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Sticky fingers


PFG, Picture Framing God
Mar 30, 2006
Cincinnati, OH
So yesterday afternoon this woman comes into my store with her two toddlers. First thing she does is give a lollipop to each of the kids. Next thing she does is set them loose in my store, giving them no further attention as they proceed to put their sticky little hands on everything they can...moulding samples, customer stools, computer mouse, etc. So I'm trying to wait on her, and I'm distracted by these little monsters running amok in my store with their sticky, gooey hands, getting in my way, etc. And she's completely oblivious to them and the havoc they are wreaking.

Finally we finish up, and as she's leaving she says this to me: "So, you'll wear gloves whenever handling my photographs, right?"

Yeah, right lady. Just like your little monsters wore gloves when handling my frame samples and mat corners.
That kind of stuff happens to me too. Thankfully not frequently; for the kids, we have some toys in the store and usually they gravitate toward them. It is scary to see the parents sense of entitlement trickle down to their children.
I won't let it happen again. If the parent doesn't have the kid on a tight leash (figuratively or literally, I don't care), I'll just politely mention that we have lots of sharp stuff in the store, like blades, nails, etc. And if the kid comes in with a lollipop, I'll give them a choice: give me the sucker, or come back when it's done and everyone's hands are properly scrubbed.
I should add that the experience so rattled me (it happened at the end of the day), that I forgot to go through my usual closing rituals to reassure myself that the store is locked up. So I drive almost the entire 30 miles back home, with the worry nagging at me that I haven't locked the door. I realize I'll never get to sleep if I don't know for sure, so I turn around and drive BACK to the store to check. Of course the door is locked, but I had to know. So now I get to drive BACK home again, adding a 60-mile round trip to my daily commute.

And in the process of driving back to the store, a rock hit my windshield and cracked it!
I have a sign that I have found to be extremely effective..."All unattended children will be given a cappucino and a puppy."
Sorry to hear about the horrendous customer and then the hassle you endured afterwards. I can relate - I've driven back to my store (only 20 miles one way for me) to double check locks after being similarly distracted. Luckily for me, however, didn't get a cracked windshield.

As for the framing customer, it's precisely these situations I'm very thankful for my misc. tab in my POS - these "special" customers always get an additional charge to cover my headache, cleaning, etc.

I think my jaw would've dropped to the floor when she made the comment about wearing gloves to handle the photo! But then that's just the type of person who would be that way!

Have a better day!
Duncan- GREAT SIGN! I've seen one that said "Unattended children will be towed away at owner's expense."
:cool: Rick
Man, I thought this was a post about the Rolling Stones....

My favorite children are the ones that try to see how many moulding samples they can take off the wall and pile onto the floor.... and of course I feel obligated to say, "Oh, don't worry about that, I'll put them back up!"
I would be concerned with a child handling any customer's stools.
Originally posted by DTWDSM:
I would be concerned with a child handling any customer's stools.

I say cut their little fingers off and serve them at your next opening. They'll look like little cocktail weiners. Serve with a nice Pinot Grigio
I used to let them run rampant, but no more. When the kids start handling stuff I don't want them to, I tell them to please don't do that because they may get hurt. Most of the time the parents finally get a clue to tell them no. If the kids don't stop when I tell them, I tell the parents to please tell them if they haven't already, as I wouldn't want them to get hurt by a nail, splinter, staple, or whatever they are not supposed to be messing with. I really don't care if they get upset with me or not. It's better than the kids getting hurt, and me paying a doctor bill or worse because of them messing with stuff. Personally, I think parents are jerks that let their kids run around unattended unless as some say, they have toys and the like for them to play with, which is fine for some. I don't have toys and am not going to get any. This is a frame shop, not a playground. I raised two kids (now ages 34 and 36) and I would have never let them act that way in any business when they were young. It must have rubbed off because their kids are very well behaved also. Times may have changed, but I haven't. So far this attitude has not hurt my business and I have not lost a customer because of it. If it does, I'll still be able to sleep at night, and I won't have as much to clean up when they leave.

I find that bubblewrap does the trick. I wrap up the kids and.... Okay, not true, but I do know kids love bubblewrap. The bigger the bubbles the better. I always ask the parents first and then I pass the "lovely little child" a one-foot square of it to pop.

Works every time.

BTW: I also retreive the spent bubblewrap before they leave too:)

Works for me.
At the shop I used to work at, the owner would pull out a big piece of craft paper and a few crayons and either let the kids color or if I was at the counter with the parent she would get on the floor with the kids and color with them.

This ALWAYS worked really well.
I won't be handing out crayons. I can just see the kids attacking my walls with those crayons!
Let them play with the v-nailer.
Originally posted by PaulSF:
I won't be handing out crayons. I can just see the kids attacking my walls with those crayons!
Or worse: The oil paintings!!

I think a strategically placed baseball-bat or a shotgun on the counter keeps everybody cool....and behaving nicely ;) not to mention customers who want to complain or haggle!
I'm with Duncan (you sick, twisted &%#$@... ) :D

They may even like watching the mitre saw spin 'round.....
Originally posted by FramingFool:
I'm with Duncan (you sick, twisted &%#$@... ) :D

They may even like watching the mitre saw spin 'round.....
We could make a whole amusement section using the tools of our trade. Just think, we could make side money with the v-nailer as a new trend in body piercings!
Actually, there is a Do-It-Yourself frame shop in this area that encourages all the kiddies to play on the floor while their 'rents pick out their (choke) framing.... any idea how many staples/nails/shards of glass are in that carpet...????

(JRB ... you think YOU had a lawsuit.....!)
I like Rocks no nonsense aproach...As of yet I have not had any problems with children, but in the event I do I would just give them that "look" and tell them to "knock it off " or I will tell their parents. I would say it loud enough that the parents would of course hear.
I forgot one time to lock the doors..! I just rolled over and went to sleep. All was well the next day.
I figured there was no way to tell if the door was locked or not and if there was I doubt anyone would mess with it. Not a good way to think..especially in this day and age, but isn't that the way we were brought up to think..???
I have gone away for days at a time ( out on a search for new paintings...) and never locked the front door to the house. Just never thought of it! Seems weird to me now to have to think this way..
( lock every thing up ) Can't say I like it, but its probablly wiser. SO I lock up now and double check everything.
It gets worse. I've got a direct mail campaign out now, and sticky fingers lady came in with a postcard for a nice discount off the moulding. It turns out a friend of hers was in a few days before the mailing, and didn't get the discount because we weren't running it yet. So she mentioned it to her friend, and her friend called and asked for the discount. Of course I gave it to her as a matter of goodwill. So now sticky fingers has cost me $150 on another sale! I really do foresee a nice, hefty miscellaneous charge on her next order!