In Saugatuck anything can happen…
Over the years folks have said that I could sell snow to an Eskimo! I would always chuckle as I truly believe that people buy what they want, when they want, and I just happen to do my job well enough that I make it easier for them. In this case, however, even I am starting to become a believer!
For almost 20 years we have been selling our craft in Saugatuck. I realized, that over this period of time, for some of our customers, shopping with us has become a part of their summer vacation tradition. Why? I think mostly because we do provide a unique product, but also because we have fun with these seasonal customers as they shop. On the weekend of July 4th just such a visit took place. Here is how it happened…
A long time customer, and lovely lady, was making her annual vacation visit with her friend to see our new creations. She made her selections and was just hanging out a bit. By surprise she came across an additional piece that captured her interest. Since she was looking at a unique item that would be hard to replace in the future, I suggested a layaway plan since she had already made her main purchase. I told her I would even hold the item for a week so she could contemplate the possibility. I agreed to hide the item in a back file while she made her decision.
Somehow, another staff member inadvertently showed the piece of jewelry to another customer and received an offer on it – amazingly for more money. Caught in an uncomfortable situation, I immediately contacted my customer and told her about the offer, explaining I would not sell the item if she had decided it should be hers. I would easily “let her off the hook” if it really wasn’t a serious consideration. She said, before she could answer me, she would like to come in to view the jewelry one more time. When she did, I saw the longing in her eyes, quite aware that the piece fit nicely with the other pieces she already owned. To be frank, I knew she wanted it!
The usual objections arose: “I can’t spend the money, my husband will kill me. You can make another one like it later, can’t you?” And finally, the coup de grass of all objections: “If it is meant to be…” I saw her painful resignation as she sadly returned it to it’s stand. Because I was connecting to this sadness, it seemed something more important than just a purchase was at stake, I felt the desire to help her fight harder, so, unexpectedly, and for the first time in my 20 years of finding homes for our lovely pieces, using a superlative, (which I won’t share) I blurted out an exhortation to encourage her to purchase this ring!
When the shock subsided, (for both of us) we all burst into laughter. Still laughing, she threw her credit card down next to her sparkling desire. “Viva La Layaway!!” She shouted, still giggling that I could say such a thing. I apologized profusely, but she would have none of it because she said it was just what she needed!
What happened the next day I could not have been anticipated and still makes me chuckle.Two unusual figures entered my store. I could see them on our monitor, but my daughter made it to the sales floor first. I heard one of them say, in a low southern drawl, “We want to see Deborah. Thank you very much.”
I wasn’t quite prepared for the encounter that awaited me, although the odd look on my daughter’s face (God Bless her, she didn’t break), as she invited me to join our customers, should have been a clue. There, in sparkling Fourth of July attire were not one, but TWO, Elvis impersonators posing in classic Elvis posture! Once the screams of surprise subsided from me, one of them drawled, “We want to know about this new sales technique you are using on our wives!”
As more laughter erupted his wife and her friend, (the one that purchased jewelry the day before) appeared. They were reveling into the swift and shocking touché only two Fourth of July Elvis’s can bring to a miscreant sales woman. When the light finally dawned I hugged both Elvis impersonators, and their wives promising I had learned my lesson.
“I can’t get enough of your love!”