We’re all simply too nice. And on top of that, we feel guilty for being nice.
But we were raised to be polite and be nice.
So we try and take a little SOMEthing from just about everyone, especially if THEY’re nice, don’t we? Then we spend the next 60 days trying to hide it somewhere on the sale floor because it’s not fashionable or it’s in sad shape or we simply cannot BEAR to look at it for 2 months.
And then we feel guilty about being nice because it wasn’t very businesslike to accept it was it?
I was an especially soft touch for folks who had obviously struggled to make their items appealing.
No problem turning away those who couldn’t be bothered with condition and cleanliness. Those folks got the firm and polite “thank you but these are not what my clientele are looking for” line.
But those who tried to do their best got all my attention. For example, we had one woman who brought in lesser brands but they were immaculate. Those we took, and those sold, and actually sold well. They were the bottom end of our pricing structure, but every shop has to have a bottom end, right? Not ALL blouses can be priced at $18 and up, so her $8 crisp, clean, and well-ironed blouses filled a real need in my shop.
For the potential consignor who tried but missed the style mark, I did my best to take a few things. Quite often, these were items where styles were not so volatile: a robe or nightie, a wallet or cosmetic case, packaged pantihose or even basic clothing. I wasn’t truly looking to find something acceptable, I was remembering that after all (for example) not every customer was as style-conscious as we as shopkeepers are. And that some shoppers shop resale SPECIFICALLY because they don’t like the current styles, colors, fabrics.
I told myself that my “search” for something acceptable in these batches was based on “we need basics too”. . . but really it was out-and-out nice-ness. AND my knowledge that yes, I wanted to have her speak well of my shop. . .
and FINALLY I also knew that the little old lady whose things were not my customers’ style quite often had things in her closets that I REALLY wanted. These might be vintage apparel and accessories, household decorative items, even the Miriam Haskell necklaces and bed jackets I could never get enough of! I would always mention this type of item to these consignors, and often got a very good response: next trip in, she bring in the 1950′s alligator bag she thought we wouldn’t take because it was too old (we sold it for $500+), or the stash of embroidered hankies that she thought no one could possibly want (all day long, $3-$4 a shot, delighted customers) , or the old crock her grandmother made pickles in back in Zanesville (which looks terrific on my patio filled with geraniums.)
It was nice and profitable to be nice. And that’s nothing to feel guilty about. Try it. Be nice.The gorgeous letterpress poster is from Soma Gallery in the UK.