Dear Local Retail Establishments,

Comments

1
Now, Two for One Happy Hour specials - those could use signs.
2
I don't have a problem with these signs. I do have a problem with tip jars anywhere there happens to be a cash register. What sort of tip did the pizza vendor near the fountain @ folklife expect? They literally took a piece of pizza off a shelf and put it on a paper plate.
3
I hardly go into a store any more if I spy a proprietor waiting to pounce. It's awful, I feel terrible for their predicament, but act cool, struggling shopowners! Of course, the corollary for me is totally neurotic - I sometimes overspend in stores where they can't help registering a little disappointment it wasn't someone better who just walked in (hey, Ian!).
4
@3,

Related to that, I hate it when someone asks if I need help the second I walk in. No, I don't need help; I want to be left alone.
5
@2, my local video rental shop has a tip jar on the counter. I agree that it's getting ridiculous.

As far as Paul is concerned, it sounds like a pretty serious case of PMS. Take a fucking Midol.
6
I disagree, Paul. People overlook local businesses all the time, even when they live in neighborhoods that have tons of them. And you do hear people expressing regret when some store they like close, because they hadn't been there in a while. So I don't think the store has anything to lose by posting signs like that. You might be put off by it, but tell me that it's actually driving you away. If you can, then you have a point. Otherwise, as I said, they have nothing to lose from reminding people that they're on the ropes.
7
@ 5, what shop is this?
8
I dunno, I had a home furnishing store I loved and a plant store I loved both close shop because even though everyone loved them, nobody bought anything. And they really weren't that expensive, they had some expensive stuff but most of it was well within people's budget. I guess they just couldn't imagine the stuff in their houses or something.
9
VideoOne at Colfax and Lafayette, Matt.
10
I disagree. There's nothing wrong with a reminder that local businesses are really struggling. No one wants their neighborhood to contain a lot of empty store fronts, and it might make some people be more mindful of where they buy stuff they were going to buy anyway.
11
@10, it might make some people more mindful, but if your shop makes its nut on discretionary spending an atmosphere of fear is the opposite of what it takes for part people from their money these days. At least when it comes to overspending fools like me.
12
@9, I know that place. Hilarious. I wonder if they report the tips like they're supposed to? Probably not.
13
I'm sure they don't, but from what I can see they don't get enough for it to make much of a difference.
14
if people aren't buying your shit it's because 1) your shit sucks 2) your customers are poor 3) your shit is not appealing to your non-poor customers

i don't see how a sign fixes any of those
15
Apparently the sign *did* make you want to patronize their business, Paul.

Ow, that pun hurt.
16
To which I reply--"If you want my money--please offer more than a museum viewing experience. I want a product at a competitive price and service that a megastore can't provide. Look inward, dear shop keeper. You don't owe me a viewing room and I don't owe you a living."
17
@15 yowza!
18
let's take the record store: there's tons of shit i WANT, but, considering a. i'm flat busted, and b. i've already got 1000's of CDs & records, there is nothing that i NEED. sorry, but discretionary spending has to suffer. i NEED food. and alcohol. and weed. and pussy. but not new records.
19
I like the signs. They probably do make me buy more by reminding me how sad I'd be if they closed (thinking of Traveler's on Pine).
20
How about a little reverse psychology, Paul?
New sign: "Please go away, I don't want to sell anything to you."
Does that make you want to go in and buy something?
21
I absolutely agree, Paul. That type of sign provokes an immediate, involuntary anger in me every time. The sad thing is that it's only the wording that's bad, not the message.

The problem is that by saying "If you love this store, please buy something", is that that my subconscious decodes it as "If you don't buy anything, you don't love this store". They're holding me emotionally hostage, and I resent it.

But if the sign says "Thank you for shopping locally, your dollars give back to the community" (or something like that), instead of making me feel angry, it makes me feel good towards the business. Because now they are saying "By walking in here, you must be a person who shops locally, and therefore we love you and you should consider yourself an awesome person". Then I buy something, because my subconscious tells me that buying something there makes me a good person.

Same message, but the wording makes all the difference. Assume that the people walking by are friends. Don't assume they are enemies.
22
Paul's right. You can't browbeat customers into buying - it never works. It's not a sustainable business plan. As someone who had a store that recently closed I was often asked why I didn't reach out to the community for more support. And that's the answer. The public has to want your goods and services. And if they're not willing to pay for it you need to do a better job or close the doors.

That said - it's a reminder for all of us that these little shops that everyone has such warm fuzzies for have to pay rent. And times is hard... So spend some cash if you love a shop. And shopkeepers need to work hard to keep customers. But - I admit - I've never seen a sign like this help - it's offputting. Nothing makes people more uncomfortable than the smell of desperation.

But then, my shop closed. So what do I know?
23
I sympathize with the sentiment that would drive a business owner to put up such a sign, but I agree that the phrasing suggested by 21 is a lot more constructive.

I used to work at a bookstore, and we'd have people come in and read books from cover to cover over a series of days, thus making it unsellable. We'd have people come in and do research for papers. We'd have people ask us to spend 15 minutes trying to find a book they wanted and then tell us that they were going to order it online because it's cheaper. Of course it's cheaper-they don't have staff to do your searches for you. We'd h ave people come in every single day, read the newspaper and magazines, and never, ever spend a cent. People, that's what libraries are for. Bookstores are in business to sell print material, not for you to spend hours sampling the merchandise and costing the store money. No wonder the local bookstore is an endangered species.
24
What store-front retailers need to get right now is that since the internet serves people cheaper, they need to serve people better. I went shopping for a pair of prescription sunglasses today. We're talking polarized progressive lenses which will be about $250; add $200 to $400 for really nice frames and we enter the realm of a discretionary major purchase for me. The salesman at a store on Broadway actually told me to come back "at the end of next week or after" to look at styles he had on order. Why the hell didn't he get out the catalogue and try to capture my interest? There was no one else shopping in the store. I have seen several online optometrist sites that will send you designer frames, postage paid, to try on if you pay a deposit, and they are cheaper, where do you think I should shop?