Good Customers

I have owned both retail and service businesses.
If you own a business someday, you will hope for good customers. 
Good customers make business a joy, and bad customers make business a nightmare. 
I hope you practice being a good customer, so if you own a business someday, you'll deserve to have good customers. 

If you read the Dallas County Mystery, you should remember that Sophie’s dad expected everyone to know what they wanted to order before he stepped up to the counter. Have you seen someone in grocery store who started unloading their cart onto the checking conveyor, then ask where is the terragon-infused olive oil? Then they stop loading and amble to Aisle 8 to forage for the oil? Tsk, tsk. 

What makes a good customer? 

Part of being a good customer is paying when expected. Some things we pay for immediately, like ice cream cones and movies. 
But many adult expenses are pre-arranged, like rent and utilities. 
Adults arrange to have a place to live and electricity, on the promise they will pay a certain amount each month. 

When adults don’t pay their promises on time, they lose respect, trust, and often the service they arranged-for. 
I know landlords who have to evict people because the renters don't keep their promises about paying rent on time. 
When the landlords cleaned out the houses, the stuff they left behind, testified that the tenants had the money for rent, 
but used the money for other things. 
Their choices made their children homeless too. 

Too many people resent paying for the very things they need to live. Don’t resent paying a fair price for what you need. 
This is a part of life, and part of being a mature adult. Money is first for what you need, not for what you want.

Another part of being a good customer is being polite with business employees when there is a disagreement 
about the quality of a product. Most cashiers don’t make any of the business decisions. 
They can’t and shouldn’t refund a broken item that was damaged from abuse. 
State your case respectfully and talk it out. Ask for a manager if you’re not satisfied. 
And with a big store, you can go online and send feedback, with details going to the big bosses. 

Don’t be the kind of customer who won’t discuss a problem with a store, but will gossip to the neighbors about the problem. 
This is mean and unfair to the store. If a store refuses to fix a legitimate problem, then you may have a right to warn others, 
but speak judiciously. Ask your adult what the word 'judiciously' means. 

If you don’t like the price, politely leave. Stores are not required to price their merchandise according to what your wishes. 
They have expenses to pay before they ever open their doors in the morning. 
Businesses have things call 'fixed expenses' and 'variable expenses'. They too, have to pay rent and utilities.

Good customers are honest customers. They don't shoplift, or switch price tags (which is another type of shoplifting).
Neither do they buy clothes, shoes, etc., fully intending to wear them to an event, then return them. That is a form of thievery.

Some people like to bully others, and some people specialize in bullying store clerks. Don’t be like that. 

Also, some people shop for attention from clerks, expecting the clerks to fawn over them and make them feel important. 
They shop just to feel important, and expect clerks to treat them like royalty. Don’t be like that. 
While clerks should be happy you are there, customers are not their reason for living. 

If we need to feel special, then we should work to make ourselves special, by helping other people. 
The most important people in the world are those who help the most people. 

What if you need something but aren’t sure what you need? Is it rude to ask a clerk? 
Of course not. 

I used to work in a hardware store, and the funnest part of my job was helping people figure out how to fix stuff. 
Sometimes, they didn’t even know the name of the thing they were trying to fix. 
I enjoyed teaching them about the repairs they were attempting. 
(even today, when I go into a hardware store, if I see someone with a puzzled look, I will ask them if they need help.)

If you go to a store to buy something, and the clerk vaguely points you to a far corner without taking you there, 
just wander away and ask a different employee for help. Just say you’re having a problem finding someone that wants to help you. 
That often brings positive results. 

If there is a difficulty with a business, keep a clear conscience in your choice of words.
Don't be a doormat, but don't making the matter worse than it needs to be. 

Good employees learn to identify good customers, and they form a bond when those customers visit regularly. 

Eric J Rose
photo: (Thrasher, not Rockwell)
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