I work for a fashion accessories brand, which due to troubled times (etc, etc) has decided to pull out of the UK. The brand is high end; good quality and worth the money, but expensive nonetheless. Not something I would usually be able to afford anyway!
With this in mind, we usually offer a boutique service. Handbags and wallets go in dustbags, jewellery in silk pouches, our carrier bags are high end, gift boxes and wrapping are available on request and so on. As we are now in closure, we are offering 70%+ discounts throughout the store (something that would NEVER happen usually), bringing prices down to the middle to lower end of the high street (where one would not expect any boutique services such as wrapping etc in this country). We have also run out (or near enough) of all our gift wrapping equipment and our dustbags for all our products.
Many of the customers who know the brand are buying in volume, some easily buying 10 or more items of jewellery. While we still had some silk pouches for the jewellery, we instituted a rationing system where every customer received one or possibly two no matter the volume they purchased or the amount they spent.
This leads to (a lot of) conversations which go something like this:
Customer: “Could I have separate bags for the jewellery?”
Me: “I’m afraid we’re running out, so I can’t give you more than one.”
Customer: “But these is a gift.”
Me: “I’m sorry, but a lot of our customers are buying gifts and we just don’t have enough pouches.”
Customer: “Could I have a gift box then?”
Me: “We’ve run out of gift boxes I’m afraid.”
Customer: “Usually, I can get a box.”
Me: “Yes, but we’re closing down, and unfortunately we haven’t got any left.”
Customer: “Since I’ve spent so much, could I have a couple of extra bags?”
(Note: The customers are usually spending what is to them – and to me – a lot of money, but is not an uncommon amount within the store. Further, with the amount of money they’re saving, they could go and buy some jewellery bags or gift wrapping with money to spare)
Me: “I’m afraid we’re only giving one bag per customer, because we don’t have many left.”
Customer: “So if I went out, came back in again and bought this item, you’d give me another bag?”
Me: (reaching the end of my tether): “No.”
Customer: “Could you wrap it in some tissue paper?”
Me: “If I can find some, then of course.”
It is a really good thing that I’m not currently around small children (i.e. Those at the age when you’re teaching them so say please and thank you) because I know that if that were the case I would not be able to stop myself from adding “Please” at the end of their requests (honestly, the number of people who are not saying please is appalling).
What is worse, is that customers will then often approach another member of staff asking for gift boxes, wrapping etc, as if – I don’t know – they don’t believe me, or think I’m just being mean to them.
I’m sure there are politer ways of dealing with them than I have been using – I’m afraid I lose my temper too easily. Any suggestions, Miss Jeanne, are most welcome!
There isn’t much solace or advice I can give you! Your situation is a common one in retail and the best answer is a consistent, “I’m sorry, I cannot accommodate that request”, type of answer which you did. You really don’t want to start the snarky habit of adding “Please” to people’s requests, however. What fantasies you play out in my mind as to how you would love to react to these customers is between you and God.