Dear Store Owner,

The weekend I moved to the town where I now live, I, with the Incredibly-Patient-Mother and Sibling-the-Elder, visited your store. It wasn’t a successful visit. What stock I could actually access was poor and the member of your staff I dealt with, your husband I believe, not only didn’t seem to know the product lines beyond what was in front of him but also I had the extremely uncomfortable feeling he was protecting the store and the other people in it from me.

Last I checked, I’m not considered particularly intimidating to anyone over the age of nine. But having the feeling I was unwelcome I left and found other places to shop. Places that didn’t shun me because I wasn’t a middle aged matron or retiree. I found a couple of people who spoke well of your shop but not an overwhelming voice that might persuade me to try again.

Today, after a morning of visiting other shops, yours was the last stop on the way back to work. It was necessitated by a work purpose, I can’t say I’d have bothered otherwise. You were polite but not welcoming. I could tell that based on your perception of my age you had written me off as someone unworthy of your notice, other than to get me out of your store quickly. You couldn’t even be bothered with the usual chit chat about the weather.

I was disappointed, I had hoped for more. As someone who works directly with children, I know the importance of acknowledging the young child as well as the adult. And if you’re willing to write me off because you assume that I’m too young, how might you treat someone who is truly in years still a child?

It is ultimately a financial loss for your store. I don’t have a huge amount of discretionary cash but I do shop with intent to purchase. Had I felt welcome, I would have returned to your store and, quite possible, spent a fair amount of money. I would have been happy to share that knowledge with others. And I come in contact with a lot of other people these days–public library and all that. Instead, I’ll be more than happy to steer them to other stores.

The “Kid” Who Had the Audacity to Walk in Your Door