Thursday, January 30, 2014

Southern Snow Days...

How peculiar...in South Louisiana its rare we see snow, never mind a full blown ice storm.  But January has delivered us 3 snow days.  I know the rest of the world seems to function just fine in snow but we have no infrastructure to deal with this frozen precipitation.  And honestly, it was just a big icy mess for days.  We saw five beautiful minutes of soft snowy wisps...and then back to frozen rain, pelting the ground. 
And as snow days go; the shop must close.  I wouldn't imagine anyone would venture out in this icy muck...but it would be just my luck someone would try and wrap themselves around a pole, cursing my name!

So, nothing you can do about it, right?  I resounded to the fact that as much as I needed to be open, I just couldn't.  And honestly, it was the pause I needed to get back in the swing of things.  I know I haven't properly discussed it but it's been a really bad month.  Not so much in sales (they could be better, but its typical January par for the course).  With the exceptional Christmas season, we saw a record number of exchanges this month.  Not that it was too bad in general, but more than we ever see...and it's disappointing that someone wasn't satisfied for whatever the reason. 

Pretty standard in most boutiques, we have a 10 day exchange or merchandise credit only policy...during the holidays I do relax it a bit.  This year most people understood, except for one remarkable woman who was the spitting image of Paula Deen (when I say remarkable - I'm saying bitch in the nicest way I can). 
She was 30 days into an exchange and wanted cash - it's just not our policy, but as I dutifully explained I would accommodate her with an exchange past our normal 10 days.  She slams the merchandise down, turns her head and stares me down like Medusa, "this is what you get for shopping local!"  She made every effort to put me down, threaten my business, tell me I sell just plain crap no one would want.  I stood my ground and she pocketed a merchandise credit to use at a later date (oh goodie.) while she stomped out to her luxury SUV. 

I've felt really bad about it until the snow storm; not that I did anything wrong and I certainly was not ashamed for how I treated her - I was professional as I could be under the circumstances.  It's just how do you have your own business, not to mention, in the very building that you own too and someone feels entitled to be a bully and treat you in this manner.  So, it's been really hard to go in each day and wonder if someone else will follow her lead. 
Our snow days were my reflection time; birdwatching (did you know I'm a huge bird nerd?  I named my business Nest?!), bubble baths, hot chocolate, and naps...yes, glorious napsThat was a splurge that made me feel like a 16 year old again.  I didn't miss the store one bit...and that in itself worried me.

Today, my first day back, was magical again.  I helped a couple pick out the perfect necklace to be engraved, another lady shopped for her first great grand baby, and a bewildered husband looked for a gift for his wife, a fan of the store - and said he found the perfect thing.  All these things were possible because I decided to open my very unusual store in one of the most unusual towns today.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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