They Don’t Care a Lick About Me

I’m a Black Friday shopper. Even though I prefer to buy handmade, I do go out on Black Friday. It’s a tradition for my mom, my sisters, and me.  Not even so much for the sales,  it’s just what we do the day after Thanksgiving, and it’s fun time spent together. Don’t misunderstand me, if we are able to get some sales we are tickled pink. If not…………com si com sa.  
This year, though, I realized that it is getting harder and harder to get the actual deals……

………as I arrived at yet another store to find out that my coupon had expired an hour ago

………or that the coupon wasn’t good for another three hours yet

………or that supplies of what I had actually wanted were, and I quote, “very limited.”

…….as stores open earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving, and force us to get out to wait in lines & fight the crowds on a day that should be spent with friends and family, in rest and thankfulness. No, we don’t HAVE to go, but let’s face it: some of those deals really help stretch the Christmas budget and we kinda HAVE to play along if we hope to get any of the deals, don’t we?

At one point, I stood in a major department store and listened to a sales lady convince an unknowing cutomer that an appliance’s “retail price” was $149.99 and that it was on sale just that day for $99.99. But, I had just purchased the same exact item the previous week for $99.99 not on sale.
It was all I could do to keep my mouth closed. I will admit that I lingered……and had to force myself to just walk away.

As a small business owner, my own sales and marketing department, and someone who cares very much about the people who support my shop, it hit me like a ton of bricks this year above all others……..
THEY DON”T CARE A LICK ABOUT ME {the customer}

The sales are just a ploy to get me to their store. They don’t really want to give me a deal, so long as they get me there because they know that once I’m there, I will at least buy SOMETHING…….ANYTHING.

They really don’t care about me……..Us………

……..and I guess we are used to it.

We accept that we are nameless, faceless, and above all, able to be replaced with another nameless, faceless shopper if we decide to shop elsewhere.

It’s just the state of affairs and has been for most of the 20th and all of the 21st century so…….WHY DOES THIS BUG ME SO MUCH?

It upsets me because I fear that my customers don’t realize HOW MUCH I appreciate them.

……..HOW MUCH I care about the product and the service they receive
……..HOW MUCH pleasure I take it packaging my product in a way that makes my customer feel “treated” to something special when they open it
……..HOW MUCH I LOVE to see them come back again
……..How there is a very good chance I remember them when they do come back
……..How much I love their input and relish their feedback
……..How much I enjoy getting to know them
……..How, when I run a sale, it really is to treat my customers to a deal, and reward them for shopping with me~

I can’t speak for all, but by and large, my attitude is the same as  that of most handmade brands.
We care.
We just do.

I’m thankful for each and every one of my customers because I fully know that there is a veritable sea of products and I am but a droplet in that sea.  Because I am thankful that a customer chooses me, I do everything in my power to make sure my sweet customer has the best experience possible. 

Maybe I’m a hopeless dreamer, but don’t you wish that more companies valued those people that support them? You know I love hearing your thoughts……..

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Comments

  1. happy “Black Friday” story for you:

    My son worked the 12 AM to 10 AM shift at a department store, and at one point was asked by a customer for help finding a certain pair of shoes. He spent nearly 1/2 an hour helping the man look for this particular item, and ended up discovering that there was actually none of the sort in stock. The man actually went to the manager and told them how impressed he was that my son had taken so much time to help him out and pay so much individual attention to him.

    Mind you, my son is a 19 year old still-not-grown-up young man who has a lip piercing, long-ish hair, smokes, and listens to scary death metal.

    see? There’s hope! hee hee 😉

    (by the way my Black Friday shopping was all done online – woo!)

  2. Beautifully said! I’m not a Black Friday shopper. (I’m not a shopper – period.) Race around like mad to buy products that will break in less than a year. Quality of manufactured goods is a real pet peeve of mine. Which is why I love the handmade movement so much. I wish someone was out there building fridges by hand! And as far as coupons – I’m the queen of coupon fail.

    Time spent with family – that is always worth it – no matter how it’s spent!

  3. Sara, I agree with so much you said. It is why I will not even approach a mall from the day after Thanksgiving until about mid-February :). I also get it about stretching the budget, though. So David and I have just decided to buy less this year. I am trying to buy local, so am sending my brothers and nephew boxes of products from local shops and local foods instead of Harry and David. Probably won’t save much at all, but at least my $$ aren’t going to Oregon. It is frustrating to find the right balance — meanwhile, good luck with your Etsy sales, here’s to a great handmade season!

  4. Sadly, there are some handmade shops out there that don’t treat their customers well either, but, I have only had wonderful experiences with the people that I buy from. Some people will even go above and beyond, and it is greatly appreciated.

    We don’t really have Black Friday sales where I live in Canada — some Canadian cities do, but you never hear the stories like what happens in the States. I start avoiding the malls on weekends near the end of November, and refuse to shop on Boxing Day. I hate the crowds and how rude and pushy they can be.

  5. I always hope customers have some inking as to how much I/We (the handmade community) appreciate them. When my hands labor over something that will be worn by another person for years to come, when my income is directly related to another person’s preferences, when my electric bill is paid for by my Etsy sales…these are things I do not take for granted and I love knowing others chose to focus on this, too. Very well said! 🙂

  6. Well said Sara! My husband saw a snowblower on the Sears online ad before Black Friday for a certain price. On Black Friday, they RAISED the price then put it on sale….for the same price it was previously. Stupid

  7. beautifully said. so true. so sad.

    it’s unfortunate, but did we make it happen?

    my husband took my kids out for the afternoon…and they had the time of their lives. not because they got the deal, but because they had quality time. that’s the true joy.

    and me? i got to be home all alone! Perfection!!

  8. Could not agree more and I, like you care very much about my customers, they keep coming back and some have become friends, they send me appreciation pictures and the best thing for me is that they know I care about them as you do to. I was very upset though when I heard on the news about the woman who peppered sprayed fellow customers so she could grab the bargain first. Well said Sara

  9. Great post. I too feel most stores aren’t actually offering sales that are better than the usual discounts, so to me there’s no point in trudging through shoppers if I can live without it. And I’ve really been loving Etsy this season! Way easier to shop online, AND support our country’s small handmade businesses. Best of luck to you this season!

    Blessings,
    Kristina
    Something 2 Write About

  10. This past Black Friday will be my last shopping venture. It was exhausting and down right scary. I got something another shopper wanted and felt like I had to walk backwards out of the store just to make sure she was not following me just to get the bargain she missed. I also had a rotten cold and yet stood outside in line for 2 hours to get into a store, then stood in line inside for antoher 90 minutes to save $40. Yes just $40. I realize that this shopping experience allows me to get presents I might not otherwise get but I feel the price is just too much to pay now. I look forward to sitting at home next year and doing my shopping at smaller stores, at normal hours and without having to carry my mace in with me. – Sharon

  11. I for one have gotten caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Black Friday shopping. I think it is what it is. Few bargains and large personal price to pay for those bargains – standing in the cold, getting less sleep, safety issues (watch out for ladies in Walmart with pepper spray). People may never stop participating. I think I realize now that there are better ways to shop and for better products. I for one plan to support some small businesses in my area with unique gifts even if price is higher.

  12. Amen!! I’ve never been a fan of black Friday much less Cyber Monday for all the reasons you state. It’s so nice to know that a buyer counts and unfortunately, big business has taken over all the Mom & Pop stores that made shopping so fun. Glad to know that there is a revival of the small business and sellers who really do care about their buyers. Way to go, Sara!! You said a mouthful!

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