My Mom always used to say, “If you don’t know what to say, sometimes it’s better to just say nothing.” I agree.
With today’s public announcement of the closing of the retail store I helped open with a business partner almost seven years ago, I have been alternately touched and (honestly) a little offended by the comments some folks have made… As far as the many sincere, sweet and kind emails and texts I have received – checking in to see if I was OK, and “Rah-Rah’ing” me on to “bigger and better” in the future – I would like to say “Thanks.”
To others, who either lack the necessary social and life skills to make conversation around an event as serious and “big” as closing a small business, or are just innocently insensitive, I ask that maybe you think before you speak. Some sample remarks I received today:
After reading an eblast/Facebook/Twitter post that all my store’s merchandise was now on final close-out for 50% off, one well-intentioned person shared that maybe “Now they would finally come in and check my new-but-closing store out and grab some sale stuff.” (We have been at our “new” location for over fifteen months).
Hey, listen – I’m glad my “going-out-of-business sale” makes shopping affordable AND drives you to find time to support local, independent retailers.
Or how about this back-handed compliment: “I am sorry to hear you are closing but am truly amazed you lasted this long. I thought you would close a year or so after you opened.”
Wow. Thanks for sharing that compliment. I am going to pretend you meant to say something like this (but it came out all wrong): “I admire your ability and determination to make your business successful for as long as you have, given the overwhelming challenges small business owners face.”
And finally, this question was the best. With no “Sorry you are closing” or any other sympathetic remarks, I had a friend email me and ask if “…I wait until your last day of business, will the discounts go any lower? I’d gamble on something I want still being there on the last day, especially if you are going down to like 90% off.”
Hey, News Flash – why don’t you wait till the last day, come in – hoping to get something for 90% off, THEN pay for your purchase with your platinum AmEx and ask if we “gift wrap.” Ass.
While I don’t think any of the comments above were made maliciously, I have to ask myself: WTF are people thinking when they open their mouths? I mean, Jesus – closing a business is just about as devastating as losing a loved one to death. Cut me some slack, people, and please THINK before you speak…
Sigh… Glad I got that off my chest. Thanks for listening. And BTW – only the RETAIL component of my store is closing, in part to give my partner and I more time to pursue and develop our growing interior design practice. So, yeah – please wish us luck!