About three weeks ago I received an email from a customer. Seems she was in my shop about a year ago, while visiting her son who was about to deploy from Ft. Campbell. Apparently, the shop (and, perhaps, I) made an impression on this lady. In her email, she mentioned she had enjoyed shopping at Hodgepodge, as well as talking with me (my, how kind). She told me that she was really taken with our merchandise selection and was wondering if I would mind telling her about my vendors. It seems she has recently moved to Memphis and was helping a friend get her shop up and running. She was hoping to help this friend set-up something similar to Hodgepodge. Am I flattered or what?!? I asked her a few questions, to clarify which items she liked the most--then told her the names of the vendors. I also offered to come by the shop while I was in Memphis for my daughter's gymnastics meet. Unfortunately, timing was not on our side, so we didn't meet-up.
About a week later, however, I had a memory flashback. I had nearly, but not completely, forgotten about a similar circumstance--one where the proverbial shoe was on my foot. I had been in search of a particular item I wanted for the shop--one I had ordered, but then the vendor didn't fulfill due to lack of orders or something of the sort. I couldn't find it or anything similar through any other vendors; numerous google searches; a thorough search of the Americamart website; and many more methods of attack. A little over a year later, as I was perusing the blog of another boutique owner--there it is! I was astounded! All of this searching and there it was! She had found it and was offering it at her shop (in another state--over 500 miles away).
I thought about it a day or two, but then I decided to send the shopkeeper an email. I explained everything as I did above and asked her to kindly let me know the name of the vendor where I could find the elusive item. Now mind you--this was not our first communication. I had made several complimentary comments on her blog. Heck, I had even ordered something from her. You know what she said?
She said, "No."
She explained that, as an independent shopkeeper, she works very hard to find her "unique" mix of inventory and for that reason she knew I would understand why she never divulges her "sources."
Well, she couldn't have surprised me more if she had nailed my shirt to the floor! The most insulting part of her email? The part is that she assumed I would understand. Nope. I didn't and still don't.
A year-and-a-half later, when I get this request from a one-time customer, I didn't hesitate to provide her with the information she needed. I'm also proud to say, I've provided similar information for several others before and after my deflating encounter with this otherwise impressive shopkeeper.
I like to think of it as living by the golden rule--you know that little suggestion once made by an influential man--do unto others as you would have others do unto you. (Matt. 7:12)
So, if that's the case, why am I whining about this now? Consider it a much needed cathartic release. I could say a lot more . . . trust me! But that wouldn't be exactly keeping to the golden rule. Would it?
I can tell you this though, I had the pleasure of reporting to the intrepid shopkeeper that I was able to find my elusive quarry, the VERY next day, at our local Borders! Can you believe it?!? Her unique boutique inventory item right here in Clarksville at Borders. Guess it's a good thing I didn't find and order it.
Thanks for your indulgence.