So I’m in a sex shop today, because that’s the kind of thing I do on a Tuesday morning. (And they ask me why I work for myself.)

It’s fairly new, and it’s one of those women’s only deals that markets nice things, not sleazy things. Body balms, belly dancing costumes, very lovey dovey. It’s a good idea, and from what I can tell, business is going gangbusters. (Do things “go gangbusters” or do they “do gangbusters”? Is “gangbusters” really a word I should be using when discussing sex shops?)

So I go in and it’s all pink lighting and nice displays and there is a zero sleaze factor. There’s even a sign on the door that says, very politely, that they don’t sell novelty items so don’t even ask. Everything is going well. My could-be shopping experience is all good.

There is a charming little dog that comes up and sniffs my shoes and then goes back to biting his chew toy. There is a woman behind the counter talking to someone on the phone. The person she’s speaking to appears to be her girlfriend. She says the F-word a lot, but in a nice way, like I do.

By all accounts, this is the kind of a place I wouldn’t mind shopping.

So I head over to the books, the DVDs, the massage oils. There are even locally made massage balms that come in 100% post-consumer recycled tins. What more can you want in a sex shop? I mean, really!

I pick up a set of three of these little balms, very much like the Body Butters that you buy at the Body Shop. These things are so classy I would give them to my mother-in-law in her Christmas stocking. They’re beautiful. They have little testers that smell heavenly. I’m a little bit in love. I turn over the tin to see the price, bracing myself for something I imagine will be terrifying.

Oh, it’s terrifying alright. There’s no price.

Hmm. Weird. I look at the other ones. No price. No price, no price, no price. No price on the movies, no price on the books, no price on the belly dancing bindi things. There’s a sign that says clothes and candles are 50% off, but 50% off what, we’ll never know.

Everybody’s heard the term, “If you have to ask, it’s too expensive.” This is true when it comes to high-end call girls and Lamborghini’s, but I don’t think it should be true in retail stores located between a teapot shop and a dog groomer. We’re not exactly on Saville Row here, people.

Here’s a little lesson for sex shops everywhere:

“How much for the pink vibrator?” is not a question anyone ever wants to have to ask.

I’ve said it a trillion times before, and I’ll keep saying it until I’m dead.

Eliminate barriers to purchase.

Making me say “vibrator” in front of my toddler constitutes a barrier to purchase. If I feel uncomfortable, I’m going to leave. If I’m going to leave, I’m not going to buy. Bottom line.

Lesson for everyone who does NOT run a sex shop: Have someone impartial and inexperienced check your sales process for barriers. Have them try to buy something from your online store. Have them try out the Contact form on your website. Listen to what they say. You might be surprised.

Can you dig it? Click here to subscribe to IttyBiz. Reading at work just might get you fired.

Originally published in 2008.

85 Comments on A Marketing Lesson For My Local Sex Shop

  1. Wendi Kelly
    April 29, 2008 at 3:56 pm (9 years ago)

    yep, I would have never asked.
    that annoys me…big time.
    Nice picture.. On my screen it is very far down and I waited a long time thinking it still needed tme to come up on my screen before realizing it was a scroll down kind of thing…

    • White Out
      June 9, 2010 at 2:57 am (7 years ago)

      This reply isnt for wendy, its to the story in general.

      Ittybiz writer…your 100% on this. i experienced something similar with the small specialty grocer on the corner who doesnt price the goods. its irritating.

      p.s. you made me laugh while making your point. i could see how a price check could of been awkward for you.

  2. megan
    April 29, 2008 at 3:57 pm (9 years ago)

    and this is why I like this blog. Business advice and vibrators… good stuff.

  3. James Chartrand - Men with Pens
    April 29, 2008 at 3:57 pm (9 years ago)

    That’s damned good advice. Not the part about going shopping at a sex shop on Tuesday, although that might be intriguing too, but I mean the testing the shopping process thing. Not at the sex shop. Of your business.

    Reminds me of my gas pumping days. Esso hired ghosts (not real ones) to drive around and buy gas. Unmarked spies. They’d have a points system to rate whoever served them to see if they got all aces. Sometimes they tried to be jerks, too, just to see how we’d react.

    Hire someone to be a spy so that you don’t know they’re coming. Ask them to have a false email. To get a quote. To potentially hire you.

    Guess what else? You’ll be so on your toes, the rest of your clients will think you’re doubly fantastic.

    Now, back to those vibrators…

  4. Tei
    April 29, 2008 at 3:57 pm (9 years ago)

    Things are ‘like gangbusters,’ Naomi. As in, “Blowin’ up like gangbusters.” Ask an Oakland girl these things.

    It’s a day for dialect translation, evidently. James is schooling me over at MwP in Quebecois French. Come over here and try Ebonics, yo!

  5. Dave "Bzzzzzzzzzzz" Navarro
    April 29, 2008 at 4:06 pm (9 years ago)

    I misread “I’ve said it a trillion times before, and I’ll keep saying it until I’m dead,” as referring to the line above it rather than the one below it.


  6. Naomi Dunford
    April 29, 2008 at 4:09 pm (9 years ago)

    @ Dave — That made me laugh so hard I cried.

  7. Jamie
    April 29, 2008 at 4:10 pm (9 years ago)

    All I can say is if Naomi was too embarrassed to ask, I can only imagine what the “normal” customers were feeling. Naomi’s been known to ask some pretty strange questions in her time.

  8. Tei
    April 29, 2008 at 4:13 pm (9 years ago)

    I’m a little surprised at Naomi for being embarrassed to ask. You weren’t REALLY, were you? That would make me sad.

    I’m going to refer you to a long debate I once had with the good people at Good Vibrations in Oakland, wherein five separate people got involved in a discussion of the merits of various dildos.

  9. Naomi Dunford
    April 29, 2008 at 4:20 pm (9 years ago)

    Well, not too embarrassed. Frankly, it was more of an inconvenience thing. Plus Jack’s starting to imitate. Cause THAT would go down really well at the Mother’s Day brunch.

    I mean, if I saw something I wanted and I was all set to go, then fine. But if I’m just browsing I don’t want to get into a conversation with somebody about something I probably won’t be buying anyway, you know?

  10. Tei
    April 29, 2008 at 4:29 pm (9 years ago)

    Ooooh, true. That would be kinda weird. Especially since kids start saying things are things when they only look like things, and seriously, how many things can you think of that look sorta phallic? I can think of a lot.

  11. Nick Cernis
    April 29, 2008 at 4:29 pm (9 years ago)

    At the risk of further corrupting what’s already a wonderfully kinky post, here’s an important addition:

    Have someone impartial and inexperienced check your sales process for barriers while you watch. Better still, video it. That way you can play it back later in a darkened room with a box of tis… — ahem — I mean, better analyse the flaws in your crappy checkout process.

    Screen captured visitor monitoring is probably the easiest and least sleazy way to do this. Check out services like

  12. Naomi Dunford
    April 29, 2008 at 4:33 pm (9 years ago)

    @ Nick — Ooh, good call! I dig it!

  13. John T Unger
    April 29, 2008 at 5:29 pm (9 years ago)

    I tell people this all the time— If you want people to give you money, you need to make it easy for them to see how, why, how much.

    It’s interesting to note that *many* art biz advisors tell artists not to list their prices on the web, saying that the commerce sullies the work or some such horse shit. Well…

    Most all the traffic that comes to my art site is people looking for cool fire pits. They’re not there so much to look at the pretty pictures, they’re there to BUY something. Which is what a lot of them do. I was selling a lot of work on my blog when it just had links to product posts and some PayPal buttons, but when I added a groovy ajax shopping cart from I had an immediate (and permanent) 500% increase in sales.

    On the other hand, sometimes a barrier to commerce is a good thing. I just re-did the custom code for hire page at my TypePad Hacks blog… I now ask for more information in the contact form, but more importantly, I put the form at the bottom of the page and a list of all the things I want potential clients to know at the top. At the very top, it says:

    “Everything you need to know about hiring us is on this page. Use the email form further down this page to tell us about your project.

    Please: read everything between here and the contact form before requesting a bid. I promise: I’d never waste your time asking you to read unimportant stuff. Save yourself time, money & frustration by avoiding common mistakes.”

    Because educated clients are happier clients. And easier clients. And more satisfied clients. Sure it’s a huge pain in the ass to read a long page before asking for a bid, but if they can’t do that, then how are they going to behave when there are other parts of working together that require their attention and input?

  14. Matt Tuley, Laptop for Hire
    April 29, 2008 at 6:00 pm (9 years ago)

    The state of Michigan requires by law that everything sold at retail have a price on it, except for the following, as listed on the MI web site:

    a) items sold by weight or volume which are not in a package or container;
    b) items sold in a coin-operated vending machine;
    c) prepared food intended for immediate consumption;
    d) items purchased by mail or through a catalog, or which are not otherwise visible for inspection, if the price of the item is on the consumer’s written order or the bill/invoice;
    e) unpackaged food items;
    f) items which have a total weight of not more than 3 ounces, a total volume of not more than 3 cubic inches, and a total price of not more than 30 cents;
    g) live plants;
    h) live animals;
    i) motor vehicles;
    j) motor vehicle parts;
    k) packages of 20 or fewer cigarettes;
    l) greeting cards sold individually which have a readable coded price on the back of the card;
    m) merchandise ordered by a consumer as a gift to be sent directly to the recipient.

    For some reason, I imagined a sex shop in Michigan with absolutely no priced inventory and being entirely within the law, and I freaked myself out a little bit.

  15. Naomi Dunford
    April 29, 2008 at 6:13 pm (9 years ago)

    Live animals! HAHAHA! The dead ones must be clearly marked.

    And I think I’m going to start a vending machine sex shop. All vending machines, all the time.

  16. Sandie Law
    April 29, 2008 at 6:38 pm (9 years ago)

    Oooooooooh! I am sick, so laughing this hard kinda hurts, but it’s a good hurt. You know, after typing that, I’m not sure it’s really something that should be said in a comment on a post about sex shops.

    “She says “fuck” a lot, but in a nice way, like I do.” I don’t know about you, but I curse like a sailor. There’s nothing nice about the way I say “fuck” (unless it’s about to happen to you, then it’s very nice).

    So, let me get this straight. This sex shop is so unlike most sex shops that you can bring your toddler in? Where do you live that they make places like this?

    Across the Missouri, in Omaha, a local sex shop owner lived in jail for a while while the city decided whether or not to allow his shop to stay open. It’s not a sleazy place. It was right next to a delightful little Indian restaurant. So you could get good curry right after you bought that pink dildo. Anyhooo…they settled for fining him daily…he is making more than enough money to cover the fines and still turn a pretty profit.

    But then…his shop has price tags on everything.

  17. Sonia Simone
    April 29, 2008 at 7:10 pm (9 years ago)

    I have the same image weirdness Wendi does. Email me if you want a screen shot.

    Tei, why is Good Vibrations not a franchise! Back when I lived in Berkeley that was the best post-coffee-date spot ever. Man it was nice to be young.

  18. Jimmy
    April 29, 2008 at 7:22 pm (9 years ago)

    I find Tuesday mornings the best time to go to sex shops (perhaps not every Tuesday, mind, there’s only so much sex paraphernalia you can get through in a week) because they’re not full of the weekend shoppers, the ones who go in herds and giggle at the cock rings… (can I say cock on your blog?)

    Anyhoo, the bit that surprised me was that you could take your kid with you – where I live, it’s illegal for under eighteens to enter a sex shop. I found this out when times were hard and I was lugging my four year old with me down the high street dropping my CV at every place that was hiring, and ended up with the dubious pleasure of having to explain to total strangers why a man in his twenties was trying to enter a sex shop with a toddler and a pile of neatly stapled pieces of fairytales, I mean employment history. In the end he waited outside, smiling innocently at passing old ladies while I ran to the counter and did a drive-by CV drop.

    I’m glad times aren’t hard anymore.

  19. Naomi Dunford
    April 29, 2008 at 8:47 pm (9 years ago)

    @ Sandie — Oh yeah. You can totally bring the kidlets. Keep in mind, I live in a province with legal marijuana and same sex marriage. Kids in a sex shop is nothing.

    @ Sonia — Yeah, I need weirdness images.

    @ Jimmy — Please make a movie. Or write a book. The movie would be better though, for the images. Manga, maybe?

    Oh, and of course you can say cock on my blog. Which, bizarrely, reminds me of the first time I ever tried to flirt in a chat room. I was trying to pick up this English guy and was saying I missed the prawn cocktail crisps in England. They kicked me out for saying cock! I was so outraged! I’ve been known to say a bad word or two in my time, but this time I was legitimately talking about a horseradish based seafood sauce!

  20. Brett Legree
    April 29, 2008 at 9:14 pm (9 years ago)

    We can say cock here? Okay.


    Hmm… now what?

    Reminds me of a brand of canned fruit they *used* to sell in my local grocery store. The brand name was:

    “Cock on the Mountain Top”

    Yep, there was a picture of a rooster sitting on a mountain. The stuff rocked. But, unfortunately, offended some little old ladies because the word ‘cock’ was larger than all of the other text, and bright red.

    Here (hope the link works):

    Now, how’s that for (sort of) derailing the conversation? :)

  21. Naomi Dunford
    April 29, 2008 at 9:19 pm (9 years ago)

    Why have I never heard of bananas in syrup before?

  22. Brett Legree
    April 29, 2008 at 9:22 pm (9 years ago)

    Err, you’re shopping at the wrong store? :)

    I still love that pic, I mean, how many innuendos can you put in one place…

  23. Jimmy
    April 29, 2008 at 10:07 pm (9 years ago)

    I *really* want some bananas in syrup now. With vanilla ice cream.

    Naomi, funnily enough my wife keeps telling me to make a movie too, although she admits it’d be more like a sitcom, with a pre-recorded “live audience” laughing at my attempts to get through a door without getting my sleeve caught in the door handle.

    Maybe I’ll go for manga instead…

  24. Jimmy
    April 29, 2008 at 10:12 pm (9 years ago)

    (actually the sleeve thing happens to me on a daily basis, luckily not at the sex shop though, that would have been just too much awkwardness for that particular moment…)

  25. preciouskhyatt
    April 29, 2008 at 10:53 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks for the credit – curious, what exactly does NSFW mean? Good tips for engaging customers and avoiding walk-offs.

  26. Naomi Dunford
    April 29, 2008 at 10:59 pm (9 years ago)

    @ Jimmy — Note to self: Wear tank tops to sex shops.

    @ Precious — Hi! Thanks for coming! NSFW is Not Safe For Work, meaning your friendly local government employee doesn’t want his boss seeing him surf your portfolio at the reception desk computer. :-)

  27. Picard102
    April 29, 2008 at 11:24 pm (9 years ago)

    This the one on Talbot, or is there a new store?

  28. Naomi Dunford
    April 29, 2008 at 11:29 pm (9 years ago)

    Yup, it’s the one on Talbot beside the teapot place.

  29. Harmony
    April 30, 2008 at 1:10 am (9 years ago)

    Another set of eyes and ears whom we can trust is a true ASSET to any business. Thank you for bringing up the barriers issue. And even more so online, people need to feel like they can walk in, sit down and feel at ease with us. Thanks!

  30. Lodewijk van den Broek
    April 30, 2008 at 1:22 am (9 years ago)

    This post and comment thread made me laugh so hard, I almost woke the house up :)

    Your story made me think of a German commercial (it’s in German, but you’ll get the picture):

    If you image a toddler next to you, especially one in the “I copy everything you say and do” phase, that would be…awkward. Many times over!

    @James: We call the ‘spies’ a little different: mystery shoppers. Sounds nicer, because nobody likes spies. But then again, I live in a country that tries to be politically correct to all minority and majority groups in the world. We even change the traditional names of sweets, so we don’t offend people.

  31. Timothy Coote
    April 30, 2008 at 2:10 am (9 years ago)

    Was there any reason given as to why the products weren’t priced? (Sorry for not swearing and nor talking about cocks).

  32. Timothy Coote
    April 30, 2008 at 2:11 am (9 years ago)

    Okay so I wrote “and nor” by mistake. Give me a break.

  33. Kelly
    April 30, 2008 at 6:43 am (9 years ago)


    Okay, first LOL. I know the nice type of shop, but with the toddler I’m just picturing my favorite phrase, “Look with your eyes, not with your hands,” and laughing even harder.

    I agree totally. An objective opinion your shopping experience is critical. One bit of advice I give to folks who don’t want to hire a pro is to (hire a pro anyway) have your Mom test it out, whether it’s a physical store or an online experience. Your Mom is (usually) a detail-oriented lady who wants you to succeed and is good at telling you your fly’s unzipped without making it sound like your self-worth is involved. (If this is not your Mom, sorry. You get the point. Get someone honest, detail-oriented, and NOT familiar with your concept and methods.)

    They call the pros mystery shoppers here too, unless you’re hiring someone to look over everything, and then they’re called Experience Designers. ;)



  34. Naomi Dunford
    April 30, 2008 at 9:52 am (9 years ago)

    @ Lodewijk — That’s classic! I love it!

    @ Timothy — It’s OK. You’re not in trouble. I’m thinking it was an error, or they were in the middle of repricing. They didn’t seem snobby or anything, but i didn’t stick around long enough to ask.

    @ Kelly — My mom is perfect for this. When I first started the blog, she told me she couldn’t figure out how to comment. I had my Web Dude move the comments option and talked her through it. She still emails me every now and again to say it’s too hard. I think she wants a button that says “If you don’t have a clue how blogs work but you would like to say something to the author of this post, click this big red button.” :-) (Hi, Mom. I love you.)

  35. Nicola
    April 30, 2008 at 10:07 am (9 years ago)

    You know you’re going to have ‘cock on the mountain top’ in your next bizarre keyword roundup

  36. Sandie Law
    April 30, 2008 at 10:11 am (9 years ago)

    @Brett My family would buy the Cock on a Mountain Top fruit just for the name.

    @Lodewijk Where do you live and what names of sweets have been changed? I ask because I plan on purchasing sweets…often and all over the world. I want to make sure I know what I’m getting!

    @Kelly I laughed so loud at this that my coworkers are wondering what the heck I’m doing over here.

  37. Brett Legree
    April 30, 2008 at 10:34 am (9 years ago)

    @Sandie – I had a feeling you guys would like that. We went out of our way to buy it, just to see the look on the faces of the little old ladies when they saw the word COCK in big red letters. I’d buy 5 or 6 cans of COCK, just for that :)

  38. Shannon
    April 30, 2008 at 12:04 pm (9 years ago)

    Oh lordy I’m laughing so hard.

    Having worked in one of “those” shops for a while, and one thing the manager was adamant about was pricing.

    Though this brings back memories of people knocking on the door at 0955 and my manager in the back room muttering “you can have your dildo in five minutes! Surely even YOU can wait that long…”

    Oy I miss those days.

  39. Janice C. Cartier
    April 30, 2008 at 1:16 pm (9 years ago)

    Just got this post today Naomi…BUT, made those little changes in my own sex shop.. .thanks.

    Love the pic Brett. :)

  40. Kelly
    April 30, 2008 at 2:56 pm (9 years ago)


    In case I haven’t said this here before (is there a blog I haven’t said this on?), my Mom won’t read my blog, because she thinks blogs have something to do with porn.

    Which ties in nicely with your post…

    So she will never be my user interface tester. I do borrow other Moms as needed.

    I’ve seen yours around here, she seems to do all right. Rock on, Naomi-Mom!



    P.S. My Mom wrote down my blog address after I passed the 100th-post birthday. I actually sweated for a few days wondering if I’d ever said anything my Mom couldn’t read. (Only when Monsieur Chartrand graces me with his presence.) Then a week and more passed, and I realized she was just humoring me, maybe ’cause I told her I linked to her. She’ll never really read it. *sigh*

  41. Naomi Dunford
    April 30, 2008 at 3:03 pm (9 years ago)

    @ Shannon — I can’t even speak I’m laughing so hard. Rock on, your manager. (Maybe they needed to hurry because they really needed to pick it up in time for work?)

    @ Kelly — It’s for the best, dude. My mother-in-law used to read every day and it really stressed me out. I know that she’s stopped now that she’s proven she’s not afraid of it. :-)

    Borrow my mom. She’s cool.

  42. Kelly
    April 30, 2008 at 3:10 pm (9 years ago)

    Hehehe. She’s hired.

  43. Janice C. Cartier
    April 30, 2008 at 3:37 pm (9 years ago)

    @ Kelly-
    “In case I haven’t said this here before (is there a blog I haven’t said this on?), my Mom won’t read my blog, because she thinks blogs have something to do with porn. ”

    Sonia told us how to write bodice ripping copy today, and Naomi is sex shop pricing….Harry’s got Monkeyboys going….in a gleeful childlike way…and Brett has outdone himself… I can’t keep a straight face… mom….we’re talking business here. But it’s true.
    I had to take some out of towners down to the Quarter once, not an unusual event. We were on a Flat Stanley mission too for my niece. You know photograph the little flat drawing of Stanley in as many diverse spots as you can so she can share in school where Flat Stanley has been. Any body heard of that? So we were doing the rounds.
    And right across from Margaritaville in the Lower Quarter on the corner was a very leathery sex shop. Yes, of course they wanted to go in. I have been told many times that I can talk to just about anybody about anything, and there over a comparative discussion of cock rings with a guy in leather chaps, I found that to be charmingly true. He just made it so easy, willing to pull out this and that, and was willing to talk price as well. He was so at ease with the boas, the balms, and those nifty little things from the orient that we actually bought stuff too. I’m thinking Naomi is onto something here. :)
    (No, that Flat Stanley picture did not go to school.)

  44. Naomi's Mom - aka Nana
    April 30, 2008 at 3:53 pm (9 years ago)

    I love you too. Remember I will be there in July and if Jack says even one word that sounds like vibrator… (see, I’m practising my nagging already…)

    You’ll be happy to know that I have finally managed the comment business, but I would indeed be a lot happier if you had a button saying “If you don’t have a clue how blogs work but you would like to say something to the author of this post, click this big red button.” And you know what they say…. “If Nana ain’t happy… NOBODY happy!”

    I roared with laughter when I read Dave Navarro’s comment about you saying “I’ve said it a trillion times before, and I’ll keep saying it until I’m dead…. how much for the pink vibrator?” (For a small fee, I’ll gladly tell him that you were in fact referring to the line below.)

    Of course I will be visiting that shop when I come to Canada – purely research, of course.

    Kelly… glad to hear that I’m hired.



  45. Sandie Law
    April 30, 2008 at 3:57 pm (9 years ago)

    @Janice Oh oh! Three people have popped over to ask if I’m ok. I laugh and then cough ’cause I’m sick…then laugh some more.

  46. Kelly
    April 30, 2008 at 4:09 pm (9 years ago)



    My mother has that saying on a wooden plaque in her kitchen. “If Mama ain’t happy….” With my Mama it is 110% TRUE, so I don’t press too hard about teaching her new tricks. No big red button will navigate to the site… I even bookmarked it for her on her computer last year (and for my Dad, who’s Silent Bob on the subject but really feels about the same way). Even with a bookmark, there she is, writing down the address, because she “doesn’t know how to work a bookmark.”

    *sigh, sigh*



  47. Janice C. Cartier
    April 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm (9 years ago)

    @ Sandi-Laughing here too, I just reread it.. oops… sounds like a whole nutha entertainment there…:o You can take the woman outta New Orleans, but you can’t take the New Orleans out of the woman.

    Does Naomi’s mom rock or what?

  48. Wendi Kelly
    April 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm (9 years ago)

    I have no hope of my Mom reading it unless I put it in front of her face. She doesn’t own a computer and her hearing isn’t so good.

    She thinks it’s called a “Blob” instead of a blog.

    She tells her clients, “Did you know Wendi has a Blob?”

    I roll my eyes. I give up.

  49. Janice C. Cartier
    April 30, 2008 at 4:19 pm (9 years ago)

    @Wendi- laughing. my mom too, no computer…the whole blog thing just escapes her…but my Aunt FLora lives in Bushnell, IL. , she is 80 if she is a day, had a friend drive her out in the snow this winter to the library to look on their computers to see my stuff….course she is my “fun” Aunt.

  50. Naomi Dunford
    April 30, 2008 at 4:26 pm (9 years ago)

    Figures. Mention a sex shop and there’s my mom. Three thousand miles away and all I have to do is talk smut and she’s here and bringing all her friends.

  51. Brett Legree
    April 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm (9 years ago)


    I’m glad you liked the picture. The sad thing is, we can’t get it here anymore because someone complained *and* it was really good stuff, as canned fruit goes.

    Plus, if you had guests over (who would appreciate the humour) there was nothing like putting the can on the table :)

  52. Janice C. Cartier
    April 30, 2008 at 4:50 pm (9 years ago)

    Brett-Rats. I hate when they take away something totally good like that.

    See these kind of products are almost a public service. Not only is it possibly tasty, but no more dull table conversation…I’m saying there’s a niche market…hmm….my inner naughty kid is thinking…

  53. Brett Legree
    April 30, 2008 at 5:32 pm (9 years ago)


    Apparently they have a whole line of products – I should place a special order. Or… maybe… become a distributor! LOL

  54. Janice C. Cartier
    April 30, 2008 at 5:46 pm (9 years ago)

    I found a site called “‘Rude Food” you have to check it out. The Bananas are there too. :) I used to have theme pot luck dinner parties at my house for my friends. This would be a great one. Hmm, distribution…at least a spokesperson. Hmmm, who would write that copy…..;)

    You just added so much today Brett… I love it.

  55. Brett Legree
    April 30, 2008 at 5:53 pm (9 years ago)

    Oh Janice, that is an *awesome* web site. I think I’ll spend a few minutes there, looking at all of the rude products… hey, whatever sells, I guess :)

    Glad to be of service! Speaking of which, if one were a distributor of Cock on the Mountain Top products, that would make me a gigolo of sorts, right?

    [email protected] for more details… only $199.95 per hour

  56. Brett Legree
    April 30, 2008 at 5:53 pm (9 years ago)

    (PS – that is a real address, ask Amy Derby about that one… LOL)

  57. Janice C. Cartier
    April 30, 2008 at 6:10 pm (9 years ago)

    Yeah Brett, a nuclear gigolo ….Forget the Screaming Guy with the Orange Glow Products… Gigolo for Cock on the Mountain…that would totally keep you in toe shoes…still chuckling.. :) a real address???!!!!:o

  58. Brett Legree
    April 30, 2008 at 6:19 pm (9 years ago)

    Heehee it’s my address, Amy & I were chatting a while back and as usual I totally derailed the conversation and said I needed a silly email address like that, so she set one up and emailed me the password :)

    I have a scary vision of the spokeperson for this product, wearing a horned Viking style helmet, a kilt, and toe shoes…

    (scary, because it would be me…)

  59. Janice C. Cartier
    April 30, 2008 at 6:50 pm (9 years ago)

    Chuckling…sounds like a Wagnerian Opera….with a Monty Python twist…

  60. Allison
    April 30, 2008 at 7:17 pm (9 years ago)

    Ugh it annoys the heck out of me when prices aren’t visible… whether in-store or online!

    Your mom is awesome. Speaking of moms and blogs, my mom now wants a blog. Apparently all the other moms with cancer kids are doing it, so she wants one too. We’ll see how that ends up!

    Janice – I remember Flat Stanley! My brother had him when I had my 8th grade DC trip, so we took him with us. :)

    Brett – Bananas in syrup? Why have I never heard of this? It sounds so good! Speaking of weird and inappropriate names, there’s a Bimbo bakery truck that we see around here every so often… it always makes us laugh. :) And just to make your outfit that much quirkier, add a sushi shirt. :D Unless you were planning on going shirtless of course…

  61. Allison
    April 30, 2008 at 7:18 pm (9 years ago)

    Uh… Naomi? Did your spam filter catch my comment?

  62. Naomi Dunford
    April 30, 2008 at 7:34 pm (9 years ago)

    Hey Allison! I found it in Akismet. Thanks for the heads up.

  63. Allison
    April 30, 2008 at 7:35 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks Naomi!

  64. Brett Legree
    April 30, 2008 at 7:40 pm (9 years ago)


    I’ve heard of that Bimbo bakery, and the site Janice mentioned, Rude Food had a picture of it…

    Speaking of – I will have a pic of your shirt soon :)

  65. Ellen Wilson
    April 30, 2008 at 9:05 pm (9 years ago)

    And we don’t have to stick a dildo in our eye.

    Sorry, Naomi, I couldn’t resist.

    Your friend,

    The wilson one, not the degeneres one. Thanks.

  66. Tammy
    April 30, 2008 at 9:13 pm (9 years ago)

    I had something similar happen to me. I went into a sex shop to buy a blow up doll. Long story..but I was traveling cross country in my car (alone) and wanted to dress up the doll to make it look like I had a guy with me. Anyhoo, no price so I go up to the lady, past a couple of guys with raincoats on and whisper to her “I’m going x-country and want to know how much for the blow up doll” she says in a twangy and LOUD voice “Hell honey, if your going x-country just buy yourself a vibrator”! So loud in fact, that the men that were in this lovely store looked up from their, er, magazines. I promptly turned bright red and ran out of the store. No sale of a blow-up doll or vibrator….that day anyway!

  67. Janice C. Cartier
    April 30, 2008 at 10:33 pm (9 years ago)

    @ Tammy- Laughing….c-cc-customer s—service …..ahhh, gotta love it.
    @ Allison- yeah Flat Stanley got the total tour :)
    @ Brett @ Allison- I saw the Bimbo Bakery…seriously the taglines that are runny through the head…
    Well, I won’t forget this lesson about pricing….not a chance.

  68. Loraleigh Vance
    May 1, 2008 at 12:11 am (9 years ago)

    Excellent point, excellent humor, excellent writing.

    I’d have to say that your post was just all around most excellent!

    Thank you.

  69. Sonia Simone
    May 1, 2008 at 12:36 am (9 years ago)

    Ah ha ha, as of 1 minute ago, this post had 69 comments.

    I am 12.

  70. Jimmy
    May 1, 2008 at 7:05 am (9 years ago)

    (late as ever on this one) I find it extremely cool if someone’s mum reads their blog. Or any blog. My mum probably never will because a) she doesn’t speak English that well and b) she’s not that fluent in technology either. She once asked me to rewind a cd for her.

    I’m sure she’d be happy to accompany me to a sex shop, but I don’t know if I could hack it myself. She’d get giggly and point at things and want to buy anything that’s shaped like a willy.

  71. Sonia Simone
    May 1, 2008 at 9:06 am (9 years ago)

    My mom does read my blog, and despite the fact that she would not blink an eye, it is this fact that keeps me from writing posts about sex shops. So it’s a mixed blessing.

  72. bill
    May 1, 2008 at 4:53 pm (9 years ago)

    I am tickled by the image of you in that shop, wondering about the price.

  73. Jason Sieckmann
    November 4, 2008 at 1:00 pm (8 years ago)

    Excellent advice. It looks like I’ll be working with you in the future for further monetization. I’m really impressed.

  74. Bob Harris
    November 25, 2008 at 6:44 pm (8 years ago)

    Like the blog and follow-up chat.
    Reminds me of an ad I used to see on the side of a bakery near a highway in Oxford, UK., complete with picture of a waitress in short skirt.
    “Our muffins are nice and moist, just like Fanny’s”.
    Keep having fun!

  75. Kim
    September 22, 2009 at 7:29 am (7 years ago)

    I enjoyed reading your blog post, I own a sex shop in Johannesburg South Africa. I am happy to say my pricing is on all my items so embarrassing situations are avoided!
    It is a very good idea so see ones business through “fresh eyes” and get a friend or even a customer to give feedback about the store experience. Afterall we want happy customers who want to return to the store.

  76. MIchael Soriano
    November 9, 2009 at 1:35 am (7 years ago)

    Wow! This is what I call writing. I love your style – you just won a subscriber for life!

  77. Mark W Schumann
    November 14, 2009 at 8:30 pm (7 years ago)

    The matter of pricing or no pricing is complicated when the price itself is the barrier to buying, or when it’s the barrier to finding out more.

    I struggle with this because I Make Software Projects Not Suck, and potential clients tend to ask first, “How much do you charge per hour?” They are really dying to think of me as one more guy banging out code, and they have this model of paying contractors so much per hour, and I’m probably out of their range. So boom, end of discussion.

    But if I refuse to answer that question, it’s still end of discussion.

    Of course all the gurus (hi Mark Silver!) will say don’t talk about price, especially when what you’re selling is a really complicated service that might not have any obvious pricing structure. The thing is, it’s kind of like the sex shop–you might want that item, kind of, but you don’t even want to get sucked into the conversation if the price isn’t in your range, because then it’s just awkward.

    So I’m still trying to figure that out. It has a lot to do with the prospective client wanting to have a number because what I do is sort of superficially like what other people do.

  78. mk akan
    February 6, 2010 at 4:53 pm (7 years ago)

    very funny but true…if we have to always ask ,we will waste time and be embarrased.
    it pays to make sales and purchase easy and straight forward for customers.
    great lesson Naomi

  79. Raj
    March 3, 2010 at 1:06 pm (7 years ago)

    my goodness !!! u r just too awesome

    what an interesting way to tell something so important like that.

  80. Michelle Heffner
    March 24, 2010 at 1:42 pm (7 years ago)

    Along the lines of Mark S’s comment above – my website is a tool to get moms to call me about face painting at their kids’ parties.

    I found that when I did post my prices, I received very few calls (zero actually) but after I took down my prices and had a chance to talk to the moms on the phone I was booking almost every weekend.

    So, thinking this through while I type, this could mean several things:

    1. My website is not as good at conveying value as I am on the phone
    2. My pricing structure wasn’t simple enough for people to understand
    3. People like to call and talk to another person when they are going to be dealing with her directly

    Or perhaps pricing goods is just different from pricing services… an interesting subject.

  81. Beth I. Skinner
    May 11, 2010 at 11:23 pm (7 years ago)

    Oh. I was so happy to read this. There’s a sex toy shop in Thornton, CO and there are no prices. I was so offended. And I thought it was just me being my usual picky self.

  82. Daniel
    September 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm (6 years ago)

    As a marketer AND owner of an adult toy store, this post had me thinking!

    Barriers to the sale happen all the time online as well – why shouldn’t they happen in a retail store? Great stuff…keep it coming :)

  83. Corey Freeman
    September 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm (6 years ago)

    I don’t know if I’m old enough to laugh at this yet. O.o