OPEN….by chance

I wasn’t going to write about my errand day last week.  The thoughts that went through my mind were:

No one will find this interesting.

Big Deal.

But I can’t get it out of my head because I realized

what I experienced is most likely happening everywhere.

And this experience is not a one time only situation.  It has occurred a few times in the last 3 months.

If you are a retail business that is in a mall or shopping center, your landlord has rules for you.

Rule #1:  Open for business on time.

If, however you are an independent business owner who leases a space in a quaint small town, there are really no “rules” so to speak, so if you open a half hour late, it’s no big deal.  Some might even find it reminds them of a boutique in Europe where the customers are always “wrong” and  the hours of operation vary on a daily basis.  It’s just their way.

Charming.

I bring all of this up because I woke up the other morning knowing I had many errands.  I had a lot on my “To Do” list and needed to get as early a start as possible.  I timed everything out based on what time the stores opened.  Most retail establishments open at 10:00 a.m.  so I left the house at 5 minutes before 10:00 and was happy that I would be able to get in and out early.  The two stores I wanted to shop in were not open at a little after 10:00.   As I walked to the cafe around the corner to get a cup of coffee while I waited for the 2 shops to open, I noticed there were other stores not open.  Had my watch stopped?  I got to the coffee shop and verified the time.  It was 10:20 a.m.

On my way back, I stopped to look in a different shop window at something that caught my eye….something that MIGHT be perfect  as a gift for someone who was on my “To Do” list.   I looked at my newly synchronized watch….It was 10:30 a.m. I looked further into the shop and saw some great gift ideas.  I saw a woman arranging some items in the store.  I feel certain she saw me looking in the window because she looked up from what she was doing when I appeared.   I went for the doorknob and just before my hand touched it, I noticed the “CLOSED” sign.  I saw the store hours posted on the door.

10 – 6

I looked at the woman, who by this time had turned her back.   I left with my coffee feeling very perplexed.

If you were the owner of this store, what would you have liked to have seen happen? I know I would have been happy if I had been greeted by this woman opening up the door and inviting me in.

I most likely would have purchased a gift for my friend and not bothered to have even entered the other stores that were not open before going to get coffee.

I know what some of you may be thinking….

Why doesn’t she just go to the mall or chain store that opens on time?

I have an aversion to the homogenized McShopping Centers and Malls.  I like supporting the Mom and Pop businesses whenever possible.   Only it wasn’t possible on this day.

What are the messages here?

Are business owners in such a funk that they can’t see that making an effort CAN make a difference in their sales?

Are they feeling like there is no hope?

Is the shop just a hobby?

Albeit more discerning of their spending, consumers ARE still out there.

This is especially the time to shine

and

be open on time,

not

by chance.

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