Manners Matter: Selfish Scrooges

Dear Mary Pat,

I own a boutique in the county and I’m known for my gift wrapping. I’ve always offered it for my customers free of charge. We had a busy Saturday and I had a line of people waiting to check out and at least half of them needed items wrapped for Christmas. While everyone else was patiently waiting their turn, a couple came in with bags from another store (my biggest big box competitor actually), asked to have their items wrapped and then insisted that they couldn’t wait in line! I told them they would have to wait their turn, and they were taken aback. I ended up wrapping it for them about 20 minutes later and they paid for it, but this really put me over the edge. I have a wonderful group of loyal customers who support my store and I give them excellent customer service. I don’t think that I should have to extend the same customer service to people who buy from my competitors.


Who Do They Think They Are?

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.



That takes a lot of nerve. With all the emphasis on Small Business Saturday and Shop Small, these people cannot be that clueless…and yet. I’m sorry to hear that people have gotten to the point where they don’t feel that they need to wait in line, that they feel that someone should drop everything to help them, and that they don’t understand how tacky it is to bring something in from another store and ask to have it wrapped.

You seem to be a generous person (you didn’t say no to this ridiculous request) and you did the right thing in helping someone out around the holidays. I think it’s always best to give your time to others, even when they don’t appreciate it. The next time you find yourself in this situation, you might say that your store policy is that you only wrap gifts that are purchased in house, but that you’d be willing to wrap their gifts from another store with a $20 donation to a local charity. That would enable you to pay it forward and encourage them to do something nice in return.

Working around the holidays can be frantic and can bring out the worst in some people. I’m glad to hear that you have some wonderful customers who frequent your store. Focus on them and don’t let a couple of selfish Scrooges rent any space in your head.

Good luck,

Mary Pat


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