Store #1: "Can I help you?" the minute we enter, interrupting my conversation with Audrey. I finish my sentence. "Can I help you," repeated, this time with more urgency.
"No, just looking."
Store #2: Walk into TINY store. Not greeted, or acknowledged. Employee on the phone. Ok, fine - something important. Continue to browse, having actually come in to potentially treat myself to an item of overpriced goods. Daughter and I peruse the jewelry, fighting with a display that stubbornly insists on falling over. Minutes pass... apparently there is an issue with the credit card machine and the woman is desperately trying to iron things out. Unfortunately for her, that means stepping outside several times, because the reception in all the stores on our main street is terrible. On no pass is our presence acknowledged. (Did I mention how small this place is?)
Crisis averted. I notice that a ring is missing from a display, price tag beside it ... potentially bad news. I take it to the employee.
"I actually noticed that earlier," she says.
I ask about a specific type of item. "Oh, they're all over," she says. I feel very "Julia-Roberts-in-the-boutique" a la Pretty Woman.
Store #3: I am greeted immediately. I am chatted to and given several freebies. My child is spoken to by the owner, directly, and engaged in an actual, back-and-forth conversation, cheerfully, and in addition to the other customers in the store. I spend over $50.
Store #4: Greeted, chatted. Allowed a seat to rest, gather thoughts, respond to a text message. Child welcomed and allowed to play with the owner's own child's playthings. Engaged in random conversation.
Guess where I'll visit again?
I vow, in the presence of you, dear reader; I shall never again darken the door of Store #1 OR Store #2. Ever.