I was going to solicit opinions as to which part of the brain I should listen to, but having typed it out here, I think it's pretty obvious, innit?

Pity. I like supporting local businesses. But it's also important to support the ones that are more obviously interested in being supported.


Roger Owen Green said...

The obvious solution was for him to have put on his FB page, his Twitter page, his web page, his phone machine, as well as the door his closing. Or get someone else to work the store. Or show up at the store. Any of these would have been acceptable.

fillyjonk said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kelly Sedinger said...

Filyjonk said (comment reproduced for technical reasons):

On the one hand, I get that it kind of sucks sometimes to be so tied to a business that you have to maybe consider forgoing "fun" things like football games.

On the other hand, I admit I get royally frustrated when people "flake" on me, and I would consider a business not being open (during the busy shopping season) with no prior warning (couldn't he have posted on his FB page?) to be flaking.

I don't know. I'm probably looking at this through the lens of my own (somewhat embittered) experience, where I've given up doing things that MIGHT be fun because duty calls. And I've been in the position of driving somewhere just to find that a business I expected to be open was not. I'd definitely go to the OTHER local small business.

Call me Paul said...

Clearly, this business owner is doing so well, he can afford to blow off business on a whim. Good on him. He obviously doesn't need your money.

fillyjonk said...

Now I think of it,one thing I've learned living in the part of the world where I live (where there is often a long drive for stuff), when it's a small business, even if it's not a sole-proprietor sort of thing, I've taken to just calling ahead to be SURE they are open.

Because I've had enough instances where I drove 1/2 hour or more to find the business closed for some reason. I get family emergencies....but there are a few places I know that seem only to be open when they feel like it. Not the greatest business plan, that, IMHO.

(and Kelly, I found the link for the no longer existent picture and removed it, so hopefully this works okay. I had no idea it would hang up in Chrome)

Kal said...

Being closed is weird. Follow your instincts and support local...just another local that makes the process easy. I order my action figures from Montreal after looking through the prairies where a guy mails me a box of stuff for nine dollars each time and the boxes are three months worth of figures. No one can beat that prices. But I get my cigars local and he get's them right from Cuba.