I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Retail Me

Since I've become a small business owner, I've discovered that the general public have some very odd shopping habits, and that being a business owner means you attract all sorts of crazy stuff. Chief among these:

- Clients calling at odd hours (after 7pm on a weeknight, on Sunday night, on Saturday at 6am and so on) and wondering why you do not wish to discuss their cake requirements. I do my best not to answer the phone at these odd times but sometimes, it can't be helped (correction: sometimes, I am an idiot.)

- Asking for a discount on their order because they know people/are an event planner/are well connected to the [insert ethnic group] community / just because. My favourites are those who ask for a discount because they promise to bring me lots of future work and so it's somehow worth it to me to discount for them. Yeah. NO. All you will bring me is stacks of people who now know I discount at the drop of a hat. No thanks.

- Asking questions about things which can clearly be answered just from the front page of the website, OR calling and saying, "Um, is this a cake shop?" Hmmm. If it isn't, we're BOTH in trouble, buddy!

- Various organisations want me to advertise with them, but they are too stupid to research what kind of company I actually own. In recent months I've had a gym (yes, of course my cupcakes are calorie-friendly), a winery/rugby match (WTF?), several police and military organisations and some animal welfare organisations as for me to advertise with them. If I cannot draw a direct correlation between your readers/clients/rugby players and my business, then that's a big fat NO. And then when you ASK me why I say no, and I say, "Sorry, you're really not in my target market, but thanks anyway," you really should not ask me what my target market is. Trust me, you're not it.

- The guys who want to sell you ad space on Google, but start the conversation with, "So. Do you have a website?" (I could not make this shit up if I tried. This has happened more than once. If I didn't have a website, why the hell are you calling me?!)

- The clients who need to feed 200 people and have a budget of $100, or other ridiculously small budgets for which they want the moon. Last I checked there is not much in life which is worth 50c, except possibly a Chupa Chup. Word of advice - if you cannot afford to actually feed 200 people, don't invite them, make it a pot luck, or replace the cupcake fad with the chupa chup fad - just don't call me.

- I am very transparent about my pricing, and there is a lot of detailed information on the website. So a word to the wise...when I give you a quote on something (1 metre high, 3 D, and with spinning and flashing lights), the correct reaction is not, "You want HOW MUCH? For CAKE?? How hard can it be to make CAKE?" because, dear caller, the fact is, if it were that bloody easy, you would be doing it yourself.

Really, it's astounding the phone conversations I have with people - and while I do my utmost to be polite and fair and give people the benefit of the doubt, sometimes its very hard not to just lose it at them altogether. To be fair, a vast majority of callers are lovely, friendly people who want genuine quotes or truly want to help me or are being paid by the hour to sucker people into advertising in the Policewomen's Gazette. For the most part, I'm pretty lucky in that I've managed to steer clear of too many -zillas (bride, mother, or child)...but not-so-secretly, I'm glad of the total nut jobs because it makes good fodder for both dinner parties and blog posts.

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