This Holiday Season, Just Say No to the Nopey's

Not to date myself or anything, but back when I was a kid I used to love watching Gumby and Pokey. The stop-action claymation was cool to look at and the stories were always fun. But little did I know that the show would also eventually influence my business philosophy in a big way.

Gumby and Pokey had another friend, a dog named Nopey. No matter what you asked of Nopey, his answer was always the same: No! “Hey Nopey, wanna go to the park and play fetch? No!” “Hey Nopey, come on, let’s take a walk. No!”

Unfortunately, Nopey is not just a figment of the creator’s imagination. All too often, we all encounter our own Nopey’s as we work our way through life and business. Think about that guy on the phone that you dealt with that time who made the phrase “customer service” an oxymoron. What about the retail clerk who refuses to accommodate your simple request, simply because it is a little out of the ordinary?

Nopeys all. Nopey employees love to say no. It gives them some strange sense of power. It is almost as if withholding the information that you need or otherwise not helping you is some sort of badge of honor.

There are all sorts of reasons a business might employ a Nopey employee, but none of them are good:  

  • The owner doesn’t care. The problem here is, customers do.


  • The owner doesn’t know. The problem here is, customers do.


  • The employee thinks he or she is indispensable. They shouldn’t be.

In any business climate, a Nopey employee is a danger to a small business, but especially in the economic environment we are in now, and especially it being the holidays. Employing a Nopey in any capacity where they deal with the public is a danger to a small business because there is less room for error.

Look, people are starting to shop again, but the truth is, they have choices. They could buy just as easily buy from the store down the street as they could from you. They could shop online and save money. They can buy something else altogether. And they will if they encounter your Nopey.

Anyone who enters your business is gold and should be treated as such. If you have a Nopey employee, just say no.

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