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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 14th day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 141 > Articles > The Perfect Shopkeeper

The Perfect Shopkeeper

by resurrectedwarrior

YOUR SHOP - Throughout my travels in Neopia, I have found despite all the differences Neopians have, there is one thing almost all of them have in common. Shops! Whether they’re avid restockers or inexperienced newbies, almost everyone has something to sell. Restockers will line up for hours, waiting impatiently until the main shops restock, then buy up every item in sight for the sake of even a remote profit.

Guide after guide has been written concerning shops and restocking. How much HTML should you put in? What speed do you need to be a successful restocker? What backgrounds should you use? How many items should you put in your shop at one time? All these questions have been answered by respectable authorities numerous times.

However, there is one gaping hole in all the guides; a subject that must be seriously considered. I truly feel this is the most important aspect of a successful shop: Shopkeepers! Employees are the heart of any shop, whether size two or twenty. After all, nobody wants to be treated like a pile of dung by a snobby shopkeeper, do they?

Some shops may need more shopkeepers than others. A size 200 shop needs numerous faithful Neopets to stock the shelves and man the front desk, while a size 20 shop will need only a few employees. The more shopkeepers a shop owner employs, the more important it is to keep track of those Neopets. Are they courteous and kind? Do they treat people like Neopians rather than just some random customer they’ll never see again?

The following may be one of the most important tests you ever take (forget your Algebra test on Monday! Who needs it?!). It isn’t actually for you, per se, but for your Neopet helpers and shopkeepers. Are they doing their job well? Do they have a customer-friendly attitude? Run your employee in question through the test, and then tally their score at the end to see where they fall in the good-shopkeeper/bad-shopkeeper scales.

Remember, for the sake of simplicity, I have not included faerie and/or human references in this test. If you have a faerie shopkeeper, this test still applies - just mentally adapt the language (i.e. change ‘Neopet’ or ‘pet’ to ‘faerie’ or ‘human’) to fit the kind of shopkeeper you have!

1. Today has been an excellent day! You’ve managed to restock incredibly rare items, and are selling them at exorbitant rates. Despite your lousy prices, LOTS of people have flocked to your shop and are snatching up the items in a frenzy, ready to pay you the money you worked so hard to earn. There’s just one problem. The check-out line is so long, a few people have already thrown down their stuff and left. Approaching the front of the line, you find your shopkeeper:

1. Working as fast as it can to get the customers through the line. There are just too many customers!

2. Casually taking the customer’s money and chit-chatting with them as they work.

3. Painting it’s nails and glaring at the customers. “Hey! You can wait until my nails dry, can’t you?! Deal with it!”

2. Your employee was late today. Prompted by you for an explanation, it responds:

1. “I accidentally over slept – sorry!”

2. “I had to get a few things done before I came – it took a lot longer than I expected.”

3. “Aww, c’mon, you human! I’m here, ain’t I?”

3. If you can’t find your shopkeeper when it’s on duty, you can always find it:

1. Helping a customer around the store.

2. Grabbing a snack.

3. In the bathroom. Don’t ask.

4. You’ve finally decided to sell your collection of Cans of Prune Juice. Unfortunately for you, this collection consists of over 2,000 cans of juice. The perfect stacking nightmare! You decide to stack them all in two tall towers at the front of the store. However, as you’re about to complete your pruney tower, a Pteri customer flies into you, smashing you into the towers. *CRASH* You cry out for your shopkeeper to help you (and restack the towers). It:

1. Comes with a 1st aid kit in hand, ready to help in any way possible.

2. Comes with a broom and trash can to clean up the mess you made.

3. Rolls its eyes. “Hello! I’m supposed to be on break!”

5. You’ve purchased nearly 20 Quiguki dolls and are having your shopkeeper place them on the shelves. As the Neopet is stocking, you can hear it talking to itself:

1. “Yes!! It’s perfect!” As you come around the corner and glance into the aisle, you find your shopkeeper has perfectly aligned the Quiguki dolls and color-coordinated them with matching Usuki sets and Usuki dolls.

2. “Oh, you’re such a cute wittle Quiguki, yes you are! You don’t want to be up there on that nasty, cold shelf, now do you?” Suddenly curious, you round the corner and find the Neopet has made beds for the dolls – out of your Neopian Briefs. Now how in Neopia did it get ahold of those?

3. “And now, my green minions, we shall discuss our plans for the take-over of Neopia Central and the domination of all Neopia! Not even Doctor Sloth or his evil Lieutenant, The Plush One, can stand in our way! MWAH HA HA HA HA!!!!” Puzzled, you turn the corner and find your shopkeeper is giving a speech to an assembly of... inanimate Quiguki dolls... you decide to schedule your shopkeeper a counseling session with Roxy.

6. Finally, the end of the day has come! As you’re counting up the profits for the day, you look over to your shopkeeper and:

1. Ask for it to help you count up. After it worked so hard to help you today, it should be included in this task so it can see the ‘fruit of its works’.

2. See that it is extremely bored and send it home.

3. Sigh heavily. It already left!

7. You have finally been invited to make a presentation to a board of Usukicon representatives concerning a new Usuki design you’ve made. If they like your idea, your Usuki may well be one of the new Usuki dolls unveiled at their annual convention! As you pace around your store gathering everything you need, you realize a very important part of your presentation is missing – your Usuki doll prototype! Suddenly, you remember the last person who held the doll was one of your shop helpers. Frantically running over the helper, you ask the Neopet the all-important question, “Where did you put my Usuki doll?!!” The shopkeeper:

1. Grins. “It’s on your desk, silly!”

2. Thinks for a moment, then perks up, grabbing its backpack. It draws out a squished but intact Usuki doll – your prototype.

3. Stares blankly at you. “What’s an Usuki?”

8. Concerning breaks, you can depend on your shopkeeper to:

1. Enjoy breaks when it needs them, but skip them when it doesn’t.

2. Take any and every break for whatever reason, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

3. Not only take every break available to it, but extend said breaks by at least ten minutes.

9. Your shopkeeper has just had a very loud disagreement with a customer. Pulling the Neopet into your office, you reiterate the phrase, “The customer is always right.” The shopkeeper:

1. Sighs and nods, then apologizes to you and the customer (if it hasn’t already left).

2. Grumbles, stomps out, and takes a break to go get a manicure and facial.

3. Is still in a foul mood when it shouts, “The customer is NOT always right!! I am!!

10. You’ve decided to write a ‘theme song’ for your so your customers can better remember your shop. After working on the little ‘jingle’ for your store, you decide to let your shopkeeper listen to your song. Even though you can’t sing on pitch and your voice cracks in all the wrong places, you still manage to get the song out, “My store is the place to be, This I can guarantee, So come on down and give your money to meeeee!” After recovering from the shock of hearing your less-than-charming vocals, your shopkeeper:

1. Gently tries to talk you out of it. “Umm... maybe we should just stick with the non-singing greeting. I think the customers might get... um... scared if they have to listen to that while they shop.

2. Praises you. “OMG, you should sing with Chomby and the Fungus Balls!! I mean, your voice is SO great! Who wouldn’t want to listen to your awesome voice while they shop?!”

3. Falls over laughing.

Okay, hopefully you kept track of which answers the shopkeeper in question would have done, because now you need to add them up! Compare what your shopkeeper scored with the scale below:

10-15 - Your shopkeeper is perfect for the job! Try to have this Neopet around as long as possible – they don’t come along all that often!

15-25 - Well... your shopkeeper is somewhat responsible (though a bit of an airhead). It still has a few quirks to work out, but at least they make things interesting!

25-30 - Woah! Look out!! Your shopkeeper needs some serious work with that attitude! If it doesn’t straighten out soon, you may need to start looking for a replacement.

Author’s notes: I hope you have found this test useful in evaluating your shop staff. Special thanks to my mom, Gabrielle0077, for proof-reading and giving much-needed constructive criticism, Dogzruleyeah330 (and Mom, too!) for helping me with the scoring system, and Chanjona for giving me the idea for this test!

Just in case my links didn’t work, you can find additional advice on shops by reading:

“Decorating Your Shop Wisely” By starsnsparks – Issue 6

“Restocking Is For You!” By crystalsoul – Issue 124

“Overdoing Your Shop” By simsman24000 – Issue 80

Any and all constructive criticism and suggestions are welcome! Thanks!

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