Help! There’s a Gorilla in My Booth!


Years ago, Samsonite had an ad campaign involving a gorilla. The ad implied that airport luggage attendants were extremely rough on luggage (imagine that!) and that the only luggage that would in fact hold up to this deliberate mistreatment was Samsonite luggage. Enter the aforementioned gorilla, playing the role of the luggage attendant in the ad.

So what does the Samsonite Gorilla have to do with the Quilt Market?

Believe or not the Samsonite Gorilla, or at least one who was disguised at an attractive young lady came into my booth not long after the opening bell of the Fall Quilt Market. She didn’t say hi… she didnt even make eye contact with me… She just made a beeline straight for one of our Wrapsody samples. No big deal. Lots of customers just want the opportunity to check out our samples. They want the opportunity to open all the zippers and see how deep all the pockets are. Some even want to see if their items will fit inside and how the bag will hang with weight inside. All normal behaviors. No problem as far as I’m concerned.

But this customer was different. She opened the bag as wide as possible and immediately began to jab her index forcefully into the bottom corner of one of the inside zippered pockets. I was horrified. Instinctively I placed my hand over hers and our bag and told her, “Please stop that”. (I’m sure my voice was an octave higher than normal.)

She was TOTALLY unfazed. Immediately she began explaining that she needed to see if the pockets were stitched completely to the bottom of the bag. In other words, she didn’t want to see a gap of any size between the bottom corner of the pocket and the side of the bag wall, which is a legitimate question… BUT…. before I could address her concern (and before I could stop her), she began pulling the sides of our bag open as wide as possible, thrusting her thumbs up from the bottom of the bag in what I was sure was an attempt to turn it inside out. With this she proudly made the pronouncement that she had found a “flaw in our design”. I was slack-jawed. I swear I could feel my bottom jaw come unhinged.

Now, had I been given the opportunity to speak, I would have told this young gal that the zippered pockets ARE NOT stitched to the side wall of the bag completely from top to bottom. First of all, its not possible to do, and secondly, its just not necessary. As a matter of fact I’m so sure of this that you’ll see this statement in our instructions. “Make no attempt to stitch THRU bias tape or to the bottom of wrapped Wall.”  There’s just no way  that your stored items are going to somehow migrate between the pocketed  storage areas…. unless of course you push them with your thumbs. Hmmmm……

So… what did I do next?

I told her…after my mouth snapped shut that is, to “STOP THAT“… quite forcefully as I recall. But this gal was undaunted. She started qualifying herself as a big fan, an ardent newsletter regular and a major buyer of our patterns as if this somehow entitled her to abuse our sample in this way. She also said she simply needed to know what design flaws were present so she could decide whether to conduct a class on the Wrapsody.  The last thing I remember saying to her was something to the effect, “What if EVERYONE treated our samples like that?” She left shortly thereafter, but you know what? I honestly don’t think she had a clue how upsetting and disrespectful her behavior was. Truth be known, I still get upset when I think about what she did.

And now… it’s YOUR turn!

I would REALLY love to hear your take on this? Was I just being over-protective? Do you think customers have a legitimate right to treat someone else’s property in this manner and how would YOU have handled this situation had you been in my shoes. I’m looking forward to a lively discussion about this topic, so please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions in the space provided below.

And don’t forget, we actually LOVE questions and comments too, so please feel free to share your! And if you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it via FaceBook or Twitter!


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