Wanted: Doppelgänger

I’ve been reading several different blogs lately. Most of them are either book-related [like Booklicious] or written by friends & acquaintances [shout outs to: DanaLesleyAnne, & Sandra]… and get this… they update their blogs almost everyday! Ladies–how do you do it? Share your secret potion with the lowly masses. I can barely do it every two weeks or so…

Side note: As if I don’t have enough to keep up with already, I’ve also joined goodreads–be my follower or friend or whatever here.

Anyway. It’s been crazy ’round here at Books by Design, and [I hope] it’s only going to get worse… er, better and better as Spring approaches ! Through Books by Design, I currently have two tutoring students, two design-related jobs in progress, and the last two weeks of book sales have been our best ever! I’m also in the midst of planning and praying about the next step for Books by Design… maybe a snack shop? maybe expand into the gift market? maybe try to sell it and pursue another avenue of life? I don’t quite know yet. Maybe we’ll have a blog about that later…

Where was I? Oh, yes. It’s been crazy around here in much part due to the arrival of Digger: The 15% Off Coupon Conspiracy that has arrived in Downtown Villa Rica.

[Cue: Doomsday Music & Strobe Lights.]

It’s mysterious. It’s confusing. It’s promotes the community. It’s supposed to bring me new customers but only my regulars have turned those little Digger Ditties in so far. It’s a nice idea, but let’s be honest… It’s a pain in my Books by Design tushy.

To be fair, I [in my own unwisdom], also initiated a coupon campaign, which has been equally nightmarish. Whether we’re taking 15% off the top or we’re getting a FREE BOOK with the purchase of $15.00 or more, I hate it. I know that seems completely irrational as coupons are all the rage right now. There’s Groupon, Living Social ($9.00 for TWO movie tickets last week!), Coupon Mom, and countless others completely devoted to saving savvy consumers the almighty dollar. And if we’re being honest, I like to take part in the coupon clipping. Hobby Lobby 40% Off Any One Item? I. am. so. there. However, I play by the rules. I print or clip the coupon. I keep up with coupon. I present the coupon. I surrender the said coupon at the time of purchase. I play by the coupon’s rules, dang it!

A lot of Books by Design customers don’t play by the coupon rules–SHOCKER!

And ladies & gentlemen… drum roll, please… allow me to introduce you to Gertrude The ‘Tude Smith’s neighbor, Sadie The Shady Coupon Lady.

Y’all it’s was bad.

Not only did Sadie The Shady Coupon Lady take a cue from Gertrude The ‘Tude Smith and bring in a musty Santa Claus stack full of old,out-of-date books and demand high-dollar Books by Design store credit for them, Sadie brought her coupon.

Oh, wait.

No, she didn’t!

But I’m getting ahead of myself… let me back up. As said, Sadie brought in 478 nasty romance novels that she got for twenty-five cents at the yard sale last weekend… mind you, they were originally priced at fifty-cents each but since it had rained the night before and most of the books had gotten a little “damp” [hence the musty smell], she jewed ’em down to twenty-five cents… what were they thinking anyway? Charging a sweet, old lady like herself fifty-cents for a book. Did they know she was on a fixed income? Gah.

Instead of picking out similar nasty romance novels, Sadie chooses some beautiful, pristine hardcover suspense novels and a couple of taller mass market paperbacks. Hardcovers are priced at $7.00 each and the taller paperbacks are $5.00 each, minus her credit and all that. Sadie hands me her credit card. I gingerly swip it and print out her receipt, asking her kindly to please sign.

“Oh,” Sadie says. “I wanted to use that coupon.”

“What coupon?” I ask politely.

“You know that coupon in that magazine,” she huffs and stares me dead in the eye, daring me to call her bluff.

“The one for fifteen percent off…” I trail.

“Yeah,” she huffs again all too quickly.

“… or the one for a free book?” I add.

“Oh, yeah. Definitely the one for the free book. That’s the one I want. I mean, that’s the one I saw.” Sadie is now very animated.

Yeah, right Sadie. I don’t believe you for one nano second.

“Okay,” I smile politely. “Where is your coupon?”

“Oh, I didn’t bring it,” she says matter-of-factly.

“Oh. Well. Um. That’s the point of the coupon, right? Gotta bring it in… you know they make you scan them at Kroger and stuff,” I say. I’m losing ground, and I know it.

“Well, I don’t know if it’s in my car, and I don’t want to walk all the way out there and check. I know I saw it though, and I want that free book.”

Y’all, I promise you I saw a flash of Sadie The Shady Coupon Lady’s inner demon when she said all that. It’s yellow eyes ’bout near pierced my soul.

“Okay,” I forfeit. I just don’t have the fight left in me. It’s Friday. I’m tired. I can’t argue with little old ladies… even the manipulative one’s like Sadie The Shady Coupon Lady. “You’re welcome to choose another book for free.”

“Oh,” she says. “I want one of those for free. There’s not another one I want.”

You mean to tell me that you scooped up five books in a matter of less than ten minutes, but you can’t find not one other book in the whole entire store that you want for FREE? Pffft.

“I’m sorry, but I’ve already swipped your card,” I say. “Remember you handed it to me,” I add for emphasis.

“Well, I want my money back.”

I popped open the cash register, snatched out a $5 bill,  held it out to Sadie The Shady Coupon Lady and didn’t say another word.

She takes the money and her books, turns to walk away and stops asking, “Hey… Can I have one of those Digger cards?”

I promise on my first edition copy of A Walk to Remember, that’s a true story ladies and gentlemen. True story.

And that’s why I hate coupons. Digger or Books by Design or otherwise. People don’t want to play by the rules. Would you ask the people at Sport Authority for 20% off those new sneakers [who calls them sneakers anymore? I don’t know where that came from…] if you didn’t have the coupon? Would you have the audacity to ask Chick-fil-a [as awesomely customer service oriented as they are!] to give you a free chicken sandwich from a coupon you think you saw in some magazine? I think not. My boyfriend tells me assertively that that is the business of being a small business… digging deep in my proverbial Books by Design pocket to please people. At the end of the day though, after the credit card fee, the coupon, and the hassle that she put me through, I don’t know that I made any profit whatsoever.

Knowing Sadie The Shady Coupon Lady, she’ll xerox that Digger card, pass them out to her friends and send ’em right over to Books by Design because that girl is a P.u.s.h.o.v.e.r. I bet she’s having a good laugh about it over a cup of tea… the kind from the tea bag, not from Starbucks. She’s on a fixed income, you know… right now.

It’s times like those that I wish I had a Doppelgänger. I need an evil [but cute!] twin to take care of all the messy mistakes I make as a young & dumb [& way to stinkin’ eager to please] business owner. Somewhere I need to find the gumption to stand up for both myself and my business. I have to stop letting people have good credit for bad trade-ins. I have to stop letting people walk out of Books by Design because they think we’re a library. I have to stop letting people use imaginary coupons.

Everytime my mom goes to the grocery store, she asks if I need anything. Lately my requests have been Lucky Charms cereal bars, sanity and peace of mind. Maybe the next time she asks, I’ll request a Doppelgänger. How about that?

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