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Real Deal

Real Deal: the Case of the Risque Business

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[dropcap cap=A]t first, the prospect of losing her top salesperson was  disconcerting to Starlight Fine Jewelry owner Connie Goodson. But then Connie began to appreciate the opportunity that might present itself with the addition of a new person and some new energy.[/dropcap]

Her core staff had been together for more than six years with no major changes, and Connie had begun to feel that the dynamic in the store was getting a little stale, even if business was great. Her husband, Jake, Starlight’s designer and craftsman, agreed that the store needed a dose of some new, creative energy.

The actual process of hiring a new person was something Connie and Jake dreaded. They never seemed to have the good fortune to stumble on a great salesperson just wanting to come to work for them, and even when they had come across an almost-acceptable applicant, the whole idea of actually conducting a worthwhile interview was frightening at best.

The first day Starlight’s help-wanted ad ran in the local online classifieds, Norah Evers was among the group of applicants to visit the store. She lived about 40 miles away with her soon-to-be ex-husband, and was looking to move to town. She wanted to find a job that would be challenging and fun, and since she’d always loved jewelry, the opportunity caught her attention.

Despite having no retail or other sales background, Norah was educated, well-spoken and accustomed to the finer things in life. Her resume was diverse, and her 10 years as a community college instructor clearly prepared her for dealing with a variety of people.

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Jake and Connie both felt that Norah had an ideal personality and a lot of potential. After two more visits and calls to references, Connie made an offer, and they agreed Norah would start in 10 days.

The Goodsons felt really great about the new hire. Everyone on the team had met and spent time with Norah and they were all looking forward to her joining the team.

Three days before Norah was scheduled to start in the store, Starlight’s office manager came into Connie’s office with a copy of an article she’d printed off of an Internet news service. It was about an entrepreneur who was in the process of buying a shopping plaza on the outskirts of town. The article identified the man as Justin Evers who, with his wife, Norah, owned several businesses, including

Just A Bite, a popular cupcake bakery, and a chain of highly successful adult novelty stores called “Imagine.”

As both Connie and Jake continued to read the article about zoning issues with the property, the one and only mention of Norah Evers became all they saw.

Surely this couldn’t be the same person with whom they were all so impressed. There was nothing about owning any businesses on Norah’s resume or on her application. Teaching college classes, riding horses, a brief stint as an accountant after college … but clearly nothing about adult novelties! All of her references raved about her, too — and no one mentioned anything like this!

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Connie could hear her mother’s words echoing in her ears: “Connie, if it looks too good to be true, you can bet that it is.”

[h3][b]The BIG questions:[/h3]  Should the type of business Norah owns play a role in Jake and Connie’s decision? Should they rescind their employment offer? [/b]

Editor’s note: Real Deal scenarios are inspired by true stories, but are changed to sharpen the dilemmas involved. The characters should not be confused with real people.

[span class=note]This story is from the November 2010 edition of INSTORE[/span]

[span class=alert]To be eligible for publication in INSTORE, responses must include your name, store name, and the city and state in which your store is located. [/span]

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