Far From A Light-Bulb Moment

, , , , | Right | February 4, 2019

(I’m the manager at my store, and late one night I answer the phone.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Pet Store]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “How much are your pythons?”

Me: “We carry ball pythons here. The regular color morphs are $60, and the fancy color morphs are $120.”

Customer: “Do they come with a tank?”

Me: “No. You have to purchase a tank separately.”

Customer: “Then how do you get it home?”

Me: “We put them in a little box for you to transport them.”

Customer: “Can I keep it in the box?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “Because it’s a python. Pythons get big. Plus, they’re cold-blooded, so you have to keep them in a tank with certain lighting so they can stay warm and digest their food properly. It’s usually pretty expensive.”

Customer: “Well, how much is the tank?”

Me: “We sell kits that have everything you need for a snake, including the tank, the lights, the bedding, a water bowl, and a heat pad. The prices usually start at around $140.”

Customer: “Well, uh, I might come by later.”

(I track down my employee on the floor and warn her about the customer, telling her that if someone comes in wanting a ball python, make sure to sell him what he needs to properly take care of it. About twenty minutes later, I get paged to the front. A man is standing next to my employee, who looks nervous and confused.)

Employee: “Um, he’s here for a ball python, but uh, he said…”

Customer: “I’m going to get the tank and stuff at [Other Store across the street].”

(The other store is not a pet store, and it does not carry anything the man needs for a ball python.)

Me: “Okay, but we match their prices, you know.”

Customer: “You do?”

Me: “Yep. You don’t have to buy anything from them. Anything they have at their store that’s equivalent to what we have, we can match their price.”

Customer: “Um, let me see what you guys have.”

(I send my employee to show him our tanks. After a few minutes, the man leaves empty-handed. I get a call a few minutes later.)

Customer: “So uh, if [Other Store] has a tank here for $40, you guys can match that?”

Me: “Maybe. If the tank at their store is the same as what we have, then we can match it. What size is their tank? What’s included in it?”

Customer: “Well, uh… You mean I can’t just have one of your tanks for $40?”

Me: “Not if what they sell is different from what we sell. If they’re selling the same size glass tank for $40, we can match that. But if they’re only selling the glass tank for $40, we can’t sell you a kit for $40, since our kit has the lights and everything else included, and we can’t just give you all that stuff for free. See what I mean?”

Customer: “Uh, how much are the lights on their own?”

Me: *taking a guess* “Usually the prices start around $35.”

Customer: “$35 just for lights?”

Me: “Yep. They aren’t like regular light bulbs. They’re designed to mimic sunlight and produce UVA or UVB rays so that the reptiles can absorb their Vitamin D and digest their calcium properly. Like I said, ball pythons are really expensive upfront.”

Customer: “Can’t you cut me a deal? How about $70 for the snake and everything else?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “What deal can you make for me?”

Me: “Sometimes things go on sale. Other than that, there’s not much I can do for you.”

Customer: *click*

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