Yesterday, I restocked my booth at the antique mall with a bunch of stuff, but one of the main things I brought in was vintage paper packs. Clear cellophane envelopes filled with vintage paper like postcards, handwritten letters, old envelopes with stamps and postmarks, legal documents on great stationery and holy cards, just as examples.
While I was working in my booth, a gentleman was looking through the boxes of paper packs. He had spent enough time looking without picking anything in particular out to buy that I sensed he was just a "tire kicker".
After about 15 minutes of browsing, he asked if he could open one of the sealed packages. My usual first reaction is to be customer service oriented and say "of course, let me help you with that"; but open packages has turned into a pet peeve of mine of late.
I've gone into my booth and found bags of jewelry, paper etc opened and the contents strewn all over.
I understand that people want to see what they are buying, but $5 is about my top price for a bag of anything, and most of my "junk" bags are less than that. When I put bags of miscellany together to sell, I really try to make sure I'm giving the customer a fair deal. I don't put diamonds on the outside and sawdust on the inside.
So, back to the gentleman with the bag of paper, which had a very thick abstract from 1908, several old checks and several letters in envelopes. The gentleman said "I just want to see the letter in the envelope". I looked at the price of the bag- $4.00 and very politely said "Four dollars isn't much for a bag that size with paper that old, I think if you really want to see more, you should buy it." Then I thanked him for asking.
Afterward, part of me felt proud of myself for politely standing up for myself and stating my belief, and the other part felt like a real bitch.
Also, if it had been a bag of Beanie Babies, or Pokemon cards, I would have been happy to let anyone open the bag, dig around and pick out what they wanted and given them a great price, because you can barely give those things away. But there's no shortage of buyers for some things, so I feel like I can set the rules.
Admittedly, this is a tiny tiny issue in the scheme of things, but what do you think? I don't think my "no open" policy is hurting my sales. I have no trouble selling bags of jewelry, findings, paper & postcards. I'm not at the mall to see the process people go through in buying grab bags. Maybe, most of time, the customer does open the bag, and they like what they see, so they buy it.
I told my husband about the encounter and asked "Was I right, or am I just a crabby old lady?" He said "You were right, and yes, you are a crabby old lady".