Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Favorite Retail Stories - 1 "How Much Did You Say?"

Working in retail can be a lot of fun. That may sound odd to many of you but I really do love my job. I thought I would share some of my favorite experiences with you so you could see what I like about it. I’ll also be asking some of my co-workers for some of their highlights.

One of my favorite stories comes from a few years back. A couple of gentlemen came in and said they wanted to buy a substantial number of books and were interested in what kind of discount I could provide. I said let’s see what you get and we’ll work from there. They spent a few hours shopping and filled up a cart full of books. Since they had to leave they asked if I would tally the total and have it ready for them the next day.

When they arrived the next day I told them that with a generous discount their total came to just under $5,000.00. The gentlemen looked at his friend and said, “This isn’t good.” I said, “I assure you I’ve given you the best discount I can.” He responded, “No, you don’t understand. We have $20,000.00 to spend.” “Oh!” I declared, “I think we can fix that.” He asked for a Baker Academic catalog and after going through it a few minutes said “Just give me one of everything.” He then proceeded to fill up a couple of other carts. By the time we were done the total came to right around $18,000.00. What he didn’t tell me in the beginning was that he was buying for a seminary located in South America. As he wrote the check I thought this is where I find out this is all a scam and the check will bounce. But it didn’t. The check cleared and the books were sent to South America. This wasn’t the first time Baker has had overseas seminaries make purchases but it was my first experience with it. We’ve also had customers bring in a missionary and tell them “Get what you need. It’s on me.” This is such a delight to see. Most missionaries are operating on a shoe string budget and to witness this kind of generosity does the heart good.

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