So today I was helping out at Rosie's from 1-5 p.m. (I say helping out, because I only work there very part time, when the usual full- and part-time staff can't make it on a weekend, or if they need extra hands because of a class. I really enjoy doing it!) It was a busy enough day, not hectic, but there was always at least one customer in the shop, asking for help with colors, types of yarn, etc., so I was glad I was there to help Laura, who was working today (whether or not she felt I was any help, you'd need to ask her!).
Anyway, on Sundays, the shop is open from 12-5. The hours are posted on the website, and a couple of people generally call to ask what the weekend hours are, plus the hours are painted on the door. Around 4:30, it seemed that everyone who had been there looking around or buying something, had left. So we started to get things organized to close. About 4:45, a woman came in to look ar0und, and left almost immediately afterwards, to walk down the street to an ATM, but she said she would be back. She mentioned that she noticed we were closing at 5, and we agreed with her.
She returned about 4:50, and said, "Do you really close at 5? Because I thought the website said you were open until 6 o'clock, at least that's what my boyfriend said." We assured her that on Sundays, 5 o'clock was closing time. She said that she was only looking for sock yarn, and some needles, and could we "give her a few minutes?" We said that was fine.
She asked specifically for the needles she wanted, and we handed them to her. Then she started to look through the Koigu, to decide what color she wanted. This was also fine. Then she asked what was new in the shop. OK, we pointed out a few new yarns. Thens she handed me a skein of yarn, and asked if we had one more skein. A quick look showed there wasn't one on the shelf, so I went to the back where the extra yarn is stored to look. I will fully admit that I did a quick and dirty check, but I didn't seen anything with the same number, or even close in look to what she had. So she chose two other skeins.
At this point, it was nearly 5:10, but since she was ready to pay, it looked like things were really wrapping up. But then she wanted to know if we would wind the yarn for her, because she lives in New Jersey, and wouldn't get back anytime soon. I will admit that I was silent at this point, because, well, I'm only there very occasionally, and Laura was the one who had to do the closing routine. Laura asked if there was another place she could have it wound, and the woman said "probably" at a yarn store near her house (followed by a dramatic sigh). So she took her bag and left, and we finished up what we needed to do before shutting down overnight. By the time we left, it was between 5:15 and 5:20. Not really a big deal for me, since the shop is only a few blocks from my house, and I was not on any kind of time schedule. Laura, however, had to retrieve her car, and drive home, also not a long distance, but still time-consuming.
OK, Miss Manners, here's my question: Should we have stayed later, and let the customer take her time, and then regardless of how long she took, wound the yarn for her? She did keep saying that she saw on "some" website that we were open until 6, and she spent about 20 minutes at a minimum looking for a place to park. I completely can appreciate how frustrated she must have been, and that it is disconcerting to feel like you should hurry and do something, when you figured you would have more time.
But on the other hand, when she first arrived, we told her it was very close to closing time. We were willing to let her choose what she wanted, because she seemed to know exactly what that was. But then it seemed like she assumed she could take her time, and look around until 6 p.m., which was her original plan. I think we treated her well, considering her situation, but in the end, it was her mistake (or her boyfriend's), not incorrect information from anyone at the shop. To be perfectly honest, I was going along with all of it until she wanted to know if we would "wind the yarn, because otherwise it would be a problem." It was at that point that I felt she was pushing it, and apparently so did Laura.
Maybe it's just to make myself feel better, but I think we did the right thing. We tried to be accommodating, and she just kept pushing things. At no point were we rude, curt, or unwilling to help her at all. I kept getting the feeling that she thought that since it was a yarn store, and not say, Macy's, that we should go above and beyond to let her take all the time she may have wanted.
Yarn stores are different, because they are generally not megastores, and they rely on repeat visits and purchases from regular customers, as much as new visitors. But it's still a place that is open for a certain number of hours, with employees that have other responsibilities once their workday is over. I think a lot of people feel that since they are so intimate and so much more personal, they should always allow special considerations to their customers. Because as you know, the customer is always right.
Except today, I didn't agree with that. So please tell me, Miss Manners, what do you think?