Sonic Signage For Chicken Strips
Customer Rejects: Monster Wins

Retail Hell Memories: Opening Nightmares - "By The Way, Your Sign Says "Closed"


This story was originally posted on May 21, 2011.

Open For HellHeya Heya RHUers! The Dark Lord of Marketing here again with another tale of yester-year custy lunacy. This one wasn’t even crazy-entitlement or sheer bitchiness either, it was just straight up WTF!

In college I worked part time at a local Mom & Pop video store/photo lab. I know, strange combo right? Hey, it worked for them and has successfully been one of the best places I’ve ever worked for!

Being their college boy part-timer, I was the main person working weekends and usually opened the store both Saturday and Sunday, and naturally had they typical routine of coming in an hour to 45 minutes before open to start up the machines and run tests, get the drawer set up, check in the pile of returned videos from overnight, and do any of the cleaning that needs taken care of that’s just absolutely impossible to do with customers present.

The only unfortunate part of this was that the storefront consisted of windows from about knee height to ceiling the width of the store, so if anyone happened to be an early bird they would always see me and assume the store was open. I lost track of how many times I opened early cause a custy was at the door, but it was usually along the lines of ten or fifteen minutes early at the max so it never bothered me much.

Until *she* showed up…

One dark and dreary winter morning when I got in the back door and shut off the alarm system I heard a steady *kthunk* *kthunk* noise that piqued my curiosity, and naturally being the super-courageous and completely invincible 19-year-old that I was I didn’t even think twice about investigating it.

I peered through a crack in a sliding door that separated the stockroom from the sales floor and lo and behold there was a woman at the front door on the outside rhythmically tugging on the locked door.

Dumbass 2Like any good retail slave, I didn’t want to have to deal with someone a full hour before I had to so I began running what setup I could do from the back room whilst in a completely dark store.

Now this was a Saturday morning at about 9am, and it was overcast and drizzling so there wasn’t a whole lot of ambient light to fool the eye; it was just a little beyond the level of obvious that there was not a single electric light on in the front of the store, but even after about ten minutes while I counted out the drawer from the back room and loaded all the control strips for the photo processors there was still the steady *kthunk* *kthunk* from out front.

Now I knew I was in trouble, cause the only things I had left to do were in the visible store front, so I sucked up my disdain (which didn’t take too long, I was only 19 so I hadn’t built up anywhere near as much as I have today…) and went out front…

Sure enough, the second the custy saw me through the windows she began waving dramatically to get my attention.

I gave her a quizzical look and made a show of checking my watch while I walked out to the front door, and an even larger-than-necessary show of unlocking the front door, going so far as to purposefully use the wrong key the first time.

I was only going to crack it open and ask if I could help her, but the second it was unlocked she swung it open, said “thank you!” and walked right past me up to the counter and stood patiently, the whole time I’m still standing by the front door staring dumbfounded at her.

She wasn’t making a grab for anything at all, so I trotted back behind the counter and haltingly asked “Can I help you with anything?”

She responded “Sure, I’d like double prints on these,” and nicely set a roll of film on the counter in between us, “it’s for {insert forgotten customer name and phone number here}”.

Still being apprehensive, I said “OK, would sometime about 11 o’clock be alright to pick this up? We’re usually not open for another half hour…”

Carolanne derp“Certainly, that’s no problem!”

She was even being kinda cheery-sounding, certainly not how I’d be after standing in the cold pulling on a locked door for at least ten minutes, and showing absolutely no confirmation or reaction to the fact that I had just mentioned that we weren’t open for business yet.

She just turned around and started walking back to the front door with a little friendly “I’ll see you then” tossed over her shoulder.

I was still in a state of shock and confusion when she got back to the door, opened it up, and looked back at me to say “By the way, your sign here says ‘Closed’…”

Reeeeeeeeeally lady? The sign tipped you off but the locked door, lack of interior lights, and the fact that the only employee you talked to was still wearing a winter coat didn’t? Really!?!?!

Ah well, at least she wasn’t rude about it. Although it made me wonder exactly what medication cocktail she was on. Till next time!!!

--Dark Lord of Marketing


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