Can I Pay For That Later?

Josie Leavitt -- September 20th, 2013

The life of a small-town bookstore is full of surprises. From kids bringing hot brownies, to meeting new puppies and getting notes of condolence when my dog died, etc., we’ve happily been part of all it. I’m originally from New York City and for a long while I thought small-town life was, well, small. How wrong I’ve been.

Owning a store in a small town means being part of the fabric of the community. Even if folks aren’t regular customers, there is a comfort (for most folks) that there’s a bookstore in their town. We’ve had kids argue about whose town is better, and Shelburne won this because the Flying Pig tipped the scales in our town’s favor. Children create bidding wars on our gift cards in silent auctions. We feel the love every day. And that love works both ways. I so enjoy meeting puppies or having a hot brownie at the end of the day.

Every once in a while customers need our help. Usually, this comes in the form of needing financial assistance. I’m not talking about wanting a free book. I’m speaking about a customer who left the house without a wallet and is on the way to the birthday party and doesn’t have time to run home and find her wallet. This happened last week. I was wrapping and heard a heavy sigh and a muttered, “Oh, no.”  I turned and asked if everything was okay. She looked sheepish and said, “I’ve left my wallet at home. Can I pay for this later? I don’t have time to go home before the party.” She was with her son who was getting anxious about the exchange.  To be honest, this doesn’t happen often. I knew the customer, so I said, “Sure, call me when you get home and we can finish the transaction then.”

She looked so relieved. I added extra ribbon and sent her on her way. Within an hour she called with her credit card number and thanked me profusely. If there’s a way that trust can help make someone’s day better, well then, I’m more than happy to help.

2 thoughts on “Can I Pay For That Later?

  1. Bonnie from Alexander Book Co.

    Great timing on this one! Just this week I had a customer in at the end of the day who did had come in without her wallet. This was not a “regular” I recognized, so I took a chance. I told her to write her name and phone number down for me and to stop by the next day when she was back at work. We’re are a downtown store in San Francisco, but “small town” extends to our local book community. It’s a small price to pay to potentially lose a few bucks, when what I really gained was what will probably be a return customer. And those are priceless!! And, yes, she did come back and pay for the book. In fact she walked right back to work and then turned around and came back to the store to take care of it before we closed for the day!

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