WE ARE LIVING IN A RETAIL WORLD. . .

by Steve Clem on February 12, 2010

So I’m now a few months into this whole retail thing, between time in Chicago training at existing stores, and then opening my store 5 weeks ago.

I’m thoroughly enjoying the interaction with people who come into and out of the store, and am already finding some repeat customers coming back and remembering me and my staff by name.

And 99.9 percent of the customers are really pleasant and interesting to talk with.

It’s that .1 percent you have to watch out for.

Take for example, Mr. Magic.

Mr. Magic called our store the first day we were expecting large crowds due to a marketing mailer that had gone out.

“Hello there [Prominent City in the Midwest] Steaks, I’m Mr. Magic, and I’m trying to find your store.” Well if you’re magic, buddy, shouldn’t you be able to find it?

Mr. Magic came into the store wearing an orange t-shirt, blue jeans, and a black blazer with a multi-colored flower on the lapel. Eyeing the flower, I thought to myself that if he squirts water out of that thing at me, I may be the shortest tenured store manager in the history of retail.

He performed some lame card trick to a few scattered applause, and then approached the counter to pay for his purchases. I looked over at the sales rep ringing him up and noticed Mr. Magic laying out about 50 $2 bills across the entire countertop.

“Mr. Magic pays in $2 bills, because just like magic, they are rare to find and amusing all at once,” he announced to everyone in earshot. It wasn’t a magic trick, but he stopped for effect, as if he was waiting for the customers and staff around him to break out in applause.

*Crickets*

My only thought was that I needed to remember to deposit those $2 bills in the bank so that I didn’t have a bunch of useless bills in my cash register.

After about an hour of “entertaining” people in the store while we were busy trying to keep up with the crowd, Mr. Magic finally went on his way. But not after handing me a business card for Mr. and Mrs. Magic (yes, his wife was in on the act as well).

“Call me if you ever want me to come in and entertain for your customers on busy days.” I told him I would, knowing I wouldn’t.

And I thought he was now just a bad memory for me.

Until the next morning.

As part of my morning routine, I count the cash for the registers. As I went through one of the stacks of dollar bills, I came across a stack of approximately 50 $2 bills.

Damnit.

* * * *

Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

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