Monday, January 5, 2009

It's just me.

This Monday is the real beginning of the New Year. The last four days were more part of the Holidays.

I've forgotten what it's like.

I'll be working every day.

I'll have to relearn a few lessons while I take over total operations of the store.

I'm actually a thankful that the holidays are over, at least for the time being. (It seems as though every year, I'm anxious to have summer and Christmas begin, and relieved to have them end.)

Stocking the shipments.

Because of delays in the shipping, I had to put comics away by myself both Tuesday and Friday last week. Hundreds of individual items, which must be sorted and priced and put away. With Pat there, he can concentrate on doing the comics, while I chat with customers, wander around the store putting the non-comics away. It's not all that stressful, just because I know I have help.

I'd forgotten how much pressure I put on myself.

I'm trying to count the shipment, arrange them, trying to figure out the little nuances of each title and each shelf customer and so on, and at the same time deal with both customers and non-customers questions and demands.

I'd forgotten that they just stand there and watch you, and my psyche translates that into toe tapping and finger dialing and I'm all flustered trying to get it done fast.

It didn't help that there seemed to be twice as many people as BEFORE Christmas pouring in the door.

Do you have to stand there?

Something I've noticed when I try to put books away in Linda's store, the Bookmark: there might be only 3 people in the whole store, but I swear that every time I go to a spot where I need to file a book a person is standing there!

That seems magnified in my own store, which is one third the size and often has twice as many people.

Just walk away.

What I forgot was the old trick I used to do. If I started to feel that stress and tension, I'd walk away. Sit down for a minute. Talk to customers. Pointedly ignore the stacks of comics. When I was good and ready, I'd go back. I might miss a few sales that way, but it really saved on the wear and tear.

I also will need to get used the Saturday customers, who are mostly just browsers wandering around downtown, mixed with a few regulars. Not the same type of customer I get doing the weekdays, which are mostly regulars with a few browsers.

When Pat was there with me, we could divide the customers into comfortable groups. He'd deal with one kind of customer, I'd deal with another. Again, just knowing I have back up made even the most difficult customer easier to deal with.

Difficult customers.

I had three guys in, who after they left and I was still fuming, I realized had come into the store with every intention of being a problem. (Earlier in the day, one of them had called in the morning and asked if I was buying sports cards, and I'd said no. I heard in the background someone yelling, "What about Jordan cards!")

So this guy, after jerking me around for fifteen minutes, complaining about my prices, asking questions I realized afterwards were meant to be clueless, making demands that I show him stuff from all the shelves, mentioned his Jordan cards. Ah, hah! I walked away and engaged another customer in conversation, and waited for them to leave.

I was just fuming. They had me really running around and trying to please them, but were just there to give me a hard time.

But it was my fault. I let them get to me. I just never expect malicious behavior out of anyone until it's over. I'd forgotten the signs. Frankly, I'd forgotten that such people existed. But in the bad old days of sports cards, it used to happen all the time. I finally learned to give them short answers with a smile, and move on as quickly as possible.

Looking forward to slow business?

So....I'm kind of looking forward to a few slow days this month, and I'm going to try to use this time to relax and get myself acclimated to all the different types of people who walk in the door. I'll remember who they are, but these kinds of guys are really good at coming in JUST after you've forgotten them. It's the behavior I need to watch out for.

They are who they are, but how they affect me is up to me.

1 comment:

Jason said...

"Something I've noticed when I try to put books away in Linda's store, the Bookmark: there might be only 3 people in the whole store, but I swear that every time I go to a spot where I need to file a book a person is standing there!"

Argh! So it wasn't just me ...