5 responses to “The Holiday Wait Gain”

  1. Karen Hall

    We had a LOT of testy customers this year. I’d say about 50% of them were in very bad moods. I think it’s because this area is still having a very tough time economically, and a lot of people were angry that they had to buy gifts when they’re having trouble buying groceries. Can’t blame them for that, but we really missed the usual happy Christmas spirit. On the positive side, we were up from last year’s sales by a little bit. And we had a great time waiting on customers who came with with their Christmas lists and a good attitude. AND the store survived another year! So glad yours did, too!

  2. Jeffrey Shaffer

    Karen–sorry you had such a high percentage of negative moods. That is NO fun, and I don’t think there’s any way to put those people in a BETTER mood. And sales being up is good–the feeling we’re getting at Annie’s is that the ebook trend has leveled off. We have a lot of people saying they tried e-readers and they prefer ink and paper. Hopefully all moods will be better in 2014.

  3. John W. Marshall

    Thanks, Jeffrey, for putting this experience into words. It’s an odd feeling to be faced with a line in our bookstore and when it happens I begin to feel like a teen-aged clerk, not someone with twenty-five plus years experience. Love selling the books, hate the palpable waves of impatience, whether real or projected. Again, thanks for sharing the experience so well.

  4. Amanda MacNaughton

    You know what I love? When customers are standing in line and they start talking to each other about books. Sometimes it ends up with someone adding to their purchase because they want a book a fellow customer just recommended to them! But you know what I can’t stand? Cutters! People who think that just because they only want to buy a newspaper or ask if we have a certain book, they can jump to the front of the line, thus cutting off the person I’m helping. Why don’t they see that helping them is still a transaction that takes some of my time and they need to wait their turn? Ah, lines…I hope society never completely eradicates them. They teach important concepts like fairness and patience.

  5. Jeffrey Shaffer

    Lines as a learning experience–SO true! We learn about human nature, good manners, bad habits, the gamut of public behavior. One thing I left out of the column–offering free gift wrapping has a HUGE positive effect during the holiday crush. When people waiting in line can see the people ahead at the counter getting their books wrapped and think, “That’s going to be ME soon!” I think it helps calm the collective annoyance. And cutters–WHAT could be more 8th grade? But a lot of adult life is much like 8th grade, with more money.

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