However, in a store that may or may not be the one I work at, this message is absent. I suppose it’s done in an attempt to create a friendly, welcoming environment. We wouldn’t want anyone to not feel welcomed in our store by asking them to leave in a polite manner at the official close time that is posted on the doors. Please, come in and browse for as long as you want. Who cares if all you’re doing is buying a $7 pack of batteries? It’s totally worth it to make everyone stay behind until you’re done finding the right AA batteries.
Whenever I have someone ask me what time we close, and it happens to be after that stated time, they always have a half-surprised, half-nervous look about them. As if we were going to carry them out if they didn’t hurry. Good. That’s the look they should have. But it’s not their fault because it’s not announced. They’re conditioned to gather their things and make their way to the front lanes when they hear the PA announcement. They don’t stop shopping at a store because they’re asked to leave.
Retail managers are just so greedy to make that extra sale they all assume will walk through those doors after we’re supposed to close. What really happens is that you only get someone buying batteries, a DVD, a CD, or another minor product that will make no difference to the store’s profits for the day. In retail, keeping the doors open just fifteen, twenty minutes longer doesn’t really serve much of a purpose. If you’re keeping the doors open because it’s slow and you’re trying to make some cash, it’s doubtful you’ll need all the employees that are there to serve the one or two customers who walk in. So, while 1 or 2 employees are engaging the customers, you have several others just shooting the shit with coworkers or waiting to finish closing their departments down. What a total waste of payroll! And if you’re keeping the doors open because you’re trying to make some extra cash because it’s been slow, that waste of payroll is draining the little money you already made for the day.
If someone pages for my assistance in my department, and it’s after closing time, I always have the urge to say, “I’m sorry, I could’ve helped them, but we closed 10 minutes ago. They should’ve showed up during the 10-11 hours we were open during business hours.” I’m sure one day I’ll get the balls to say that. Maybe whenever I hit it rich and can afford to quit retail. Oh, but how I’ll enjoy that moment!
Trust me, if you could have a PA system in your home, you would certainly use it if you had people over for longer than they’re welcomed. How amazing would that be if you could just get up from the couch, walk over to their personal broadcast system, and say, “Attention, family members! It is time to make a final stop at the bathroom, gather your leftovers from dinner, and go home. We will be closing our front doors in ten minutes. Thank you for visiting and we’ll see you all again soon.” I know several of my family members who wouldn’t say no to that idea.
To recap: retail companies, don’t be afraid to say goodbye to your customers at the end of the day. They will return and whatever they wanted to buy that night could probably wait until tomorrow morning. If their TV is out, maybe this is a sign that they should hold conversations with their families or read books or go out on the town. If their fridge died, maybe this is a sign they shouldn’t be eating the crap they bought at the grocery store. Closing the doors could do nothing but bring them positive outcomes! It’s your duty to close those doors – think of the lives you’d be improving if you did. (I’m just not sure if I mean that more for the employees or for the customers.)More soon from the frontlines…