Tuesday, December 26, 2006


I've never been partial to sales.

First, by way of explanation, I'm a 'just in time' and a 'one of a kind' kind of store. People will say, "Would you put a copy of this aside for me?", as if I have a back room with multiple copies of everything. But I prefer to have as many different items as possible, instead of having money tied up in extras.

Thing is, I can get just about anything I want within the week, and very few items have the kind of sales volume that require I carry multiple copies. I suppose I lose the occasional sale, but I love the flexibility of being able to re-order every week. I'm willing to pay the penalty of extra postage.

If I don't have an item, I'll say, "I'll have it for you by next Thursday." And then, and here is the neat trick, I DO IT! Sometimes I think people have been told, "I'll special order it for you..." so many times, and then not have the store deliver, that they've become very skeptical.

So I don't ask for money, I just tell them I'll get it (if I confirm it's available) and then I make absolutely certain that I do order. I find that most people actually do come back, and it is always kind of fun to watch their eyes light up when they ask, "You wouldn't happen to have gotten in..." And I'm able to say, "It's right here waiting for you."

Do that a couple of times, and you have a regular customer.

So, except for a few best-sellers, I tend of have one copy of just about everything, and a get-it-within-a-week-reorder system. So what good is a sale? It's hard enough to pay for good inventory without giving it away.

I do have clunkers in the store, but I've found that almost anything will sell eventually. I just wait until someone expresses an interest, and offer them a discount right there. That way, the person most interested gets it for cheaper.

I suppose I might be missing the promotional aspects of sales. But do people really respond to 10 or 20% off sales? If all I'm really offering is the junk, even at 40 or 50% off, doesn't that have a 'bait and switch' kind of smell to it? I just don't see the point of a decimated store, which I would then have to go through the painful process of restocking, when I can have a store with great stuff all the time.

So come on in today, and I can promise you that the store is almost as well stocked as it was a couple of weeks ago. And if I don't have it, I can get it for you by Thursday.

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