I’ve spent a couple of days thinking about how to talk about this. I don’t want to rave or preach. I want to say something that will help you realize that mental attitude is much more visible than you might imagine. And I want to offer, perhaps, a little mantra to make your day go smoother, and ultimately, your business to prosper.
So settle in, ‘cause I’m gonna talk about what’s not talked about in polite company. Grab an herbal tea or a Pabst Blue Ribbon or a Kir, and put aside, for just a moment, your attitude.
‘Cause it’s showing. And it ain’t pretty. Eavesdrop with me a moment. These are resale shop owners talking about the very people they serve, the people without whom they don’t have a business…
“ these morons who bring me junk!… Idiots!”
“yep, I’ve just been sitting here twiddling my thumbs waiting for you to show up”
“annoying newbies that ignore it all and bring us crud”
Yes, your attitude shows. If you think civilians, those non-retail folk who have items to consign, sell, or donate, are idiots and morons…it might be you’re looking at it all wrong.
Even if you have a how-to brochure, an entertaining 50-words-or-less explanation, and a business which screams the quality, stylishness, and class you have developed for your target shoppers, people will get it wrong. Why? Because it just is NOT that important to them.
And in addition, let me tell you straight (take a slug of the Kir here): there are fewer than 25% of the resale shops I have ever been in that actually are entitled to even mention “newbies that ignore it all”… because fewer than 1 in 4 shops tries to pre-educate potential suppliers, and even fewer do it well. So before you cop an attitude about idiots and morons, stop and think: have you truly tried to educate them? And why in heaven’s name would you expect a civilian to know that “your” customer doesn’t want Alfred Dunner trousers, or that the mode of transport she has chosen for her underloved garments isn’t to your liking? I mean, are you like, allergic to Hefty Bags or what, lady?
Now sure (here, have a soothing sip of chamomile), there will always be folks who try to “get away” with stuff. Such is life. Have none of you ever dealt with a crabby eight-year-old? That’s no reason to call the eight-year-old a baby. He’s just eight. Like your clients are just, well, NOT resale shopkeepers. They’re simply folk.
It’s up to you to “raise them right.” And you cannot do that by calling them, even out of their hearing, names. Because I guarantee you, they will see right through your attitude, just like an eight-year-old will.
So. Understand that to your suppliers, what you can sell for them is a mystery, and, to be perfectly honest, a mystery they could care less about. You’re the resaler, not them. That’s your job, not theirs.
Understand that you will, more often than you would like, have to sort through possessions that are less, often incredibly less, desirable than you would chose. That the relationship between what you think your clientele will want to buy, and what some folk want you to sell, is never going to be a perfect match. That you will always deal with some people that you cannot understand.
That doesn’t make them idiots or morons or anything else. That just makes them…people. And until you understand that their rejects are NOT as important to them as your business is to YOU… you will be chafing and growling and getting tummy aches. Get over it. They are not trying to ruin your day. But your attitude can ruin theirs, and yours…and your business in the bargain.
What’s the mantra that will help you deal with someone who doesn’t understand what it is you want? “I’m a professional. It’s my livelihood. She’s an amateur. It’s a minor part of her day. Why would I expect her to understand…or even to care?”
So why, you are probably saying to yourself, should Kate care about YOUR attitude? Well, I am a career resaler. And I want to tell anyone I run across, proudly, that I am a resaler. I want the title to be one with dignity, professionalism…and kindness.
Okay, grab another beer and ponder this a while. The next time someone darkens your door with things you wouldn’t wear to a dog fight… think of Kate, and smile gently, and murmur, “Thank you for thinking of us, but I’m afraid we just don’t have the customer for this.” Repeat as necessary. Then go in the back room, shine your halo, and unruffle those pretty wing feathers. Repeat as necessary.
(The photo’s courtesy of Lil Red Johnnie. Check it out if you like acoustical guitar. )
(Need a drink now? Here’s a recipe for Kir.)