13 June 2011
social commentary Sunday . . . 'honesty'
This is not a shop lifting post or clepto confessional, but . . . in my handmade world, i've experienced ladies coming back to my stall to say "oh my goodness, i just walked off with this accidentally, so sorry" to which i've said "thank you so much, i really appreciate your honesty" & i've had this reply more than once . . . "it's handmade, you're small business, if you were a big retailer i wouldn't have cared".
On Saturday at Handmade Market, i had two experiences . . . one lady poured her coffee into my beautiful new French linen lined basket of Liberty of London hair clips. Gulp. But . . . i didn't see it happen, she had to catch my attention to say "i'm SO sorry, i just spilt coffee on your hair clips, what can i do to help or fix this". I calmly said "i'm sure it will be fine, would you be able to grab some napkins for me". Add to this, i had about 30 ladies at my stall, bad timing, nightmare experience!! Anyway, she came around & we carefully wiped each product card & amazingly not one drip of coffee touched a single piece of precious Liberty fabric (thank goodness). She stopped & looked me in the eye after we laid out all the dry clips & removed the lining from the basket . . . "why are you so calm about this??" I said "if this is the worse thing that happens to either of us today, we're pretty lucky, i have 4 children, my husband is a soldier & goes to war, this is just a basket of hair clips". Her response "oh, no wonder you're so normal, i have 5 children, it's a bigger picture thing". Her mother was also with her saying "do i need to pay for the whole basket of hair clips, i will, i have plenty of granddaughters". I said it was fine & off they went, still embarrassed. I was so grateful that she told me as many people would have thought "oh no, will i have to pay for this mistake, did anyone see" & walked off, i would have been none the wiser & no doubt the coffee would have soaked through & ruined the fabric.
Now i've had an ENTIRE basket of pencil rolls taken off my stall, yep, the whole basket with about 20 x $35 pencil rolls, basket, price tag, the lot, stolen from a Mathilda's Market. That totally sucked & really upset me that someone would even think to do that. They also stole all the shopping i had done that day, softies & fabric, i lost $1K worth. Furious. Deflated. I've also done a market with arbitry parking conditions & scored a parking fine when all the other cars around me haven't. Sometimes life just sucks!!
I remember at the end of a long, busy & successful market around Christmas time last year, i undercharged a lady $10. I was so drained, i just lost my ability to count to $28 & didn't 'carry the one' in my head & said "that's $18 please". I remember her face, smug & smirked, she had $30 in her hands & passed me the $20 note, i gave her change & she rushed off. For the next 5 minutes, i recalculated in my dizzy head & thought, hang on, that was $28, no wonder she had that expression on her face . . . "what a liar". Sometimes people just suck!!
The other situation at the Handmade Market on Saturday . . . one of the last customers of the day "that's $15 thank you", she handed me a $20 note & i handed her $15 change. Her daughter piped up "wasn't that $15, you just gave my mother an extra $10 in her change" & in her mother's defence, she wasn't watching & hadn't the chance to say i was wrong. I said "thank you so much for your honesty, i really appreciate it, it has been a very long day but every $10 counts". They thought nothing of it, but i was thrilled. Faith in people, restored!!
Look at the faces on these handmade softies i've bought along the way, i could not look at them if i knew i'd pinched one or been undercharged, i'd feel like my children had evil in their bedrooms. I know i've been undercharged at large department stores before (i add things up in my head to ensure i'm not overcharged) , i have not piped up & corrected them, telling myself there must have been some 'discount in the system'. With the retail situation at the moment, there are sales left, right & centre, who knows what you are paying when you get to the cash register after a further 25% off already discounted ticket prices??
When it comes to small business or handmade . . . one off, unique, hand crafted original products, do you think it brings out extra effort, honesty & faith in people??
Enjoy your long weekend & hoping it's an honest one if you're shopping, love Posie