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If The Entitlement Shoe Fits

, , | Right | September 20, 2022

I am working at a shoe store. We display only one shoe of a pair on the shelves. Customers show us the display shoe and we go get the requested sizes from the back. Even though the back room is stuffed to the brim, we usually receive only two pairs of a single shoe size in a particular shoe, and the most requested women’s sizes are in the range of 7 to 8½.

A lady comes in and spends well over an hour browsing. She picks up an armload of sample shoes and then approaches me, setting the shoes down on the counter.

Customer: “Hi, I have to go, but can you get me these in a 7½, 8, and 8½? I’ll be back in three hours to try them on.”

I count the shoes. People often ask us to hold a pair of shoes for a few hours to a day, and we have no problem with that. We usually have no more than about three pairs at a time on our hold shelf. This is something else. There are eight of them, all from popular lines. I am thinking, “What are the chances you’re actually going to come back?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t pull twenty-four pairs of shoes out of circulation for three hours.”

Customer: “But I have to go! Just get them for me and set them aside so that I don’t have to wait for you to collect them all when I get back.”

I can’t believe the gall of this woman. If I set these all aside, we could lose multiple sales during that time. Leaving all of the display shoes she has pulled in the stock room for several hours poses the same problem. I am also thinking of at least sixteen pairs of shoes I will have to find time to put back in the stock room afterward when she doesn’t buy them.

I think quickly.

Me: “Here’s what I can do. I’ll set these display shoes on top of this display. When you come back, whoever helps you can get any shoes you want to try on.”

Customer: “But what about if someone takes them or moves them?”

Me: “I’ll tell the other reps why they’re there and ask them to leave them, but I can’t promise another customer won’t move the shoes.”

I could tell the customer was frustrated, but I couldn’t think of another solution, and she left soon after. The part about being in a hurry must have been true.

A few hours later, she actually did return. Most of the shoes were still on the top of the display where we’d left them. I guess she’d had some time to think, as she didn’t ask for every shoe in every size again. She finally purchased a pair and left, leaving me relieved that she’d had a change of heart.

Seriously? Twenty-four pairs of shoes on hold? Who does that?

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