[Musings of a Game Store Owner] Doing What the Customer Wants- Pros and Cons

You own a business, and customers should get what they want because they pay your bills, right? simple enough concept – I mean, why bite the hand that feeds you?

In theory, things are simple. In practice, they are much more complicated. There’s a lot more subtlety involved in the  retailer/customer relationship than many people realize. 
TheDude and I have done a lot to give our customers a sense of inclusion and ownership in the store. We are more than a retail shop- we’re an environment and a destination; so we want the people who choose us to feel like they have a reason to be at our shop.  Many of our customers spend entire weekends at our place, and some folks more than that. Being part of the community and being invested can often increase that sense of ownership as well.

Thank you, Matt Groening

The downside of that ownership is often entitlement. Customers have all kinds of ideas of how “things should be”, and some of them are louder about it than others. Most customers don’t want too much, but they’ll sure let you know about the things that ARE important to them.

A great example is the recent redesign to the HoP. I asked for opinions, because this isn’t my place; it’s a community. There were some common elements in the comments, and I listened to them. I made changes that served the entire community, and I was happy to do so.

It’s important to note that entitled can be another word for greedy or demanding. Along with the majority of folks wanting certain things in the redesign, there were a few people that made singular demands that were – well, demanding.

Despite several friends that accuse me of being spineless, I actually said “no” to these demands and went on my merry way. I did what I thought was best for the House. It’s much the same at the store. TheDude and I do what we think is best for the store, and try to ignore the demands of the petulant customers.

Customers will try to tell me how, what, when or where to do any number of things, or even what not to do. I’m really not having it- if it’s my store and I pay the bills and do the work, I get to set the rules.

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