No Clipboards Here
Let's say you're out running errands and can find what you need at either of two stores. Both are well stocked and conveniently located, and both offer plenty of parking—but there's one critical difference.
At Store A, you can walk right in and do your shopping; at Store B, however, the chances are good you'll have to pass the person by the front door asking you to sign a petition, donate to a homeless shelter or buy an overpriced box of cookies for a fundraiser. All things being equal, you'd choose Store A, right?
People who promote causes near the entrance to your retail space make customers uncomfortable and could be costing you business you can't afford to lose right now. If you're dealing with this problem, you might take inspiration from one store in Newport Coast, California, that empowers its shoppers in no uncertain terms.
Under the heading Your Right to Distraction Free Shopping, flyers posted to checkout counters read: "Out of respect to our customers, Trader Joe's does not permit any solicitation near the front of our stores, regardless of the issue. Please feel free to ignore anyone with a clipboard or folding table, without any feeling of guilt whatsoever."
The Po!nt: By absolving its customers of the guilt and awkwardness associated with declining a solicitation, Trader Joe's has made a cakewalk of the special-interest gauntlet.
Source: Trader Joe's.
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