Friday, August 1, 2008
Double Edged Sword
My competitors went out of business, partly because what they were doing was wrong. Maybe they stocked the wrong product, staffed the wrong people, or spent all their product expansion money on fancy carpet. Who knows? They stopped doing business and are gone now, meaning their store wasn't worth continuing with someone else at the helm.
So when their ex-customers come into the store and find it "strange" that I don't carry a wide selection of jigsaw puzzles, bridge score cards, or funky dice, like that other store did, there are two parts of my brain that start to analyze this.
First, I want to please my customers. I often err on the side of pleasing them, even if it means busting my purchasing budget. Pleasing your customers is good, but you can go too far. You can't have everything people want and those most demanding are those less likely to special order. I have a sales track record for the area that says if I buy bridge score cards, I'll sell them once a year. Yet, with new customers comes new opportunity, so I can't just throw my head back and cackle at their misfortune.
Second, it's their own damn fault. That's my inner cackle. They shopped at this other store instead of mine. They play games that will die out in their generation. They're fringe gamers with bad taste. Where were they when the rent was due? Alright, it's wrong to think this way. I admit it, but when you spend years wondering how to get those people into your store, spending thousands of dollars, and they only come because you're the last resort, there's a certain level of, well, conflictedness. I have to step back from my ego and try to conjure up a little Buddhist compassion. It's potential opportunity as well, along with a potential danger of listening to the wrong customers. I've done just fine without those two bridge card sales a year or the funky dice. I don't feel socially responsible for carrying slow selling or bad games, although there are those who expect you to take up some sort of local game store mantle and bite the bullet.