28 Comments

  1. Sarge has been a violent ***hole to Beetle for years.

    But yeah I didn’t find any humor in this comic either.

  2. the “punch line” is that “my friend Mr. Lincoln” in my wallet is usually a nicer fellow, so the customer is adding injury to insult.

  3. I got a chuckle out of this, mostly due to the multiple twists: (1) the bribe is a penny, rather than $5 (2) it’s not a bribe at all.

  4. So, how would he react if customer just decked him to get in? And how is this physical assault meaningfully different? Why does the customer get away with this? Would he get away with it if he just pushed him aside? The protocol in place for physical assault is the protocol in place for physical assault — there was physical assault, enact the protocol… (Call the cops, call the manager, whatever it is.)

    Or should we devolve into a discussion that if the customers are so eager to get in, the business is leaving money on the table by not adjusting its operating hours?

  5. By that logic, larK, “the business is leaving money on the table” by not staying open 24/7. But there are also expenses involved in staying open, which is why they have closing times.

    This guy, if he’s allowed to shop rather than being arrested, will almost certainly end up costing Grumbel’s money.

  6. “So, how would he react if customer just decked him to get in?”

    Just lie there?
    Stores have rules for how employees are to react to criminal behavior, and it’s usually “don’t do anything unless it’s part of your job.”
    This is so because handling criminals incorrectly can create liability for the premises.

    There was a case last year of a store where they check your receipt at the door as you leave. Joe Customer didn’t want to submit to such a check, so the receipt-checker put a hand on his cart as he was leaving. Joe Customer rather violently pushed the checker out of his way. A warehouse employee happened to be there, and objected to the assault on the checker, and leveled Joe Customer with a roundhouse kick that caused significant damage to Mr. Customer’s knee.

  7. I only raised the alternative in jest, since usually any Retail comic posted devolves into the “customer is always right” / “the poor working slobs trying to make ends meet don’t deserve the idiot customers” debate, and in this case the customer is beyond a doubt being as arsehole, but since it’s you (not because it’s your blog, but because you usually fall into the other camp), I’ll play:

    a) maybe if it’s only this one customer, but if there are constantly customers wanting to shop at time X, and you don’t want to serve them at time X for reasons, then yes, there is money being left on the table (and by money left on the table, I mean profits, I mean after taking into account how much it would cost to be open at hour X, yadda, yadda). Either you do it, or someone will come along and do it. We got 7/11s for that reason, and then we also got supermarkets open 24 hours for that reason. There is money left on the table, either by charging more for the convenience of being open odd hours, or just leveraging your size and the fact that there will be people in the store stocking anyway, so why not hire a few more cashiers?

    b) you ever live in Europe, and try to buy anything on a Saturday after 12, or on a Sunday? Or try to get your banking / shopping / whatever done during your lunch break, when every other damn business is closed for its lunch break? The US has traditionally had a much more vibrant economy than Europe for mostly this reason alone.

    c) you ever try to look at furniture, new bathrooms, new kitchens on a weekend or after work? I don’t know what the perverse incentive is, but those types of stores are only open till 5 pm, and closed on weekends. Only idle trophy wives are shopping for tiles and bathtubs? It is ridiculous, and due for disruption (and is being disrupted by chains the likes of IKEA and Floor and Decor); though you might argue they found that you are a captive audience and will take time off from work if you really want that new bathroom. Conversely, I would argue they don’t know the untold millions they are leaving on the table by making it so damn hard to shop for a new bathroom — maybe there’d be a small boom in renovations if I could actually see and shop for the damn products!

  8. No matter HOW LATE you’re open, there is ALWAYS someone who has to shop at that last minute. When I worked retail and we were open ’til 10 p.m., inevitably someone would go into the dressing rooms (trying-on rooms) at 9:55 p.m., or start a layaway process at that time. Other than being open 24/7, as WallyWorld now is, and which was not heard of at the time (WW hadn’t come along to put us out of business yet, even tho we were a ‘big box’ store before they were named such), there is no ‘good time’ to close . . .

    . . . or open – in a previous life, I was the wife of a bar owner. If the bar wasn’t open right at 8 a.m., we’d get calls AT HOME to find out WHY my husband hadn’t opened the bar yet.

  9. Stores are constantly changing their hours based on various calculations. The supermarket down the block from us opened in June and has already had three different closing times.

  10. @ beckoningchasm:
    The problem is that there are still customers in the store, so there is at least one register still open. You can tell because it’s after closing time and there is someone guarding the unlocked door. Once all the customers leave, the door is locked and Donny would go to his usual after-closing clean up tasks.

  11. beckoningchasm: A lot of stores don’t kick people out at closing time. They let customers inside keep shopping for a while, and leave a register open to check them out, but don’t let new people in. The fact that Donnie is doing “door duty” indicates that they’re in such a period, since if everything was just shut down inside, they could just lock the door.

  12. I wish we could get a [It looks like the comment you are trying to write has already been finished by another, faster, commenter. Are you sure you wish to continue?] feature.

  13. Speaking as a one-time store manager, if some customer threw a penny at me or any of my employees, I’d be on the phone with the police before the coin hit the ground.

  14. @ larK – It depends on where you live. I know that shops in many small German towns close for lunch, and they roll up the sidewalks at 6pm, but there are places like that in America too (I went to college in one of them).
    I now live in a small suburban town outside Berlin, but none of the shops here close for lunch, and all of the supermarkets are open at least to 8 or 9 pm; two of them stay open until 10pm, and that’s including Saturdays.
    It’s true that everything shuts down on Sundays and holidays, but there’s nothing wrong with that, and it has little to do with the “vibrancy” of the economy. Expanding opening times has made it easier to buy things, but it does not increase the amount of goods that people can consume.

  15. This is my son’s main objection to Boston: having grown up in the NYC area, he can’t wrap his head around a city where they roll up the streets by 9 or 10.

  16. Just a disclaimer again that I seem to have been dragged into defending a position I only brought up in jest to begin with 😉 but…

    1) a) Things have changed in Europe in the intervening 30 years since my views were first cemented, and they have been “catching up” to the US a lot, but
    1) b) I was in Portugal recently, and they are still doing the closing for lunch bit, except for the post office, thank goodness;
    2) the US has the better economy for starting a business, and it was especially noticeable on the ground 30+ years ago, and is still noticeable, BUT…
    3) it comes at a price, and often it is a conscious choice NOT to pursue the economic good exclusively, especially in Europe: sure, they say, we could harvest all the bananas and sell them and make lots of money, but if all you want from that money is to buy a banana, then what’s the point? Quality of life counts for a lot more in Europe than it does in the States (and here is where my reluctance to fully support this side of the argument comes from — yes, there’s money being left on the table, but for goodness sakes, SO WHAT?? You live a good enough life, why do we have to maximize all possible profits?)
    4) Even in the US there is money left on the table — I live in a county that has so-called Blue Laws, which means businesses are closed on Sundays. I don’t think this law would survive a serious constitutional challenge, but nevertheless it survives, even though in the heart of the county is one of the biggest shopping meccas in the country, and chains are eager to have stores there, even though they will be closed on Sundays. When Amazon bought Whole Foods, we were in visiting Washington state listening to the local NPR station, and they reported, not from Seattle, not from Austin, not from New York, but from the Whole Foods 5 minutes from my house (although to be fair, Whole Foods gets to sell most of its stuff even on Sunday because there’s an exception for food); IKEA chose to open a store 5 minutes from my house, even though it is closed every Sunday. There is an enormous amount of money being left on the table, but apparently the towns are happy enough with the huge amounts of money the stores rake in 6 days a week to be happy to have a break from the traffic insanity one day a week to keep the Blue Laws in place, safe from any challenges all these years.

    So maybe the US is finally “catching up” to Europe…

  17. larK: Not sure if you meant that there was something specific about your Blue Laws that wouldn’t survive constitutional challenge, but the Supreme Court has already ruled that blue laws are generally constitutional (McGowan v. Maryland). The case is 50+ years old, but the tendency on the last 20 years has been to dial back Establishment Clause, not expand then.

  18. larK, if you’re referring to where I think you’re talking about, the Sunday closing law is (or at least was as of a few years ago) suspended between Thanksgiving and Christmas which seemed sort of hypocritical.

    But, you know, you don’t want to leave SERIOUS money on the table…

  19. Thanks WW; sadly I never got to a 1st Amendment class in law school; even though my Con Law was taught by “one of the country’s leading church-state scholars”, I’m ignorant of most 1st Amendment case law 😦 I’d agree with Douglas’ dissent in McGowan, but I see that that to me self-evident view point got outvoted…

    Bill: I think what happens is that they tend to look the other way at stores pushing the limits of the Blue Laws during the holiday shopping rush, but you’re not gonna see IKEA open on Sunday, even then… It’s stores that sell some food, so they tend to be open, or can be open, on Sunday anyway, that then just sell you anything in the store, which they’re not supposed to.

    I’m unaware of them ever having generally suspended the blu law, and I’ve lived here 18 years (but my memory is beginning to go…)

    And yeah, I agree it is HIGHLY hypocritical, but as you say, SERIOUS money is SERIOUS money…

  20. Minnesota finally allowed offsale alcohol on Sundays only last year. (Liquor stores near the Wisconsin and other borders wanted it, as did a majority of residents; liquor stores not near a state border mostly didn’t want the bother, and had a lot of clout with the legislature.

    At this point, I believe the only business here not allowed to be open on Sundays is automobile sales (and no, I don’t know why, except that ‘historically that’s how it’s been”).

  21. In the early 1970’s, I lived in NJ for half a year; imagine my surprise when one Sunday I went to Bamberger’s department store (remember those?), only to find that 1) yes, it was open; but 2) several departments were cordoned off. I had no idea why, no internet to Google, so I didn’t find out for quite some time WHY those departments were ‘out of bounds’.

  22. I remember that back in the 1960’s the Blue Laws in Massachusetts let you buy on Sunday beer but not milk, and Playboy magazine but not the Bible.

  23. The store I worked in while in college was odd. (Fortunoffs, LI for those who understand.) First it was two stores in one. When the parents left the store to the children each of the 3 children received full ownership of different departments. By the time I was working there, one brother was gone from the mix. So each “side” was run separately. I worked in fine jewelry (for the other brother).

    The rule was that we were not allowed to say that the store was closed. If a customer was still there half an hour after closing, a manager would come and talk to them. Now, this being jewelry we were all still there until the last customer left and we packed all the jewelry and it was taken to the vault (maybe vaults).

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