Don’t flaunt your shopping bag

A ‘fan’ who follows my activities and content on social media emailed me recently.

She told me that she had followed me for a long time, loved what I did online, loved the helpful content I put out and she was looking for some advice for a first time buyer.

When she clarified that she had gone sale agreed on a purchase, paid a booking deposit and had finance arranged I assumed she had appointed a solicitor. And she confirmed this when I enquired.

My initial response was, “you have some neck”. But she was not from Ireland and may have misunderstood this essentially Irish saying. So, I checked myself and debated internally as to what advice I should give.

Should I give any? Should I simply delete her email? Should I continue giving her free advice even though she had appointed someone else for the paid work?

There is a small town Irish thing, perhaps it applies elsewhere in the world, maybe not.

But many would be reluctant to buy something in a particular type of shop and then go into a competitor shop flaunting the bag from the first shop.

At its most basic maybe the reason for this is the willingness to disappoint the other small retailer by making it quite obvious that you made your purchase from a competitor.

Perhaps it is something as simple as avoiding the perception of rubbing the guy’s face in it.

But it is a gesture of generosity and sensitivity and anyone who has made a living in retail understands the feeling in the pit of the stomach when it becomes clear that you have lost the sale to a competitor.

Disappointment, self-doubt, even fear are sentiments felt, depending on the business and how often the scenario is experienced.

It is difficult to see how my ‘fan’ could not see this. But maybe it is a small town retail thing unique to Ireland.

I doubt it.

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