Saturday 2 June 2018

How to succeed in retail: don’t be The Boss Erratic; she's rubbish

Let me tell you a story.

A story of carelessness, denial and delusion. Of negligence, irresponsibility and stupidity.

Sadly, this story is true; based on actual, eye-witness accounts and testimonies.


To tell this story effectively, I must be in character. So let me get into character…


………………….Hello. I’m TBE (aka The Boss Erratic).

I am the hero of the high street! The champion of the independent shop! And, depending on your perspective (which, if it differs from mine, is wrong), a world class skiver.

Original photo: NDE, Pixabay

Today I am going to tell you how I spend my day here, in the Out Of Favour (OOF) shop:

I love owning a shop! I love working in the shop! It’s so important to keep independent high street shops up and running these days, because high street retail is in a really difficult place. Boo!!

OK, so technically the shop didn’t actually open at all yesterday, but that was for an absolutely genuine reason: I just really couldn’t face it. Or couldn’t be bothered. I can’t remember which.

Woah! There is so much to do before the shop opens every day at 10am! Get change from the bank, buy milk from the supermarket (unless the out-of-date milk in the fridge passes the sniff test), and collect more of our special ‘hand-baked’ cookies. (He he….nobody knows this – except everyone I tell - but the cookies are really bought from the supermarket up the road. It’s not cheating – in fact, we’re being absolutely truthful: they are ‘locally sourced’ cookies after all….)

Just before doing all that boring stuff I'll quickly pop into the gift shop around the corner to have the briefest of chats with Lady Society Horse Chops, who’s working there today.

Oh dear! I’m still happily chatting with Lady Society Horse Chops, despite knowing I should have opened the OOF shop twenty minutes ago. How naughty I am! I tell Lady Society Horse Chops exactly how naughty I am, and throw in a girlish giggle for good measure. Immediately I feel better about the whole thing. So I stay for another twenty minutes.

I open up the shop. Annoyingly, there are bags of local supplier stock all over the shop floor – exactly where I left them two days ago. I get rid of them by throwing them carelessly carefully into the back hall, meaning I have to walk all over them each and every time I need to reach the loo. Stupid local suppliers.

O.M.G!!! People I vaguely know have just walked in! I squeal loudly enough to scare small children in Guatemala and run at them for the obligatory bear hug. I can’t remember their names or how I know them, but I talk at them excitedly for a full twenty minutes, which they love! Hanging out in a shop is great!

Original photo: NDE, Pixabay

Phew! It’s been a busy morning! So I’m just going to shut the shop for five minutes and nip up the road to buy some lunch: I deserve it. The dog could also do with the briefest of walks (oh yes; my dog sits under the counter at work with his lead tied to a chair leg. What do you mean, unfair? I love dogs! I am a dog lover! I am a lovely person! Your opinion clearly differs from mine – so it’s wrong. And you’re nasty. And you probably don’t really love dogs at all).

Well, I suppose I should really head back to the shop and open up again. It’s not a good idea to rush though; because then I’d break into a sweat and scare the customers! That would be bad for business! Oooo, I hope I make lots of lovely money today. Owning a shop is great!
There are no customers here, so I think I’ll just nip into the back of the shop to have my sandwich. I think it’s a very good idea to flip the ‘closed’ sign on the shop door for the duration. After all, I don’t want someone to walk in whilst I have a mouthful of cheese and onion, do I?! That would just be embarrassing – and it wouldn’t be good for the shops’ reputation for professionalism at all!

What a lovely lunch! I suppose I should flip the ‘open’ sign back over now. Just another five minutes…

Goodness! What a busy midday rush! I’ve worked really hard so far today, but now the dog needs a pee, so I’ll just pop the ‘closed’ sign on the door, grab my purse and shopping bags and wander onto the grass opposite to let him do his business. It’s always best to keep alert when doing this because the local vicar, who, technically, is responsible for this bit of grass (it being the manicured lawn around the church and everything), might catch me, and that would never do: it might harm the reputation of the shop - and as every hardworking small retail business owner knows, having a good reputation for your shop means everything!

Actually, now I’m out, I do need to pick up a few bits of shopping. It’s lucky I have my purse and my shopping bags with me!

How odd! People are giving me very strange looks! These are people I know! They are local retailers, just like me. They are staring at me from their shops as I gaze leisurely at their window displays. They should be glad I’m looking at their merchandise. After all, it’s a very thin line between success and failure for high street shops these days. They should be careful. And anyway, it’s not as though these two huge bags full of shopping allow me to walk very quickly, is it?

The shop is open again and I’m ready to work! Oh, but those pastries I bought earlier are calling me… I might just have to have one as an afternoon snack. I’d better flip the ‘closed,’ sign over for a bit. After all, I don’t want someone to walk in whilst I have a mouthful of iced bun, do I?! That would just be embarrassing….

Pastry eaten, ‘open’ sign flipped back over, and I’m all yours! Come on customers! Owning a shop is great! I love earning my own money!

I’m so bored. The shop has been very quiet today. I do hate it when customers don’t seem to appear. I don’t understand it; look at all the lovely stock we have. This just isn’t fair, so I’m going to make a bargain with myself: if I don’t see any customers for the next hour or so, I’ll lock up early and leave at ten to five; I’m so naughty!

Original photo: NDE, Pixabay

Yikes! I’ve had two customers in the last half an hour! I’m exhausted! I definitely need to book myself a massage. I’ll just need to flip the door sign to ‘closed,’ so I don’t get disturbed halfway through the phone call – because being discovered on the phone booking a massage would be so embarrassing! And it wouldn’t look good for the shop!

Thank goodness the massage place had a slot. Yes, I know it’s for tomorrow at 11am, but it won’t matter if the shop is closed in the morning just this one time, will it? And it’s really worth it: there’s a spa there too. Actually, thinking about it, it seems silly not to take full advantage of the facilities and have a bit of a spa day - after all, the shop is going to be closed until lunch time anyway; it’ll only be a few more hours until the end of the day….there’s hardly any difference really. And it’s been so quiet today, so it’ll probably be quiet tomorrow too.

Right, that’s it, I’m off! I’ve had a really full day, and its obvious no more customers are coming today. Besides, my head is now full of daydreams of my spa day tomorrow, and it  would be just plain embarrassing to have a customer walk in whilst I’m mid-daydream – and probably really bad for the reputation of the shop!

Original photo: NDE, Pixabay

I love being a small retail business owner! I love running this shop! I love working for myself! OK, takings are down a bit, but that’s due to the online shopping effect, isn’t it? If customers behaved differently this shop would be a huge success!

Yay! I like the idea of being a success! Now, where’s the lavender oil?


  1. OMFG we are all guilty of self-delusion but this is taking it to expert level! Cringe! :-)

  2. Lol, just like a boss ... it's ok if she takes a little longer break, ok if she takes many breaks ... but not ok if you do that...

    but just wondering, where are you when it all happened? You working with her in there?