I was recently out of town to appraise a very large collection. Unfortunately, I was not able to buy the collection.

After the appraisal, I stopped at a nearby shopping mall to grab a bite to eat for lunch in the food court. I knew there was a collectibles store in the mall, so I decided to stop in and see if they had any stamps. You never know.

The store had a typical array of comic books, old Matchbox and Hot Wheel cars, and other assorted memorabilia. There was even a section of coins. But no stamps.

Here is the interesting part. When I entered the store, three gentlemen were sitting in the center of several display booths. They were engaged in what looked like a small game of poker. I guess business was down. What was interesting is that when I entered the store, none of them paid any attention to me. They kept at their poker game because obviously I was “just browsing” and I probably wasn’t going to buy anything.

I hate annoying sales clerks who follow you around like a lost puppy. But I was expecting one of the workers to at least acknowledge my existence. A simple, “May I help you?” would have been sufficient. They never looked up from their cards. I hope they had a good hand.

Another customer drifted into the store – a woman in her 60s. They ignored her too. They kept right on playing poker.

I made my way through the store and found no stamps. I didn’t want to interrupt their poker game. I left empty handed. Note to the guys in this store: you don’t want to see a customer leave empty handed. You won’t be in business very long.

I mention this because I’ve had the same experiences at stamp shows when I was just a collector. Some dealers were very helpful and glad to have my business. A few dealers barely gave me the time of day.

While I don’t get to meet my customers in person, I try to treat everyone the same. How can I help you? What are you looking for? It’s called customer service. The guys working the collectibles store could use a good lesson in it. I bet you and I can think of some stamp dealers that need a good dose too.