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December 27, 2005

Sorry, we're closed

At 6:30 pm my wife called the local kitchen shop to ask when they closed.

"8:00 pm" was the answer.

After dinner she went out the door to quickly pick up a gift that I had seen there the night before. After parking and running through the rain she arrived at the door at 7:47 pm to find the shop closed.

Why was she surprised? It was rainy, and dark, and most of the other shops in the boutiquey neighborhood had closed at 6 or 7. How much business would it cost to close a little early?

A lot. Because next time my wife won't bother with the little kitchen shop. She is more likely to head straight to Bed Bath & Beyond where they are open the hours they post and don't kick you out if you linger a bit.

Honoring your posted hours is not a little-local-store versus big-national-chain issue. I have sat in a Dairy Queen at 9:05 pm and watched the staff dismiss incredulous customer after incredulous customer because, despite the 10 pm close time posted on the door, "We close at 9 pm in the winter."

Honoring your posted hours is about being trustworthy and respecting your customers. It is the absolute minimum standard for a retail business. Padding your hours like Starbucks, which opens ten minutes early and closes ten minutes late, delights instead of annoys customers. Weren't you grateful the last time you rushed to get somewhere before they closed and were let in 5 minutes after closing time?

Posted by Bob Pritchett at December 27, 2005 6:15 AM

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