:: Hoboken :: How to lose local customers

I like to shop local because I think it is important to contribute to the local economy and build relationships. While the prices may be marginally higher, I will gladly attribute it to a more personalised / attentive service. I, however, also believe in swings and roundabouts. 


Yesterday, we went to a local shop to check out the Stokke Steps fully ready to purchase. The service we received was average at best. The staff (maybe owner) didn’t know the products. Mr. P, who watched a YouTube review the night before, ended up showing her how to open, close and adjust the bouncer. He then proceeded to demonstrate how to fit the bouncer onto the highchair.


First misstep – lack of product knowledge. While i understand that there are so many products in the market and no one could truly know every single one, we are talking about a $200 bouncer here (FP bouncers cost like $50). It’s new in the market and if you are in the business of high(er) end baby products, then please watch the damn YouTube video, especially since I called 2 hours in advanced to say we are coming in to look at it. 


At this point we had to take C for lunch and of course to discuss if we were buying local or getting it shipped free of taxes from out of state. We decided to go local if they would waive the taxes. Mr. P was also ready to buy the 6m+ kit and tray table as well (I was against it since we don’t need it now).


Mr. P circled back to the shop after lunch while I took C home for a nap. The lady came up with a few valid reasons indicating that her hands are tied with the Stokke pricing given that the Steps is pretty much a new product. We completely understand. First she offered free shipping and assembly. Erm, yeah we live in a square mile, even I can pick up the stuff from her shop (10 min walk away). And assembly? You mean sticking the legs into the chair – oh wow rocket science. She finally said the best she could do was a $30 store credit to reduce the tax impact  ($33.50).


Personally, I believe she could have done more. If we are ready to spend $199 for the bouncer, $279 for the high chair, $99 for the 6+ kit, could she not have offered to throw in the $49 tray table for free? I bet you it doesn’t even cost her $30 for that plastic tray. Why is it a sticking point with me? I believe in goodwill; I like to feel like I am getting a deal from my nice, local boutique. I mean c’mon I managed to get a yet-to-be-released pram at F&F pricing, you couldn’t even throw in a tray table?


In any case, we decided to get the whole set from Baby Earth, a boutique based out of Texas. We don’t pay any tax, get free shipping and I get 5% BE bucks to offset against future purchases. I guess I am still buying local and supporting small businesses in a way; just someone else’s local baby boutique.


P.S. I actually had below average experience when inquiring about the Babyzen a couple of months back with her. I am so not sold on the shop.



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