Yesterday, while I was feeling particularly glum about the store being slow, two separate women who were interested in buying items (one priced at $7, another priced at $113, and already 40% off) told me, "I'll give you x amount for that."
I told one of the customers that, no I'm sorry, $7 is the price. (This was something on consignment terms, and the woman just seemed to be asking out of habit, so this was a relatively painless exchange.) The second customer looked at the pair of shoes she was interested in, asked me if it had gone on sale anymore, and then said, "That is probably the same pair I tried on a while back. Do you have the power to negotiate? Are you the owner? "
I replied, "I am the owner, but I cannot open that door. This is a regular store, and if we open that door, people will not treat it that way. I don't negotiate with our vendors or showrooms, so I can't do that with my customers." I let her know that she could join our email list or follow us on instagram, where we frequently have sales.
This especially upsets me because I often see that my prices are 20% below what others are charging for the exact same thing. Often, in store, I will price less than the suggested retail price, as well.
I can understand with so many retail outlets on constant "deep sale" and clothing available on amazon, that for the customer, all that might seem to matter is who has the cheapest goods. The cultural thing that I don't quite understand, however, is this idea that smaller businesses should have different rules than big box stores in terms of behavior. I would not walk into a Macy's and say, I'll give you X amount for this. I always do 10% off is someone wants to spend, say $300 (which is a lot in my store.) That is something I can totally get behind.
I suppose what this triggers is the idea of boundaries, authority and being at the mercy of your customer. Maybe I'm being too inflexible here? I could have used the money, but I truly feel sick when people lay out their terms for me, particularly in the one place in which I am the authority.
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