Lessons from Tom, Mom, and the Golden Rule

a1Today, like almost every Friday, I drove around going to local Estate and Tag sales. My inventory is plentiful, however, I keep searching in case there is something that would be a great fit for my eBay store. Quite honestly, the price of merchandise being sold at some of these venues equals, or is perhaps greater than, the price I could get for it on eBay.   So I am being very picky about what to purchase.

However, today something happened at a garage sale that left a bad feeling in my stomach. An older gentleman (probably around 80 years old) wanted to buy some tee shirts and polo shirts. He was trying to get the seller to come down in price for the used clothing. The seller was asking $2 for each tee shirt and $8 for polo shirts. He was obviously annoyed by the older guy’s multiple attempts at bargaining and said to him in an irritated voice, “Well, you don’t like the price on those shirts, but you do like the labels.” This tasteless comment bothered me on multiple levels.

First, I believe that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if they are annoying you. I know that senior citizens can sometimes get a little cranky; their mood could be influenced by medication, illness, or dementia. Keeping these things in mind, what made this man believe it was ok to talk to the senior citizen in this condescending way? I don’t know, but it bothered me. No one should be spoken to that way, and where is respect for our elders?

Second, we don’t know the financial status of this octogenarian. He could be rolling in the dough trying to hang on to his money; or he could be shopping for his clothing at a garage sale because he relies on social security for income. Even if the senior had money, most are worried about outliving it. At 80, his capacity for generating new income from a career has long passed so as the song says, “hang on to what you got”.

So I thought to myself, the seller is much younger and seemingly in good health. He still has time in front of him to generate income. How much would those couple of extra bucks in his pocket impact his life?

Annoyed, it was time to cut my browsing short; I no longer wanted to buy anything at this sale.

Tonight, still bothered, I was mulling over today’s experience. Suddenly, I related this to something one of my eBay customers wrote to me:

Linda – –

I had a chance to read a bit of your blog last night after we made our deal! I just wanted to tell you that you seem like an extremely nice person… Very caring and I was very impressed by what you had to say. If more people saw your blog… They would probably seek you out, because there are a lot of other people like me that when faced with choices of who to deal with, they’d want to deal with caring sincere and hard-working people like you!

I wish there were more people in the world like you. Best of success to you in your venture… You are great to work with, and I will give you a glowing 100% endorsement.

You have my permission to post the above paragraph on your blog if you want…

Thanks again – –

Tom

It was very nice of Tom to offer me these kind words. And I’m so glad that someone actually reads this blog. Also, my mother would be proud as she repeated the golden rule to me often enough, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto to you.” It is something we all should keep in mind as we go about our day.

However, it is also a lesson for those who are in business or trying to make a sale. People will respond to how you treat them. When given a choice between shopping at the store with the ornery personnel or the one with the pleasant personnel, where do you think they will shop? For my very small business, excellent customer service is something taken very seriously. And honestly, it makes me feel good that I am doing the right thing by having integrity when dealing with my customer base.

Next…taking Tom’s advice by getting more people to actually read my blog. Have to talk with my sons about this, because, honestly, I don’t have a clue.

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