Saturday, July 13, 2013

Feast or famine. All or nothing. Peaks and valleys.  Ever heard those phrases? After 24 years, we still find ourselves seeking balance - with our products, staff, time, and basically every aspect of operating a business that is weighted heavily with seasonal merchandise several times a year.

I generally order chocolate about every 10-14 days.  It seems like it all always comes in at the same time, and before I turn around, the cases look mostly empty.  Certainly not attractive to customers ;-(  
By the time I do inventory, place the orders, and the chocolates finally ship, we're out of others that need to be ordered.
Maurice does the general candy ordering, and he tries to order every single week.  Often when it comes in, many things are on back-order, and by then we're running low again on items we didn't order before because we had plenty, or so we thought.
Same with customers - we try to staff the store based on records from the past.  But it never fails that if we're short handed, we get bombarded with customers who actually have to wait in line for assistance.
On the other hand, if we've had a slow afternoon, we're likely to send one of our employees home for the rest of the day, and then we get slammed!  

Today (Saturday) Maurice & I split the day - I worked morning, he worked afternoon.  He said about 4:30 it was very slow, so he sent not one, but both of our afternoon workers home.  You guessed it...he got slammed!  And he was all by himself! Our customers are wonderful, and they waited for him.  He actually did about 25% of our daily sales today in that last hour, because of course customers come in right before closing, and we're not about to run them off!  He was on the way out the door to meet me  for dinner, when yet another customer called and needed a gift for an anniversary tomorrow.  You have no idea how difficult it was for Maurice to tell him he was sorry, that he had people waiting for him.   We NEVER want to disappoint anyone, certainly not a prospective new customer.
As much as we'd like to, we can't be fully stocked at all times. Nor can we count on a steady, perfectly paced stream of customers.  Although we sometimes feel we only go home to eat and sleep, we can't be 'on the clock'  24/7.  It's all about balance~delicate and often elusive.  Even after all these years, we sometimes have trouble maintaining it, but we'll continue to give it our best shot!  

Happy Weekend, friends!

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