What Not to Say When a Store is Closing

Posted: June 19, 2012 in Inkspots, Musings, Scribe Scribbles
Tags: , , , ,

The location  where I have worked for years, is sadly, closing. The good news  for me is  I  am being folded into another location for the same company. That’s amazing right there, in an economy like this one, it is fantastic to not have to worry about finding another job.  The good news for the store is that it doesn’t need to liquidate the inventory as others do when they go out of business.  But after today,  I thought I might share some etiquette from the other side of the counter. There’s a right way and a wrong way for saying good bye to a store that you patronized and will miss when it leaves the community. Here are the top ten things NOT to say to a clerk, manager, or staffer when they are closing a store.

10. I wish you weren’t leaving

No one wants to close a store. No one. I can’t think of any circumstances where someone would be happy to close a store.  As much as you want to share your disappointment with the clerks and the manager,  remember that they don’t want to leave just as much as you don’t want them to go.  And, they probably are going to be unemployed on top of closing the store.

9.  Why are you closing?

There’s a reason for the store closing, but it is a private matter. You do not have the right to know  why any store is closing. Usually it’s a collection of reasons, not one single one. A clerk isn’t going to know why the store is closing, a manager is going to know but probably can’t tell you, and the owner has no desire to air their reasons to the public. There’s enough tittle-tattle going on because the store is closing.

8.  I’ll call some people, and we’ll save the store

The decision to close the store has been made.  Like an iceberg, what you see is just the tip of the issue. Things have been working towards this visible point for a long time. Leases have been terminated, licences have not been renewed, and displays have been promised or sold.  The decision is not yours to make, and trying to rally the community at the very end of things, is insulting.

7.  I’ll just use the internet

This is a particularly nasty thing to say. This is part of the reason that brick-and-mortar stores are going away from the street corners and malls.  The internet is NOT a  brick and mortar stores friend. Telling the people who work in a store that is closing “I’ll just use the internet” is throwing salt in an open wound. Even if that is you are planning on doing, keep it to yourself.

6.  I don’t know what I’m going to do now that you are leaving. Where will I get ____________?

The clerks and staff have an incredible amount of stress on them closing the store. They don’t need the added burden of figuring out your options when they’re gone.  You can certainly express regret that they aren’t going to be there, but voicing your  frustration is only going to add to theirs.

5.  I wish you had given me some warning 

Most of the time, employees have been warned about the location closing  in advance. Some have months of warning themselves, others only have weeks, and some have none at all.  At no time, do they have permission to speak until corporate or their bosses give them permission. While the store is winding down, salary still has to be made OR positions will be cut. No one wants to be out of work sooner than necessary.  Don’t put guilt on the staff of the store by saying things like this.

4.   I didn’t know you were closing, why didn’t you tell me?

Stores do their very best to get the word out to the community when they have to close their doors. They usually use Facebook, twitter, e-mails, and the local paper to make sure their customers know that they are leaving, and how much they have treasured the years of service to the community. If you happen to miss one of these announcements, please know it’s not a personal slight. Voicing this kind of remark is not helpful as it puts the store employees on the defensive and there is no good answer to the question.

3.  Can I have  _______for free?

The business needs every last penny that it can get from its assets when it is closing. There are bills to be paid, salaries to be met,  and it would be nice if there was some extra cash for the owner to do something for themselves after the stress of closing. Do not ask for anything in the store, for free.

2.  When are you going to put things on sale?

It’s normal to want to snag a good deal when a store you like, is closing. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But sometimes stock is sold intact to other stores. If you don’t see huge “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS 50%-90% OFF”  that might be the case.

1. Why are you doing this to me?

 I was surprised myself, how many times I was asked this when I was working on closing the store.  I can promise every customer who has ever shopped in a brick and mortar store, closing is not something that the store “does” to punish its customers.

What are some of the things that you should say to those in a store that is closing? Here are a quick ten that have meant a lot to me.

10.I’ve enjoyed shopping here over the years. Thank you

9. I’m sorry to see you go, but I know that you’ve got a bright future where ever you alight

8. You’ll be missed

7. The community won’t be the same without you, thanks for all those years of service

6. Is there anything we can do to help?

5. Hey, let’s stay in touch, here’s my e-mail address

4.  I’ve got some contacts, I’d be glad to let them know you’re looking for a job

3. Here, I bought you a coffee.

2. I’d love to be a reference for you. In fact, I’ll write you one and e-mail it to you.

1. You really brighten my day every time I’m in here.  Thank you for going out of your way to do that for me. You’ll be missed.

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Comments
  1. Julie D. says:

    Thanks for the tips.

  2. Kathy Black says:

    People are just people. We all handle things differently. Some of the best ways are at the bottom but people will be people and we all handle things according to how mature and how healed we are on the inside. At least no one said, thank God you are leaving, I wanted the space. ha ha

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