Going out of business brings out the best in people

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working at my bike store more. After 5 years in business, Saturday was our final day. Since we put up the going out of business signs on June 15th, it’s like we’re conducting a psychological experiment on customers. The results are fascinating, if slightly disturbing.

Here are a few of my favorite going out of business quotes:

After seeing a shop in complete disarray and going out of business sign on the front door, the most common quote had to be, “are you really going out of business?”

“I wish I had heard you were going out business sooner.”

“I love going out of business sales. I get such good deals.”

Overheard: “It’s too bad…they had a great bathroom.”

“Can you tell me what size bike my friend needs.” (even though we don’t have any bikes left to sell.)

“I want to support you guys [by buying some stuff] …. Really? You want $5 dollars for this?!” (while they hold a $20 item in their hand)

“I’d like to support your sale.”

“Can you hold this for me until the price goes down?”

Customer holds up a piece of clothing that retails for $60, on sale for $30. Customer says, “I’ll give you $20 for this.” Charity says, “No.” Customer huffs out.

I posted free cabinets to craigslist. I was inundated with emails immediately. I responded with our hours, our address, and that it was first come, first served. Someone came by the next afternoon looking for the cabinets. I told him the cabinets had been taken. He responded in a not so nice tone, “It’ve been nice if someone told me that,” and he walked out.

Another person asked me if I could drop off the cabinets in Larkspur, which is 40 miles away. People, the operative word is free.

A kid rides in. He tells Darrin he’s on a bike tour down the coast, but he works a bicycle coop somewhere in the bay area. The kid rattles  on about how corporate bike shops are destroying the local shops. Yadda-yadda. He then asks if we’d donate anything left over to his coop.

“I’m half Jew. I have to jew you down.”

Sophie (my dog) has a stuffed monkey toy that she plays with the shop. It was laying on the ground near a pile of tools we had for sale. A woman, in her frenzy to find deals, picks it up and asks, “What’s this for?” Steve responds: “That’s a dog toy.” How Steve should have responded: “That’s a saddle cover.”