Open for business, but we don’t want your money.

Open for business, but we don’t want your money.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at



Open for business, but we don’t want your money.

My two nieces, Carrie (22) and Lisa (21) went shopping at the mall. Lisa was visiting from Salem Oregon, and wanted some presents to take back to the family.

They went into Dillard’s Department store. When they got to the jewelry area, a woman (clerk) was talking on the phone about her kids or grand kids. Meanwhile the girls were looking around trying to find what they came for. Lisa spots a necklace that she wants to try on.

As she starts to pull the necklace off the rack, and out of nowhere a different lady appears. Lisa decides that it’s perfect. They all go up to the counter to purchase and pay. Lisa hands over her debit card. When the clerk tries to process it, she turns to Lisa and with a frown says, “Would you like to try paying with something else, your account is closed.”

Lisa says there should be no problem with this card. The clerk lady says that a “code 30” has appeared and that means “account closed,” and that Lisa should call her bank. Lisa says that she will go and call her bank, and asks the lady to put the necklace on hold for her. The lady said that there were plenty of necklaces and that she would just put it back (nice touch).

Lisa goes to find a phone, calls the number on the back of the card and everything checks out fine. Lisa then goes to an ATM and withdraws $100 in cash, just to verify it herself. No problem.

Lisa and Carrie walk back to Dillard’s with a renewed determination to buy. They arrive to find the two clerks chatting away. Lisa says that she would like to buy the necklace. The lady walks over to the display and pulls a necklace from the display. Lisa confirms that it was the same necklace that was suppose to be on “hold” for her.

Lisa hands the frowning clerk her card, saying that she just removed money from the account, and there was no problem. Well, now they have attracted the lady that was originally on the phone when we entered the store. They run the card through and the same “code 30” problem occurs. The clerk lady asked, “Are you sure you have money in the account? Because when code 30 comes up, it usually means that you have no money.”

Lisa again says that she just pulled out 100 dollars. She asked the clerk if there was any way to call the bank and verify funds and guess what the clerk said she had no authority to do that (what a surprise). The clerk ladies, determined not to let Lisa buy anything or spend her money in any way (which the last time I checked, was pretty much the purpose of retail stores), say that Lisa probably has a daily limit on what she can buy. Another wonderful and condescending insult.

Where does the Dillard training department come up with these gems? Or do they just empower their clerks to insult customers in their own creative way.

Lisa assures them that she has no limit. The clerks decide to look up in a manual what a code 30 actually means. The lady with the grand kids says that she can’t override the code. They don’t have the “authority.” Lisa later told me she felt like the Dillard’s people were looking at her like she was a child that had no idea what was in the account, and was trying to pull a fast one.

My nieces finally leave Dillard’s with no necklace, and never wanting to go back.

But Lisa was wanting to try her card somewhere else, just to see her status. They go into Rack Room Shoes. Lisa picks out a purse and tries to use the debt card. Same problem. Only this time the clerk (a friendly person) immediately says that another customer had the same problem earlier. So the clerk took it upon herself to call in the transaction to Lisa’s bank. She informs us that it was not going through because the bank was having trouble processing. Lisa says that’s okay, pays with cash, and thanks the lady for trying to call it in. The clerk smiles and says, “No problem, I never trust the computers.”

Three good lessons in sales and service:

1. Help the customer buy don’t chase them away. Figure out what you can do, and start with that.

2. People like doing business with people who are friendly and helpful.

3. When the transaction is complete, that’s when the customer STARTS talking and what they say is predicated on the words and actions of the person who served them (or not).

And a three word warning to Dillard’s: Nordstrom is coming.

That would have been the story except for one thing. When my nieces came

home and told me what happened, I was upset that Lisa’s impression of

business in our town was unfriendly so I called Dillard’s and asked to speak to the general manager of the store. Next week the best is yet to come stay tuned for management in action…

FREE GitBit …Want the three secret words of positive engagement when a complaining customer calls?” I’ll throw in three success strategies for hiring a winning team. Just go to click FREE STUFF then GitBit register and enter the secret words, “SECRET WORDS”.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlottebased Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/3331112 or email to

1999 All rights reserved Don’t even think about reproducing this document or it’s contents without

the written approval of Jeffrey Gitomer or Buy Gitomer 704/3331112