I decided to write this article because I noticed a lot of complaints on the internet from people who, dissatisfied with how they had been treated in one store, vented by writing badly about that activity, rather than another. This is not an article that will make you become a trade guru and is not an article to collect the consents of those people who complain about the services received. The ultimate purpose of this article, the mission of this article, is to foster a meeting point between customer and trader by analyzing what are the aspects from both points of view.
First of all, you should never forget that any trader, is in turn a customer of something. It seems obvious, but it seems that on both sides of the barricade, this simple fact is not so obvious. To write this article, I asked my friends from different countries for various opinions. I therefore looked for historical documentation that could integrate that knowledge that, being me belonging to both parties, are part of my daily life and not only.
Some of you will surely have already realized that I am a trader now for several years, I have a small business and like all those who do the same job as mine, I am also a customer with regard to other types of activities. I will not go into the specifics of my type of activity because I did not write this article to advertise my business but rather to give my opinion on this issue. I therefore hope that you, dear readers, will want to be patient and continue reading curious about what might be a different point of view from yours and which can, I hope in the vast majority of cases, relieve you of that stress that is increasingly present in everyday life.
I think it would certainly be useful to have a bit of a local mind on some historical aspects of trade. Don’t be afraid, I would never dwell on boring yourself describing all the historical aspects. These aspects, I am sure, are widely described in other articles available on the network. This article, dealing with the interactions between those who receive the good or the service (which we will call customers) and those who provide the good or service (which we will call shopkeepers), certainly does not want to be some kind of complete bible about commerce.
Where the trade probably comes from
Trade has always existed, this is certainly nothing new. When I ask myself about when and how this modus was born, I like to close and eyes and think. Imagine regressing almost to the Stone Age, you are fruit pickers for a lifetime, you know all periods and places. You are so good that you find more than you really need for your livelihood. You live in a place far from a fresh and clean source of water such as a spring. Due to the fact that you have decided to live right near the place where you harvest the fruits, having you the need to drink, you will then have to make miles on foot to collect that water that is vital for you. When you arrive at the spring, you meet other people, who do what you do but with water. They have in abundance but living on the rocks, they do not have the same opportunity to reap so many good fruits to feed themselves.
At this point, there are only two possible outcomes. The first is to go to war to secure that particular source of livelihood and in the end, no one would fully enjoy it because they are both too far from the two sources of livelihood. The second is to organize peacefully by exchanging what advances from the harvesting of fruits with water and vice versa. In this way, those who have too much of one thing can exchange it for another. For transport you could organize with an intermediate figure who in exchange for water and fruit, would bring to their destination these two objects.
In this way trade arises, from the imperative need to survive well aware that we are not alone in the world and that in exchange for a consideration, for the purpose of surviving, we can get what we need. With time and with the advent of money, the trading system has evolved, also greatly increasing complexity.
When a trader or professional is good
To some of you, this paragraph may seem superfluous because for some of you the answer may be a foregone conclusion. A trader or professional is good if he can meet the customer’s needs in a timely and professional manner. It’s actually not so obvious. In the many interviews I have done to my friends from all over the world, I have received very different responses. One of them, for example, told me that a trader is good to the extent that he can fool the customer without him noticing. Another told me that a trader is good if it’s cheap. Or if it provides a service that satisfies for an average period along the customer. Another told me that a trader is good if and only if he can make as much money as possible. At this point, it seems clear that the definition changes according to one’s personal experiences, stereotypes or place of origin.
We must never forget that with modernity, we need more and more things and that the desire of the latter many times can make us feel frustrated. This state of mind, along with our other personal considerations independent of the desired object or service, have probably helped to form some of the clichés I present below.
Shopkeepers are all, who more and less, tax evaders
Believe it or not, since I am in the trade, I have always worked to carry on my work in an ethical and ligio manner. When I refer to ethics, I would like to pay special attention to the fact that any shopkeeper who respects himself, is a professional in that field, works to make the customer spend as little as possible getting a reasonable profit and advises the customer so that they can wait for their needs to follow the shortest, safest and smooth route possible. It is clear, however, that on the other hand, there are shopkeepers or service providers who do not issue a receipt even under torture or issue a partial and calculated number. These individuals should not be hated, because in most cases they are people who have failed.
It is by no means easy in fact in some nations to go ahead paying a flood of taxes, many shopkeepers or professionals therefore choose the lesser evil to feed the children who wait for them at home. Even if not paying taxes is not justifiable, it must also be understood that there are cases where you cannot do otherwise for a matter of survival. There are undoubtedly evaders who do it to enrich themselves, but it is my opinion that these people too should be compensated because they have failed in their mission to be a useful and productive member of society. Don’t think they’re going to sleep peacefully at the end of the day.
Shopkeepers are thieves who get rich on other people’s needs by inflating prices
One thing I always tell my customers is that when a person buys a good or service, the price for that person is always high. When a person sells a certain asset or service, the price is always low. It is for this reason that normally, the people who bargain less when they are in a shop are people from 18 to 24 years old. They probably don’t have much experience and are still not inactive by preconceptions. I also have experiences of customers who were amazed at the extremely advantageous and affordable price for them. But normally the opposite happens in trade. I think it is necessary, however, to explain that prices are very rarely inflated. Normally when you make a price, you take into account the competition aware that there is a very strong competitiveness. It should also be considered that in some countries, such as mine for example, the final price is influenced by a measure not less than a quarter by value-added taxes. Then there is an income tax that practically halves the earnings, not to mention the need to pay contributions, other taxes, rent and utilities such as light, telephone etc… In the light of these facts now I ask you, are prices really inflated? Does a trader really get rich? And thieves are something else, anyway. It is obvious that if we report the price to what we see in online stores, it can never be lower for the reasons I explained before. A human trustrelationship is also established with the shopkeeper. Try to buy a defective item in a country on the other side of the world and you will understand the difference.
Shopkeepers are a lobby that forces us to buy and desire things we can’t afford
No matter how much money a person can have, almost all of us want something we can’t afford. What life would be like if we didn’t always want something. Beyond this philosophical aspect, I think it may be useful to dwell on one aspect. In the unlikely event that some professional or commercial activity is organized in the lobby in order to create an oligopoly regime, it would do so against the laws of many states including mine. I have no news of any shopkeeper who has ever legally forced someone to buy anything. It is also true that there are people who are particularly brought to sell. Some of these are specifically hired with the purpose of turning a simple contact with a customer into a business transaction. But a business is not only this, a business you should base on an added value that no trick of the trade can give. For example, I am not so good at bargaining, in fact I calculate the prices of the items I draw so that they are as convenient as possible for my customers, but without damaging my business. Some traders, however, could specifically inflate the prices in order to grant a margin of negotiation giving the customer the satisfaction of having that tug of war. And if they don’t bargain so much better. So sometimes it is easy for the unnoticed customer to fall into the discount.
Shopkeepers only think about getting rich and they are also very rude
Anyone who does a job that is not akin to a kind of volunteering gets up in the morning to earn something that will give them the chance to live. Whether addicted, self-employed or owner, any person in a job role would at least want to have an economic gratification that allows them to live.
It is rather strange the nature of this stereotype because one would hope that anyone who understands that the need to survive by working, is something common to many on this earth. Who has never dreamed of succeeding with their work and who has never dreamed of earning enough to wait for their needs and those of their loved ones? In the end, as it is easy to guess my dear readers, we are all in the same boat. Those who carry out a business, however, know that the interpersonal relationships that are created are very important. Many of us know that they are confessors many times and that our customers expect compassion that we do not find elsewhere. But are we really sure that all of us, when we play the role of the customer, are equally available with the next one? Some may think that the shopkeeper should wash off any kind of personal problem in favour of those who are crossing the threshold of commercial activity. To give you an example, I myself found myself comforting a person who had lost an object he cared about. At that time I had discovered that my partner was seriously ill with a bad form of cancer but I still struggled to smile and joke to play down from the situation so difficult that it was afflicting my client. In response I was told that my attitude was not good because I was not sufficiently willing to share the immense pain that at that time the client felt having lost that particular object. When you cross the threshold of a business and are tired, stressed and nervous, perhaps you should consider that life does not revolve all around you and that probably the person with whom you interloquite is a human being.
Shopkeepers are chronic liars and would do anything to sell
I’ve always thought that a predisposition to lie is an independent thing for one to do. Any person accustomed to lying for one reason or another will lie to achieve the goal he has set himself. I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting someone who does not lie but at least, in my professional activity, there have been not uncommon occasions when I have advised my clients to go to another place that I knew, for that particular object or service he was better equipped than I was.
Many shopkeepers don’t give advice like this because they’re afraid of losing customers but over time I’ve learned that lying to end a transaction is never the right way because people aren’t stupid and because it’s objectively wrong to do so.
It is witnessed that, because of the problem I described earlier, I had to keep my shop closed some time. Maybe I may have lost some customers but my regulars have waited for me because they know that one way or another, I will always wait for their needs, no matter where, but they will find what they are looking for. In fact, it is not uncommon for cases where, although this is something for which I am not equipped, I have a lot to do to convince my customers to refuel elsewhere. A little for laziness sure, but in the vast majority of cases, they trust me and it is precisely this feeling of trust that must inspire a shopkeeper. With facts, not with chatter and smiles. I once told a client if he preferred to be treated well by a good doctor but bad at entertaining his clients or bad by a bad but good at entertaining them? He replied that this is different because I am only a trader.
That particular shopkeeper makes cheaper prices than the other
When I’m told this, because of my experience, I rarely believe it. Because a shopkeeper has to pay the rent, he has to pay his salary, he has to pay his contributions, utilities, insurance, any catastrophes at the shop window (anything but rare) and many other things that if put in the pile make prices rise rightly. Since I was always the kind of shopkeeper who explains things to people, I put on a piece of paper and a pen, I did all the calculations on a piece of paper and at the end I asked a simple question. If a shopkeeper pays all taxes, waits for all obligations and has a physical business, considering that in my country, even more than a fifth of the final price is value-added tax, how does it live? Unless you have an endless line of customers in the store who patiently wait their turn it’s impossible. Watch out for prices that are too low because if the service, object or business is too low, it may have a secret, lawful or not that you do not know.
The customer is always right
The enormous competitiveness of the market could lead some shopkeepers to strip themselves of their dignity in order to conclude the transaction. In addition, with the increasing spread of large companies, we have become accustomed to being treated with velvet gloves. I have always thought that when you relate to another person, regardless of everything, you have to respect it. How many times have we faced negative reviews put in place by competitors masquerading as customers or by people who demanded reason from us even when they were blatantly wrong? In my business, I prefer, with education to express my opinion even if it collides with the point of view of my client. This is because I have more experience in the industry, I am proud of what I do and I want to do it to the best, I like to be very clear about the pros and cons of the services or objects I sell. Some people appreciate this attitude but I have realized that many people see this way of doing a shocking attitude that is perceived as rudeness or verbal aggression. We have become accustomed by now that we can say everything within a business and those on the other side must put aside their dignity because we are the customers. Have you wondered how you would feel if this were to happen to you? Or is it precisely because it happens to you that you take revenge in this way? I believe that the client is not always right and you have to make him understand firmly, respect and maximum education. This is because it is preferable that the customer is better then having chosen the article with the characteristics that really served him, rather than concluding the transaction by making him believe that he chose well and then making shrugs when he shows up with a later problem or you don’t realize that you took a crab.
The client should relate with the same kindness, respect and education that he wants to receive. It would be preferable not to vent his economic shortcomings and personal problems with those who are at that time. I encourage you to ask specific questions without appearing presumptuous. It should be receptive to advice, always careful to filter the veracity and purpose of these tips because not all traders and professionals are intellectually honest.
The shopkeeper should try to accommodate anyone in a warm, quiet and professional way even if the person has no intention of buying the goods and services, so even if it is there just to waste time. It should advise the customer according to conscience making in this way a long-term investment on the quality of regular customers.
I realize that this article may seem a bit biased being a shopkeeper. As I wrote before, I am also a customer and my status as a business owner certainly does not help me. To give you an explanatory example, I once went to a dealership to buy a very cheap car to replace my car that is almost twenty years old (just to dispel the myth that you enrich yourself in the trade). The dealer, he explained to me all the cars listening to what my economic needs were, explained to me well by thread and by sign everything. Because I was in a hurry, I was literally dragged out of the dealership and after three days, the trader calls me on my mobile phone telling me that he wanted to understand if I was interested in buying, if I wanted to maybe take a test ride. I told him that we were left that he would not call me on the phone and that I would let him know in a very annoyed tone. I was wrong! Because we weren’t in any way and because I answered objectively badly. I did not have the courage to apologize to him because of perhaps a weakness called pride. As you can see, in the end customers and shopkeepers are all in the same boat and it would simply be a little more calm and less intransigence to avoid bringing home unnecessary stress. But I propose to go there in person to apologise. Maybe.
Some experience of my shopkeeper s& friends and customers
The experiences i propose below, with the aim of smiling a little and possibly, if you like to comment on them, have really happened. This makes us reflect on the vast variety of minds and customs. Actually, some of these happened to me, let’s see if you guess which ones.
Shopkeeper: A guy walks in the door without even taking a look at me, I’m a metre away from him and I greet him with a smile asking what I could do for him. I’m buying shoes, and I’m going to point the shelves at him with my hand. He does not even answer my greeting goes in front of a picture, looks at it, passes his finger on the frame and rubs it as if there was dust. After this, always without considering me, he opens the door and exits.
Customer: They call me from a call center and present themselves as the customer service of a telephone operator. I explain to him that I am a little bit weighed at the moment and ask if I can be called back. This person insists on telling me that he has an offer for me but I can’t continue because I’m about to drive, I had to take my daughter to the gym. I’m going to close the phone. This call center lady calls me back and yells at me that I’ve been rude. I tell her if I was her boss, I’d fire her in the trunk for calling me up and screaming on the phone. I closed the phone, he never called back.
Shopkeeper: A man walks into the store and asks me for the price of a shirt, I check and tell him the price. He asks me, why so much? I begin to explain to him that it is a shirt with certain characteristics etc… But he doesn’t let me finish the sentence and tells me that he doesn’t care about anything since he had another price in mind. Then he proposes his price and I tell him that it is not up to me. Again, he tells me that he doesn’t care about anything and he’s leaving.
Customer: As soon as I get into the store I am hooked by the saleswoman who starts to stress me with her prosopopee. It fills me with compliments and in the meantime offers me tricks. I tell her I’m interested in buying, just taking a walk. I continue my walk inside the shop but this saleswoman does not want to leave me alone, she is always sticking to me as if I had to buy something. I mean, right up to the checkout, it was a constant offering me what I was looking at. I said hello without even giving her a hand, I’m not going back to that place.
Shopkeeper: Today a Lady visits me in my shop and greets me with a big smile. He offers me his (impossible) price for an item he wanted to buy, reminding me that eight years earlier he had bought something from me and that he was therefore entitled to a discount. I explained to her that unfortunately that object was already discounted and I pointed the sign at her. She reciprocates all my smiles and greets me saying she would be for the next time. The next morning, I see a stain of something bad on the window. I look at the camera recording to figure out who was that rude guy who did something like that. I couldn’t believe it, she came back and spat on the window.
Customer: Something crazy happened to a friend of mine. She got a mega discount on her phone, went to the perfume store and exposed this discount to the saleswoman. This was a 60-year-old woman and she wasted a lot of time browsing the catalogue. The store was full of people and you think the saleswoman even allowed herself to give you to my friend. They wrapped the perfume on her without even putting the designer bag so that it was understood that the gift was original. After this experience. I told her that normally, when this kind of thing happens to me, I boycott the store and I’m happy to see that these close, in the end you see what the shops do with the orders like that.
Shopkeeper: I happened to have the rare pleasure of an almost customer, because for me the customers are the ones who buy, not the ones who walk in the store to waste my time. This person, he’s not interested in buying something from me, but selling it. I ask you to see what you have to sell me. But she tells me that the items that you have to sell me are original and that I have to go on trust. Checking the items I should buy, I would offend her adds. In the end I told her that it was not possible for me without having any information to give her a range of amounts. She’s making sure I’m like she told me. At some point I ask you a specific question intrinsic to the composition of the object because I saw it very ferrata about it. You can’t answer me and you ask me why I’m asking you this question. I tell her that because she was sure of the composition of the objects, I needed that information to make the estimate. She told me she didn’t know. Then I told her that she could feel free to bring items for free and without obligation for a free evaluation. She started yelling at me that she had no words, then ended with a forget it goes before letting herself close the door behind her back. After some time, she returns to the store, brings me the items and keeps telling me that I am as she says, I explain them and I demonstrate them with the facts that the objects are clearly fakes and she feels close to me answers. And I don’t know, you’re the one who buys them, you have to be the expert. She basically spent a day telling me that she knew what she had in her hand so that I understood that being an expert, it was not the case to rip her off (as if I had necessarily the intention) and then in the end what was at fault was her.
Customer: I enter the store which was empty with an empty sample to ask if I could take some product to try it at home. As soon as I set foot inside, the saleswoman immediately jumps on me and starts to propose things to me. I buy tissues and then ask if I can have some of that foundation to put in my sample. This woman, she didn’t want to open a new box in any way to put some foundation in my container. He offered me a free sample but it was of another color! In the end, seeing me agitated, this order pleases me and we find that there is a dispenser, puts just the amount to give the foundation to an ant and hands me my container. Because it was too bad, I went out without insisting. Incredible that nowadays, in such an important store, there are such uneducated orders.
Shopkeeper: I work part-time for a supermarket, I also work on Sundays and overtime doesn’t weigh me that much because I have a disabled child at home. My company doesn’t even pass me meal vouchers and they make me work even 12 hours, despite my contract being part-time even for more than 20 days in a row. Many times, looking in my paycheck, I note that I am not paid overtime hours and missed rests. I live in fear of being fired because my contract is not indefinite. I’m tired and with a muptised brain because of my son’s discomfort. The customers just complain to my boss yelling at me all the time and threatening to send me home a recall letter.
Customer: I’m going to tell you a story of pure terror! That is basically, I go in and buy a pencil for the eyes and find myself outside without the eye pencil but with a lot of stuff. And as if that weren’t enough, shop X made me a trillion euro price! But it’s not over here, this saleswoman had the expertise of one who spent her hours behind tutorials on youtube. They look like greengrocers to me, but never in that place again.
Shopkeeper: Something very recreational happened to me once. I was in the store where I am the owner, at the time I had an employee. For some reason unknown to me, people thought he was the boss but it wasn’t important to me that was good because even though my employee, for me it was a fundamental and important part of my company. At some point by calculating a remainder, I make a mistake, I notice it myself and I do the calculation jokingly with the client about what happened. A normal thing, doesn’t it? This client tells me that you should notify my boss/employee/work colleague. At this point, I pretend to be afraid and beg her not to tell anyone. She promises me she wouldn’t tell anyone this time. On time, the next day, she returns to the store for the sole purpose of telling the story to what she thought was the owner of the company. My employee, with whom we had and have good relationships calls me on the phone and without stopping laughing tells me this thing. Now my reflection is this. But why did this person bother to go to what he thought was the owner of the company to tell this thing as if it were a complaint? Did he want the subject of his discussion to be punished for no reason?
If this article has amused you, aroused interest, ignited in your mind reflections or questions, feel free to write in the comments everything that goes through your head.