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Who has ever heard of restrictions on shopping?

Original post made by Katie, Old Palo Alto, on Aug 27, 2007

My mother and I attended the Palo Alto art festival yesterday and had such a great time. The music was great, the art, the chalk drawings. Plus the crowds weren't too huge so that was nice.

We did however have one tiny hiccup which was unfortunate. There is a clothing store that appears to have no name but is next to Elite Cleaners and Cingular. They had big signs in the windows saying 50% off everything. So of course we were excited.

Before we entered, we noticed a note on the doorknob which said that you could only enter if you were willing to spend ten minutes in the store and were serious about trying on clothes or shopping. Well...how would we know if we were going to try on clothes, if we couldn't look through the store?

Within two steps of entering the store, the manager or owner, I'm not sure who she was - she came over and told us we couldn't shop unless we were willing to seriously shop. As she put it, this was a boutique store and she didn't wnat to have so much foot traffic dilute the store business.

We were immediately turned off by her attitude and behavior. And so we left. We stood around in disbelief at what had just happened. I have lived in Palo Alto for over 20 years and have never encountered this before at a store.

I would think that during a weekend when people are downtown for the festival, shopowners would in fact be grateful for all of the visitors and customers.

As we stood there, other people attempted to go in and they were also turned off by the sign or turned off by the owner/manager.

I can't believe that Palo Alto would allow this store to reside downtown. It's not good business for its residents nor visitors.

Comments (12)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2007 at 11:02 am

Never actually heard of it before, but I did work in a store many years ago which was open during a similar festival and it was terrible. People came in and out who obviously had no intention to buy and would take things off shelves and racks and put them anywhere but the right place. Sometimes they came in with food or drink in their hands, often having sticky hands themselves and also with toddlers and children with very sticky hands.

Yes, there were more customers and sales did go up, but not by as much as one would think. The downside was that the store was a mess and took hours for the staff to get back to normal and often merchandise was soiled and had to be thrown out.


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Posted by I don't shop boutiques, anyway.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2007 at 11:33 am

well, I think that "not allowing" such a store would be completely contrary to who we are as a country..

there are some people who like this sort of thing, and some who don't.

The market will decide.

It seems that if the owner were concerned, she would have been better off just keeping her store shut over the week-end, or have a "call for appointment" sign


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Posted by Anamika
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2007 at 12:20 pm

I see the point from the store owner's aspect - but I do not agree with her implementation ! It is totally against who we are as a country.

If the sales do not go much higher during this time - then they should just keep the store closed for the day.


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Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Aug 27, 2007 at 2:06 pm

If you were interested in shopping there, what is the problem?

If you're saving 50%, is it a requirement that people treat you nicely?

What are your priorities, saving money or being treated nicely?


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Posted by Lisa M
a resident of University South
on Aug 27, 2007 at 3:12 pm

The store is Shaska and don't think you're the only one who had a bad experience. It's gotten a bad rep among other people, I'm amazed it's still in business.


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Posted by Jessica
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 27, 2007 at 6:26 pm

The owner is a prickly woman; I've been in the store a few times and it's always been a very uncomfortable experience due to her demeanor and attitude. I now refrain from going there because I would rather not interact with her, though I have found some nice things there on the occasions that I've entered to shop.


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Posted by joyce
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 28, 2007 at 2:54 am

This reminds me of going into a store in Los Altos awhile back. I had picked out a bunch of things and taken them to the counter (I was spiffing up the living room, long overdue), and the apparent owner had me standing around interminably as she chatted with a friend on the phone. A couple of minutes I could have understood, or if it was a serious conversation. Finally I left and never returned. It must be nice to be in business and not care if you make sales or not.


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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 28, 2007 at 9:39 am

The store does not deserve to be in business.

If you don't want customers coming in during a fair, then close your doors to everyone.

I would think that a fair, bringing in new potential customers, would be a great way to showcase your garbage.


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Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Aug 29, 2007 at 11:52 am

Some people run a store for self-satisfaction, not money.


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Posted by O the horror
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 29, 2007 at 6:45 pm

Katie says "I can't believe that Palo Alto would allow this store to reside downtown. "
I can't believe Katie is so naive and self centered, she writes to the world because, O, the horror of it! she met a rude shopkeeper. The city should come to the rescue! Call
911, someone!!
The lady doesn't want hundreds of people trooping through her store because they will likely spoil some of the merchandise. If you watch some women in stores, they mess up the piles of neatly folded items and leave the place as though a tornado went through it. The crowds at a fair sometimes mess up the merchandise, and sometimes, o, the horror! they even steal when no one is looking.
So this would make a good story at the dinner table or talking to friends, but I don't think we need to call in the army just yet.


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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 30, 2007 at 12:47 pm

Chris: You are 100% correct. Long story short, I and two others in my book club were having a conversation about terrible customer service in MP and PA. When one store came up in Downtown MP, the other said, "Oh, that's Atherton." Because she used "Atherton" as a noun, I asked her what she meant. She replied, "Atherton is a store that is run without concern of profit. They, most likely residents of Atherton, operate solely to give the owners something to do." She, as a next door neighbor of one store owner, knows first hand what the purpose of a few stores in Downtown MP are for.

Wouldn't you know it? The two stores she mentioned had the worst customer service that I have ever experienced. All of us do not patronize those stores.

Now, on to this topic... I **SERIOUSLY** doubt that the store in this topic is an "Atherton" store. I must say that ANY store, whether for profit or indifferent to profit, has the duty to put customers first. Owning and operating a store is not without risk! Every store, from Wal-Mart on down, experiences theft, people messing up neat piles, and whatever. It is part of doing business. Unless you are an invitation only store, you should not treat people like you are doing them a favor by owning the store.

It has been a long standing fantasy of mine to have people compare notes on customer service and actively boycott bad stores. Maybe it is just me, but if someone is giving you money (or might), then you cater to them. Not the other way around.

O the horror: You are taking this too far. No one is calling 911. It is not a crime to have bad customer service (I wish that weren't the case though). I have absolutely NO sympathy for stores that end up with "messy piles" because that is what comes with the territory. Sure, some people are slobs and don't care about anything. Some have decencies.

While this is probably not going to happen, PA and MP should evaluate the performance of these types of stores as they, unfortunately, represent the sum and not just themselves. It looks bad if store owners are the types mentioned above.


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Posted by barbara
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 6, 2007 at 11:21 am

I saw this store last week. There is a sign on it with a phone number to make an appointment to shop there. She should just close her store if she doesn't want the walk-in business. Or board up the windows, perhaps? Maybe move it to Hamilton or somwhere with less foot traffic. After all, University is such a great, high-profile place for business, why ever would she want to have her store there?


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