Retail question: would this be reasonable to ask?

Backstory: I am a quilter, and I’ve been buying fabric at the same store for about 10 years now. That means little, since a new owner bought the place about 18 months ago. My husband was mostly unemployed for a lot of 2009, so I haven’t been buying much fabric, but the owner should recognize me, and the other people who work there all know me well.

Today I went in to think about spending my Christmas present gift certificate. The clerk, who I know fairly well, asked if I had the store bag and told me about the new incentive program, which is a Chico bag that gets you a 10% discount. It replaced the old punch-card incentive program, which they got rid of two months ago.

Hang on–I didn’t hear about that, and I had $10 to go on my (giant) punch card, after which I was supposed to get $40 in merchandise. Yes, they did announce it on their newsletter, but I’ve been dropped off their mailing list (don’t know why, new ownership?).

I was really pretty upset at this news and left without buying anything; the fun had gone out of it. I’m wondering if it would be reasonable to call the owner and ask her to honor the punch card, given how close I was to finishing. Probably it’s idiotic and I should just forget about it, huh?

No, not idiotic at all. It would be a very reasonable request, given that you’ve been a customer since long before the new owner came on the scene. You would have completed the punch-card requirement had you received the newsletter, and certainly something could be worked out…

(Now practice this in the mirror until you can get through it without blushing and stammering. I can never manage this part. But I’m fairly certain you can make it work.)

Sure. Go ahead and ask. Just be prepared for a possible no, and accept it gracefully if she says no. She’s not obligated to honor it.

It certainly is a reasonable request, just make sure you’re very polite, the nicer you are the harder it is for them to say no.

Off topic, but if you’re a quilter you would probably love this series of books by Jennifer Chiaverini.

I am no quilter by any means but I love the books.

From reading your posts over the years, I know you are a polite person by nature, and I am just about certain that between your good attitude and the economic climate, the store will want to do all it can to keep a loyal customer happy.

Also remember, it wont cost the store 40 dollars to give you 40 dollars worth of merchandise, they pay much less than that with their wholesale discount…

Good Luck dangermom!!!

PS—If it were me, I would actually go to the store in person, rather than just calling.

I don’t see anything unreasonable about the request. It might not be granted, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

This. Perfect.

I generally give more to customers when they email me requests - that way I have time to think about it, rather than being put on the spot. . . so if you know her email address, that might be good and less demanding.

Thanks everyone, I’ll give it a go tomorrow. I’ll have to think about email vs. in person–on email she won’t recognize my face, and it would be the others there that know me by name. There does seem to be an email address, but I don’t know how often it’s checked–the store webpage doesn’t seem to get updated as often as I would think proper. Anyway, thanks for the encouragement. I am ridiculously bummed out by this–probably the effect of being very poor all year–and it really will be hard for me to want to shop there if I don’t get this resolved. (Not that I plan to threaten her with that, but it’s the truth.) I’ve been listening to Hindi music all evening to cheer myself up.

:smiley: I’ve read them all and enjoy them. Just read the latest one a couple of weeks ago.

There’s isn’t something be be resolved yet. If they turn you down (and I seriously doubt they will) then there’s an issue that needs to be resolved. Go in there with the expectation that you’ll be treated well, be straightforward and don’t get angry.

Oh, don’t worry, I’m pretty well incapable of going in there angry. I’m much more worried that I will cry and embarrass myself horribly.

Go for it!

The worst the new owner can do is say no. And it’s much more likely that she will, at the least, offer you some kind of a discount. She is well aware of the advantages of keeping regular customers happy – that’s why she is offering the new plan.

One possible way to approach this: speak to one of the salespeople that you know well, and who recognizes you as a regular customer. Tell her the situation, and ask if it would be possible for you to speak to the new owner about this. She will say “of course, wait here, I will ask her to come out to speak to you”. You can be sure that the salesperson will tell the owner why you want to speak to her (thus giving her time to think about it before speaking to you), and will tell the new owner that you are a regular customer who buys frequently. That will increase the chances that she will offer you some kind of a deal.