Weird retail or service industry policies...

Didn’t want to hijack the “Weird Restaurant Policies” thread - what are some strange retail store or service policies that you’ve encountered?

The strangest one I’ve seen was a woman who opened a hairdressing salon on the main downtown street of my city many years ago. One day my friend went in for a haircut and the woman said she had to make an appointment. My friend said “Okay, make me an appointment.” The woman said “No, you have to go home and phone to make an appointment.” My friend was like “But I’m here right now…” and the woman refused to accept her unless she left and phoned back. (Keep in mind that this was NOT a busy place.)

The same woman, a few weeks after she opened, started keeping her shop’s front door locked all the time and had a note on the door stating that she would NOT accept male clients, especially lone male clients, unless they provided photo ID and let her take a photocopy of said ID. (She told me that she’d been attacked and sexually assaulted at her old shop in Toronto, so I could see where this was coming from, but it still seemed strange.)

Seriously? Nothing??

Number one, the hairdresser had serious personal issues that are very unusual.

Number two, if you are a customer and not a competitor, the rights of a business owner are sacrosanct. If the hairdresser tells you all appointments must be made five years in advance, submitted in notarized triplicate on high quality artisan rag paper, and paid for by interbank wire transfer to a numbered account in Switzerland, all you can do is not give her any of your money. Even giving her a piece of your mind is questionable to some people; money talks, you shut up.

Maybe not weird, but questionable…there is a beautiful old building that used to be a bank, complete with a vault downstairs. It’s now an antique shop/art gallery. Went with a friend and looked at the stuff, there were a lot of pricey paintings, sculptures, and jewelry. The owner, whom my friend knew, said he worked there alone except for one part-time employee, he picked the location because it was a beautiful setting for his goods and in an ideal central location. But outside - egads, it was like the streets behind the casinos in Atlantic City (or what I remember years ago)! An awful, crime-ridden, dirty, littered urban landscape full of strip clubs and pawn shops. And he was in there with his little treasures all alone most of the day! I told him, ‘seriously, dude, consider a system where you buzz people in.’ I was afraid he was just begging to be robbed.

I guess I am a cynic. The salon above sounds like a money-laundering operation. I tend to assume any weird business that drives away customers is moneylaundering especially if they last for a year or more.

There is a chinese buffet in my town that never has customers and when I went in once didn’t even have a buffet set up. Place has been in business for over 10 years. REEKS of money laundering.

As a business owner, I agree with all that you’ve said, with the exception of what I’ve bolded. Why not a competitor? What am I missing?

This one isn’t so strange but just doesn’t seem to make much business sense to me.
Since all the Krispy Kreme places shut their doors and Dunkin Donuts has yet to return to the area our area has been in a serious donut defecit. The only places left are gas stations and grocery stores. Blech.
There is a close by privately owned little bakery that makes excellent donuts and is extremely popular and busy.
So basically the guy has the market all to himself and is in high demand. Weekdays are brisk but on weekends there is often a line out the door… wait… strike that. Make that Saturday is extremely busy. On Sunday the place is a ghost town.
How you can be in such demand and not be accessible on possibly the highest demand day of the week (at least be open till noon or something) I have no idea. The guy must hate money.

Maybe he just needs a day off and hates exhaustion?

He could pretend to be an old school barber and close on Monday. My guess, though, would be that he’s in church.

Chick-fil-A comes to mind unbidden from the dark recesses of my dark meat soul…

With waffle fries, please.

My barber is closed on Mondays AND Sundays, dadgummit!

Stores or restaurants that have a minimum credit card fee. I understand the merchant is charged a fee and that eats into their profit, but they need to structure their pricing to reflect how the customers want to pay. I don’t carry cash as much as I used to. Many stores have fallen off my radar since they don’t take CC and I went to alternatives when I didn’t have cash.

For example, there was a nice sandwich shop here that I went to for a long time. They switched owners and started having a minimum CC amount. When I didn’t have cash, I wouldn’t go to that restaurant. It’s not like their sandwiches were so awesome that they were worth a trip to the ATM. I started going to a different sandwich place which did take CC, and I haven’t been back to the original restaurant in years.

Or places that don’t take credit cards at all.
There’s a barber shop near my work that I would probably always go to since it would be convenient on my lunch hour. But I never have cash, so I never go there.

There’s one like that by me as well. The place has been around for as long as I can remember (at least 15 years), there’s typically one car in the lot (sometimes none). About once a week I’ll see 3 cars there and it’s not even during the lunch hour, it’s usually around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. That’s a place that I haven’t figured out yet. Maybe it is just a front for something. I’m in the food business and unless they’re getting backed by someone, there’s no way they could even afford the property taxes on the customers I see in the lot.

I know a girl that was complaining about this at a local gas station that she went to almost every day to get her pack of cigarettes. Thing is, she’s not so smart with money so in order to hit the minimum she’d by a lighter each day. I think she had about 15 lighters when she mentioned it to me and I told her that maybe it would be a better idea to buy two packs of cigarettes to hit the minimum instead of a pack and a lighter. :smack:

There’s a hardware store near here, not a chain store. They not only carry standard hardware store stuff, but have a variety of specialty items like springs and doodads and things. Their hours of operation - 9 am to 5:30 pm M-F, 9am to 4 pm Saturday.

Seriously? Only open during standard business hours, no concession to folks who work for a living? Except for Saturday, I guess.

Visa, Mastercard, and Amex have recently settled a lawsuit with retailers regarding merchant fees. Starting the end of this year, early next year merchants will be allowed to charge customers a fee for paying by credit card. My WAG is that it’ll be mostly small businesses and mom & pops that do as opposed to the large corporate chains (though all bets are off if we’re talking about ones that have their own credit cards).

We have a Napa Auto Parts that has an even tighter schedule then that. I think they may even close at noon or 2 on Saturdays and might even be closed on Sundays. You’d think a place that deals with people fixing their cars would want to be open when people get home from work.

OTOH, I think their main clientele is car dealerships, so they might not be all that concerned about the walk in business.

He’s probably a serious Christian, who thinks that his religion is more important than money.

A lot of the independent donut places around here are only open til noon.

We’ve got a pretty nice butcher shop right next to the mega grocery store that has the same inane hours (except even tigther - I wanna say 10a-5p weekdays and maybe open on Sat morning). They would have had thousands of dollars of business from me over the years if they were ever open when I was off work and doing grocery shopping.

These are the same places that complain that 24-hour Walmarts are putting them out of business.