ReTale – from the Founder’s Diary.

This is about my experience with a customer. It happened nearly a decade ago when I’d been in retail just for a few months. 

A lady ventured in to our store when our physical store was located in Besant Nagar. We later moved to a more central location before moving to an even more convenient location where we are now at – i.e., 😊

She seemed a bit distracted and not too keen on our products. Although I gave a formal introduction to Chennaigaga and welcomed her, I soon fell silent because she wouldn’t make eye contact nor show interest in my presentation. 

To be frank, I began to despair a bit, but tried my best to appear ‘normal’. Usually, when customers walk into our store -- especially since we were on the first floor on a crowded street, it would be because they were either curious and interested, or were sure that the visit was worth their time and effort. They would, in fact, be looking for gifts or Chennai themed T-shirts and souvenirs.  

The lady took a seat in a corner. I’ve always believed that seated shopping is an absolute relief for many a tired pair of feet! Also, we had customers of all ages gracing us with their long and leisurely visits. 

As I watched the lady sink into the chair with a sigh, I became even more puzzled, but at no point have I been a fan of abandoning common courtesy. So, I asked her if she was alright. She replied ‘yes’ and continued to be deep in thought. 

I pondered this behaviour silently, though I felt a bit alarmed. I said “ok Madam, please let us know if you need anything” and retreated to my small office at the back. But I kept a beady eye out since I was new to retail and so was the assistant (who also looked confused). 

She remained quiet and seated in a pensive mood for a whole 5 minutes. You know how long 5 minutes can be when you feel worried or anxious? It easily feels like 6 times the actual amount of time! 

I called my assistant in and told him to just chill and let things be for a while.

And then, she got up and began looking through the T-shirts and other products. She started to shop. I have to say my jaw dropped. She bought at least 30-40 items from our store! If I remember right, she shopped in excess of 20 T-shirts, plus other souvenirs and gifts! 

I was terribly taken aback and immensely grateful. It had been a slow week.

She was so unassuming, didn’t ask for a discount, was appreciative of everything including our service, and left as quietly as she had come in. 

I learned a lesson that day.