I suppose that since everybody and their brother was out yesteray, during Black Friday being mauled at the mall, it’s perhaps a bad day to have Small Business Saturday scheduled on the day after. Perhaps not a good time to post this either. Alas, I am an underdog-type of person (even though I prefer cats), and this ties in perfectly with an experience I had a few weeks back.
Remember my post from November 10 about the restaurant I went to that has very little business, but is absolutely superb? I was going to write a review on it, and I did. The waiter at the time gave me the owner’s email address and suggested to send him the link when it was up. Well, I did and here is what happened: The owner read it and replied with the following email (ad verbatim, I did not edit it to leave the personality and tone intact, and yes, I have permission to share):
the surprise I was stunned with receiving your email earlier, changed the whole and entire pattern of my stressful and rough day!!! You can't imagine the comfort and the feeling that your words drowned me in, reading your overwhelming description of The Phoenician. I wish I could come up with better words than THANK YOU! Thank you for dinning at my humble establishment, and thank you for your support. It has been a very hard year and a half for us, since the plunging economy has taken over almost everything we've build and worked hard for, to the point where I have contemplated quite a few times the idea of shutting down the business, and the only thing that held me off was the emotional attachment to what I have build with my heart and hands. I am very gratefully for everything you've said and done hoping such an article might encourage people to visit us, hoping to bring back the flourishing business we once enjoyed at The Phoenician.
My staff and I are always at your service
What’s my point? I have read countless posts on Facebook about the mayhem out there of people in Walmarts and other big stores because of Black Friday, some of the same people who probably lamented all year they have no money to spend all on the heels of dire economic news. Why not take some of the money they are spending and take it to the small, common business man (or woman) trying to stay afloat? Yes, big stores hire seasonal workers to handle the influx of extra customers, but it's only temporary and without benefits and often at minimum wage. I am simply wishing for balance, spread the money around.
While this year, unless money falls from the sky, I am not going to do any Christmas shopping, I have done so of course in the previous years. Yes, some of it went to big stores, but most of it I spent online from places like Etsy, Amazon and eBay. Yes, I am aware big stores hang out on the latter two sites, but I chose smaller ones. I even made some gifts myself (beaded jewelry) which went over really well, especially with my teenage daughter.
Also, another thing I thought of when I received the email in response to my review: Often, we get caught up on the negative customer service, which of course is quite common since a lot of people are going without raises while working more hours and unfortunately seem to show their disdain of their situations by taking it out on the customer. I say move over, get rid of the dissatisfied, replace them with the willing unemployed, and take some of the money big stores use for those horrible ads on TV that just make everyone tune out and spend it on their employees, but that is another blog.
Anyway, why not make the effort to let someone (and his or her boss) know when they did a good job? Who knows, it may save a good employee from being replaced with a not-so-good one.
(PS: If you want to read the restaurant review I wrote, it’s here).