I don’t know if its just Christian retail or the general public but sometime it just floors me how stupid some folks are. And I promise, this is not what I think of people all the time that walk in my store. Its just when somethings happen to you over and over again, your just in awe of the wealth of knowledge that you thought was out there but these people have just some how seemed to miss. I hope more than just my co-workers or anyone whos worked Christian retail (yes, its quite different than just plain old retail) find this somewhat funny and say a few “amens” at the computer screen.
Every part of our store makes for different questions commonly asked by customers. When you walk in, to your left is the registers which is right next to the bible section. It even has a nice sign above the bibles that says “BIBLES”. But yet, we (sales associates) still can stand right under that sign and we get asked “Where are your bibles?” Are you serious? Did you forget to stick in your contacts because THAT would make sense to why you just asked me that question. We, as professional sale associates team say “Right over here ma’am. What kind of bible are you looking for.”
Since we are talking about bibles… gotta love the people who come in wanting one, but not just any one, they want the “holy” bible. “Do you want a bible that says that on the front of it?” “No, I want the HOLY bible.” I quickly hand them a King James Version and suddenly they are happy and asked if they can get their name “engraved” on it.
Or you have the fun folks whom when asked “What kind of bible would you like?” They respond with “The whole bible.” We smile and nod and say “Which version do you read?” “English.” “Yes, sir, but what version.” “The one that has the new and old testament!” “Yes, sir, most of our bibles have that. Do you mean maybe the King James or New International or New Living…” “Just a bible!” Oh, I’ll give you just a bible… on your head!
The phone is another fun thing about a Christian bookstore. We are asked to say “Thank you for calling Gospel Supply. How may I direct your call?” “Well I don’t know where I want to be directed.” “What are you looking for ma’am?” “Well I need a cd.” Ohhhhhhh then you must want the bible department! I’m glad we cleared that up. “I’ll transfer you to music then.” Music, you have an idiot on line one, music, line one.
“This is the music department, how may I help you?” “Yes ma’am, I’m looking for a cd, I heard it on the radio. Its really popular, they play it all the time. Do you know it?” or theres the “I just heard this song, its about Jesus, do you know it? Its by a women if that helps.” Now, Id like to think of our staff as well educated people on CCM world, but come on folks, a song about Jesus? Oh THAT song, because you know, theres only like two to pick from.
We do all of our holds, special orders, gift wrap and imprinting in what we call “Customer Service” in the back of the store (again a wonderful big copper sign). So when a customer comes to the front registers asking for any of these things we say “Straight back to Customer Service.” “Where is that?” We aren’t Wal Mart, just open your eyes lady! And did I not say BACK of the store? “Straight back in the back of the store.” “Straight back?” “Yes, straight back, just follow the path on the floor and you’ll hit it.” If ya don’t then well we have a bigger problem here.
Sometimes I don’t know why we bother with some signs. I mean, they are big, copper and above the sections of the categories. In the book department, we even have signs that say fiction, christian living, love and marriage, singles, men, women and so on. Now, maybe this is just me, but I tend to LOOK before I go ask a sales associate where something is. Maybe Ive worked too many years of retail and know they are not waiting at my beckon call. But I just feel stupid when I’m standing NEXT to the section when I stop someone to ask where the bible studies are when there CLEARY is a sign letting me know, with little work of my brain, they are in fact right there.
We used to have a outlet store across the parking lot from our current store. Its been closed for over a year now but people still what a good deal. Who doesn’t? We have our bargain room and bins in the back of the new store. I love it when people come to the counter and try to bargain with me. Sometimes not even with a discounted item! Oh and if they don’t have a coupon, I guess, because we are a Christian bookstore, we should be nice and just give it to them. I tell them sorry, we need the coupon for the sale, Ive suddenly turned into the bad guy. Look ma’am, first of all, I don’t make the price, I just scan the item, hit a few buttons and take your money. I didn’t call you to walk in here and buy this book, this all on your own free will.
Or what I like to call “blind customers” who I seem to check out almost daily. “HOW much is my total?” I reread them what they
have all brought to the counter and their price and remind them of the 9% sales tax. They are still in disbelief. The price hasn’t changed since you picked it up off the shelve. Again, blind customers, they also tend to not want to, oh, turn over a book for the price! I’m more than happy to find a book, but when they ask “How much is it?” I turn the book over for them and tell them the price. I know thats a really hard thing to do, thats why I’m here ma’am.