I had an experience earlier this week that really upset me. I went home fuming, planning to immediately blog about it. Then I decided it's not very professional of me to air these things in public.
Then I decided that maybe it's something that does need to get discussed, just not out of anger. It's about an question that has come up every so often since we opened:
Can I have a discount? (I'm a local...I'm a designer...I'm a guild member...I'm buying so much I should get one...you get the idea.)
This week's scenario: A customer comes in and buys up a lot of sale yarn...yarns that are already marked down close to cost. (We are grateful.) She returns in the afternoon to buy a "knitter's loom" that we have also generously marked down to almost our cost. She wants an additional discount on the loom because she has already spent so much money in the morning. I pointed out that her purchases were almost all at cost, and apologize that I can not give her any further discounts. Does not matter! Not only do I owe her a larger discount on the loom, I owe her free shipping to somewhere. I told her we are not an open market, open for negotiation. I explained that our shop is a privately owned business, not a giant corporation. I also told her it was OK if she didn't want to buy the loom if I didn't give her free shipping or steeper discount. (Frankly, at this point, I'd rather haul the loom out to the dumpster than give her a break.) Realizing I am about to lose my cool, I left the room. Then she told Connie that I really need to get a sense of humor about these things, that she bargains her way around Santa Fe all the time (and apparently scares people into dealing with her...or maybe this is why she's shopping in Taos?).
So this many days later, I think I've cooled off enough to talk about this from my point of view.
For starters: I wish I could give ALL of you discounts. I really do. I love making people happy, and were it the situation where I was just here to give away yarns, I probably would. BUT...that's not the case. Here are some of the reasons why:
- I can't bargain with my landlord on my rent, or the utility companies on our utilities.
- I can't ask my insurance companies (liability and workmen's comp) for discounts because we're such a swell place.
- I can' ask my suppliers to give me any more discount than they already do.
- UPS won't give me any discount on my shipping charges just because I wish they would.
- My employees aren't in a position for me to ask them to give me a discount on their wages.
- We have always had a generous selection of top quality yarns marked at good sale prices; something that never happened in the yarn shop I worked in long ago...and this is a discount to our customers.
So having said all of that, I repeat: I wish I could, but I can't. If you're someone who is inclined to ask for a discount, I ask you to remember my list next time you're in your local store. It's hard to pay today's operating costs and stay in business...so if you value your LYS, and the opportunity to see and feel what you're purchasing, please do them the honor of understanding all that it takes to keep the boat afloat.
Thanks for listening.