This whole summer has been about staying calm, cool, and collected. That's been my focus and my goal.
As I mentioned, I started giving myself brownie points for every day I didn't say a discouraging word. So I have little red stars on the first three days of the July calendar, then failed on the Fourth of July and on the fifth. No real confrontation, just some frustrated words that probably no one heard or cared about.
But I failed by my own standards, and almost gave up. I thought, if I can't even stay cool more than 3/5th of the time, I'm doomed to live on adrenaline. But I started over again on Monday, and made it through Friday no problem.
Saturdays have been and probably always will be my biggest challenge.
Saturdays with special events? Even more so.
Still, I'm determined to get through the next two days without incident.
I was telling Paul, one of my good guys, about it. (Curse removed, Paul.) And he asked, "Are you making more money?"
It isn't really about the money. It's about feeling good about myself. I can't even say that I don't think some of these people I've had mix ups with didn't deserve it. But it didn't do my business any good, it didn't change their behavior, and most importantly, it got me riled up.
I did realize, though, that I couldn't do what I tried to do the first three days, which was say nothing at all. That just set me up to crack when things got really bad on the 4th.
So, I will intervene, but oh, so gently. That seems to be working better.
For instance, I had a Mom and a 4 year old in the store. She was looking at books, while he grabbed one of my 7.99 kids books. And proceeded to completely and utterly mangle it.
I watched him for awhile, but when he started to reach for another book, I stepped in, "Can I show you my used kids books section? You can look through those all you want..."
The Mom looked down at her son, and saw what he'd done to the book, and I heard this...."...Oh."
I had an inspiration. "I'll sell you that book for half-price, if you like, since he seems to like it."
"That would be great," she said, in relief. So problem solved, Mom and kid happy, I didn't lose any money. I just need to keep coming up with solutions like that.
Twice I shewed some packs of teenagers out of the store after they hung around a little too long, by saying, "Hey, guys. It's great you are looking around, but I can't have you hanging around all day. It's not you, but I've had some problems lately. Really, I know you aren't doing anything wrong...."
So far, they haven't taken too much offense, and got the message.
Has a lot to do with tone of voice, and making sure the message hasn't any "blame" implied. I figure the longer I do this, and the more "blame-free" messages I can come up with, the easier it will get.
Today, I'm just going to hang back and not expect much. Hope I can keep everything in order. I'm expecting a couple of hundred people in the door, at least. But most will be browsing, and I just need to remember that and not get uptight.
Wish me luck.
4 days ago