I have personally adhered to the Polk Brothers' philosophy in my professional careers in media and law in addition to my hobby as a baseball card dealer. This simple philosophy of treating customers with respect and caring has worked well for me. I am always amazed when others fail to recognize this essential tenant of simple transactions. I have come across many baseball card dealers who treat customers poorly. Show promoters, on the other hand, usually treat customers and dealers with care and respect. I currently deal with four different show promoters and it is become evident to me that the promoter of the Orland Park show is not interested in treating customers and dealers with care and respect, as the others do. Today, I experienced my second bad incident in as many months and am strongly debating on whether to return to the Orland Park show.
The show ends at 2 p.m. Today's incident occurred at 2:03 p.m. while a customer was in the process of writing me a check for cards. Out of nowhere, an employee at the hall approaches my customer and barks in his ear: "The show is over, wrap it up!" My customer was hot. He held up his pen and said: "I'm writing a check. what does this look like? I'm wrapping it up!" I tried to calm the customer down and advised him to ignore the hall worker. At 2:06 p.m., the same worker stands by the front entrance and shouts, "The show is over, time to leave!" About two minutes later, he does the same thing.
I was just as upset as my customer but tried to hide it. I gave the customer his cards and thanked him for his purchase. I was steaming inside, thinking "What if this customer does not return because of the hair-brained hall worker? I'm going to lose money. What if all the customers in the room, at least 20, decide they no longer want to attend the show? I'm going to lose money. Earlier, at about 1:50 p.m., I stopped another dealer from going through my stuff because I knew the show promoter goes nuts if dealers are not out of the room by 2 p.m. I lost money there.
The facts are, I pay the promoter $100 to set up at the show so I can sell some cards. Some of my biggest sales come at the end of the show. I need to be able to continue to work with customers at my table in a professional environment until the customers decide to leave, not when a hall worker decides they should leave -- because the customer is always right! You need to let the customer decide when he is done shopping!! There is obviously a fundamental problem here. I have now learned that if my customers stay after 2 p.m. both the customers and myself will be hassled by either the promoter or a hall worker. My options appear to be: (1) pack up and leave the show at 1 p.m. and lose many sales, (2) continue to stay until customers leave the table and continue to have problems with the promoter and hall worker, or (3) avoid the situation entirely and set up at another show or just sell cards online.
Option 1 is out of the question. I've been trained by a Maxwell Street master -- you don't leave money on the table or in the room. Option 2, seems like a start. I will continue to stay in the room until there are no customers at my table. If I continue to be hassled, Option 3 will come in to play and I will cease patronizing the Orland Park show and sell cards in a more pleasant and professional environment where dealers and customers alike are treated with care and respect.