Humans are full of flaws. Humans are full of surprises. And they say that to err is human. I was also part of an error. I was a victim of someone’s flaw.
Here’s what happened
Life was good and then the world changed. We were hit hard. A lot of us were affected, directly or indirectly. I was too. My retail pound store suffered huge losses in Q1, Q2, and Q3 of 2020. I had to let go of a lot of things that I was previously doing.
Without a sale and steady income for six months and depleting savings, I was racking up debts fast. And let me tell you when debt creeps up to you, you start feeling suffocated. I had started to look like a homeless man who sleeps under the bridge. I hadn’t showered in days, didn’t shave in weeks, and didn’t change clothes. Life was hard.
It was my wife’s birthday and I thought to try and start my pound store again, to make her feel good that the world is not ending on us. I wanted to buy good wholesale items and for cheap price from the nearby pound store wholesale depot. Without caring about my look, I stepped out into the open. The sun was shining in my face and a gentle breeze was gently caressing my coarse skin.
Fast forward, I was browsing through the items when I noticed that a largely built man was hovering around me. I caught him eyeing me many times. Every time I picked up an item to inspect, he would fix his gaze on me. I don’t know what triggered him. It was probably when I checked an item, put it down, and then quickly reached for a handkerchief to wipe my hands. Just when I put my hands inside my pocket, he brought his large body in front of me. Large, muscular, and serious look.
“What did you just put in your pockets, sir?” he asked me in an authoritative tone.
I was dumbstruck. He thought I just shoplifted. This never happened to me before. I had shopped in this depot before. “Nothing”, I stammered. That’s all I could do. I was in shock.
“I have to check your pockets, sir.” he said seriously.
I was still processing that this was happening to me. I said nothing, just nodded my head, and lifted my arms. He ran his hands through my jacket and jeans. After finding nothing, he said, “I am going to have to ask you to step outside, sir.”
I left the store as though I had never come inside.
On my walk of shame back home, I thought…
What was the reason for this behaviour? I had purchased from that wholesale many times. Yes, there are people who scam and shoplift. But there are probably 1 out of 10 people who do this, I guess.
Here is what I learnt from this experience:
1. Shabby shoppers are not equal homeless people
2. Customer satisfaction is the king
Most businesses make returns and replacement a headache for their customers. A friend of mine used to teach an online course for wholesale business strategies and gave a full refund, no questions asked, to anyone who asked. It is not like he would hire a psychiatrist to obliviate the course knowledge from their minds first and then offer a refund. Nope, doesn’t work like that. There were hardly a couple of refund requests. And he still sent them an email about how sorry he was that the course was not the right fit for them and a thank you for trying it out.
3. Security measures are an add-on
Businesses have to hire muscular and mean looking big guys to intimidate false shoppers and scammers. That’s understandable. And that is the reason there are cameras in most stores. Maybe you cannot be as liberal in your return policies as my friend. But that shouldn’t keep you on your toes and make you see every customer as a con artist. There are some customers like that and there is nothing we can do about it. As a business owner, you shouldn’t get caught hung up there.
You can’t stop losses, but you can minimise them
Internet shopping, Google reviews, Facebook reviews, and word of mouth are still one of the most powerful strategies of how people discover your business. What bad has to happen will happen, you can simply minimise your damages.
Oh, by the way, I have found a great pound line wholesale store business called Clearance Kings UK for my pound store. They sell great range of products at attractive prices. If you want, you can check them out.