I'm constantly asked why I keep my store open on Xmas day. "Does anyone shop?" "Do you make any money?"
(Heavy sigh). They just don't get it.
I'm in business to make people happier. 1) Inspire clients to live better by making simple changes in their lifestyle. 2) Offer a fun shopping experience by encouraging guests to play, touch and engage all their senses in the store. (You break it, you say sorry). 3) Sell items that people actually need- better designed cutting boards, books that make you laugh and chocolate covered pretzels. 4) Make shopping convenient- have everything pre-wrapped; open early, close late; be open on Xmas for last minute gifts.
No matter how well you plan, there always seems to be someone on the list that you forgot. Or perhaps there's a last minute invitation or an extra guest. I open the store on Xmas for these gifting emergencies.
Each year I'm always able to "save someone's life."
I'd like to share this year's holiday tale and perhaps you'll understand why I do what I do.
On December 25, 2011 I posted on Facebook that I was in my store and that we would be open until 2pm. I received a phone call from an old friend, who I haven't seen her since high school, who read my post. She lives up north but has been in LA for the last few weeks sitting by her father's bedside in critical care at Cedars Sinai hospital. She and her sister take turns being with him. They lost their mother already to cancer several years ago.
She asks me if she could buy some gifts for her father to give to her sister when she comes to the hospital for her 1-5pm shift. Apparently, the sister didn't receive any gifts for Xmas and her dad wanted her to have something to open. She then asked if I wouldn't mind dropping the gifts off at the hospital. Of course not. Not a problem. Cedars is only a few blocks away from the store- will gladly do it after I close up.
So I go to the South Tower lobby to drop off the gifts as her father is in this wing of the hospital. The receptionist tells me that gifts must be dropped off at the North Tower. So I get back in the car and drive to the other side. I walk in the leave the gifts and the receptionist tells me that they are no volunteers working and she couldn't guarantee that the presents would make it to the room by 5pm. She suggested that I take them to the nurses' station on the 5th floor in the South Tower.
I drive back to the South Side and go upstairs. I walk over to the nurse and ask if I may leave the gifts. She says no and that I should deliver them directly to the room. Seriously?? I'm going to walk in on a father who just had a near death experience while he's spending precious time with his daughter? What else could I do?
I knock on the door and the sister answers. I remind her that I'm a friend of her sister's from high school and that I'm dropping off Xmas gifts that her dad had wanted her to have. She put her arms around me and sobbed. "My father is thinking of me, now??"
I cried too. How fortunate I was to be there for her! To be part of her realization of just how much she meant to her dad- how much he loved her.
So, to all those people who question why I'm open on Xmas day- this is why I'm open. To make people happier. To be part of the true spirit of the holidays. To know that I can make a difference.