I talk a lot about what shopowners should be doing for their customers and tips on running a needlepoint shop. Several things have occurred in the last few weeks that have pointedly reminded of things that customers should NOT be doing. I know there is that old adage about the customer's always being right. WEEELL--maybe. Some customers have heard about that adage and are trying to take advantage of it. But, my response is: Get real! You can't be rude, you can't be imperious, and you certainly can't be obnoxious.
These are a few general rules for customers to remember when patronizing any retail establishment; and especially a specialty shop, such as a needlepoint shop.
1. Don't ever play the "good customer" card unless you really are a good customer. A regular customer is not necessarily a "good customer". At Needle Nicely, if you spend less than $500 a year, you are not a good customer. (Note: at the cost of needlepoint canvases today, this could be one canvas and its fibers or one finishing of a purse.) Mary Agnes will recognize you and be pleasant and helpful, as she is to someone she knows; or, also a new, unknown walk-in. But buying an occasional skein of fiber does not entitle you to status as a "good customer". I will recognize you as a regular customer and be genuinely happy to see you. I really like my customers and enjoy chatting with them.
2. I have been in this business over 40 years. I have a good eye for color and quantity. When you come in and ask for my assistance with color selections or quantities, I will offer my suggestions. If you reject them, I will back off. You are the customer, so I offer my advice; but then, I defer to you. It doesn't hurt my feelings if you don't like my advice. I really don't mind charging you for an additional skein, even though I told you that it wasn't necessary. I also don't mind if you select colors other than the ones I recommended. You know where you are putting the canvas. However, don't keep insisting on my input so that you can continuously reject it. Not a game I play and I will pointedly step back. (A friend of mine says I am as subtle as an air-raid, though I say nothing.)
3. Don't call or email multiple shops for the price of the same canvas. Shops now have a resource known as the Facebook Brick and Mortar Shops group. Shopowners can ask for needed dye lots of fibers there. They can also compare notes about occasions like this. Also, needlepoint is a small world and when shops call designers, the designers will share if they've recently had multiple calls about a certain canvas. You either want it, or you don't. Don't waste my time comparison shopping. I definitely won't consider you a customer! And after all these machinations, I don't want you as a customer. I have many other things to deal with involved with the running of my shop.
4. Two weeks after a sale (or the week before), don't ask for the sale discount. Would you expect to go into Macy's or Sax and get the sale price early? Although in these days of constant department stores, perhaps these are poor examples. Please don't ask your local dress shop to give you their sale discount either before or after the sale. It just leaves a bad taste in the mouth. In these internet days, most shops will honor emails or phone calls during sales. But NOT before or after the actual sale.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that needlepoint is a very personal experience. Most shopowners want the experience to be a positive one and are willing to work with you, the customer, so you receive the maximum of a positive experience during your transaction. Please try to do your part in the transaction to ensure that it is positive.