Friday, September 02, 2005

Have Some Respect

All I ask is that you respect my store. I know retail always has a problem with people putting things back. I have picked up things when shopping and not put them back in the right spot too, I’ll admit to it right now. But, in my defense, those were much bigger than the 750 square feet we have here at Neptune. And I have never played around with something that wasn’t meant to be played with or that I was not buying.

It’s mainly kids, but once in a while, adults that just throw stuff anywhere. Just yesterday we had a group of 3 boys come in (w/out parents, I might ad) and run about the store excited about all that was to be had. They did buy a few things, and were only romping around for maybe 10 – 15 minutes. But in that time they scattered things everywhere. They jammed books inside of other books, they put manga facing page out instead of binding out. They knocked down action figures and let them lay. No matter how much you watch kids like this, it’s like they just can’t be controlled, at least from a retailer perspective. We’re not like some comic book stores that don’t like people touching the merchandise. We want people to open the comics, look at the books, and check out the action figures. So, we don’t generally yell at children for their excitement and when they pick up stuff to check it out. On occasion, if they’re really being destructive we do!

Monday I had another group of a different 3 boys (again w/out any parents) who were so excited about the comic books – it was really great to see. They asked me questions, picked up some comics, and had to show each other what cool stuff they found. The boys said to each other, “When Mom comes in here I’m going to ask her if I can have this.” The problem was Mom never came in. She pulled up in her mini-van and honked the horn in the parking lot, waving and shouting to the boys to get going. Well, they took the stuff they had in their hands and just tossed it anywhere – I found a sneak-peak Captain America in the $1 bin, some books on the shelves the TV sits on, others dumped in the bottom shelving by the action figures. They ran out and begged their mom to give them some money to buy something, and she kept saying, “No, get in the car, get in the car NOW, I SAID NO!” Why she let them come in if that was her attitude was beyond me. I even gave her a dirty look as she yelled at the boys for wanting to buy something, while I was picking up the comics they scattered through the store.

I’ve had a few kids pick (never with parents in the store) pick up a poster and start to twirl and toss it like it’s some kind of baton. I ALWAYS let them know that those are NOT toys, so if they’re not going to buy it they better just put it back. Another, more extreme example: we have FX Lightsaber replicas in our Star Wars section. These things are very realistic, collector quality items, that retail for around $120. When a kid (again – without a parent in sight) picks up the box and starts wiping it around, screaming to his friends to come and see “his” lightsaber, we first cringe, then let them know its $120. Most put it down knowing if they break it they’ll be in BIG trouble. Some continue to tempt fate until we make a more “direct” point that, “If you’re not buying that, don’t play with it.” While a few of these kids are fairly young, most of them are at least middle school age – shouldn’t they know better?

When I see someone pick something up and then look around to put it back I often just offer to do it for them. See, it’s easier to put it back than it is to first find out that it’s not in the right spot and then put it back. I would rather have people say to me, “I don’t remember where this goes.” Than hid it behind something in the completely wrong spot. See, we’re pretty organized here so people can find what they want, and we help them look too if they ask. But if my last issue of Spider-Man House of M #2 is jammed behind Nightwing: Year One paperback in the graphic novel section, I’m probably not going to find it until I move things around one day on the Graphic Novel section and see it.

Like I said, I know it’s just a part of owning a retail store, and most of the time I don’t mind it. We clean and organize and even re-arrange things here fairly frequently, so it’s just part of the territory. But I still wish that some people, and some people’s kids, would have a little respect for things that don’t belong to them

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