Monday, August 23, 2010
Here's something you can do
Among my friends are retailers, present and past. These are not rosy times for them. During the years I appeared at rubber stamp stores, especially for free demonstrations, I overheard - not that they were whispering - too many customers urging others in the audience either to buy the item being shown at a huge chain store with its unmatchable discounts or, more recently, to shop on line. Valid businesses, not witless advice, just not appropriate to be spouting when you are collecting free handouts, taking notes on how to use new materials and, as a friend once described it, sucking up the air conditioning. Bad manners.
I'll step out in front on this one and volunteer to buy something from an independent retailer or other local business this week...yes, I know we want and need the good chain stores...no one is watching, it's okay to go to Kinko's. But a magazine from a local newsstand, latte from a one-up coffee merchant, a yard of ribbon from the craft store, a stack of mysteries from the charitable thrift shop or second-hand bookseller...any and all would help keep the ship afloat.
And a note to customers of the shops that do things like offer how-to demonstrations at no charge: I know your mother raised you better than that. It is simply polite to (a) thank the owner or manager for their generosity and (b) BUY SOMETHING. One pen, a sheet of scrapbook paper, you'll still scoot out the door for less than a dollar in most cases and go from being thought of - by ALL the staff - as a cheapskate and become someone they will greet more warmly next time. Believe me, they don't forget these things.
I was one who got really cranky when, post 9/11, we were told that if we didn't shop, the terrorists would win. Expletives are not part of my blog writing, but just imagine what I'm thinking. This is different; this is us, all together, with our Social Security, a dollar left over from lunch, 25 cents from the bottom of an old purse, bringing a modicum of good will into the community and doing what we can to see that our towns and neighborhoods will not only prevail but prosper. If you possibly can...thank you and please come again.