Hi Ladies! Here I go again off on a rant of sort..but..this is a good one and quite appropiate for
Mary's Meditating Mind.
I hope you will stick around and read this one. I think it's great food for thought!
If you've followed me as far back as when I blogged under Sailing Simply you know I have a history in retail. More specifically I have a history in retail that was in a small Mom & Pop family owned business. I am putting this post out there to give a voice for all small business owners, retail employees and women in general.
People please, please, please think about where you are spending your hard earned money! Every time you make a purchase you are supporting someones business as much as you are supporting those that work there. Way too often, especially in these economic times we get so caught up in saving a buck that we think nothing of whom we are actually supporting down the line when we spend our money. Hey, I am as guilty as everyone else, but because I am also trying to run my own business I do think about it a little more.
Too often we are spending our money in those big box retail stores that are NOT as wonderful as you would like to believe they are. Just this morning, in the news today is another lawsuit against Walmart again for not promoting women within the work place. You may be thinking you've heard this before and you certainly cannot afford to elimate Walmart from your shopping adventures but I am not asking you to do that. I am asking you to THINK and consider what you are supporting each time you make a purchase from Walmart. Walmart is notorious for cashing in on the success of other vendors products by making them more affordable for the masses. They can do this easily because they have tons of researchers (or spies) who watch market trends and growth in several areas. They also use this concept when considering opening new stores in any area. Yes, they are watching! But they do not appear to be overly concerned with how that store will affect an area any more then they are about destroying a market for entrepreneurs who may have a similar more costly product. And, if this lawsuit is any indication they may not be overly concerned with equal employment opportunities for women.
Big box stores can offer discounted prices because they are supported by an industry that gets discounted rates on products for the massive quanties they purchase. What small business owner can possibly compete with that? I used to always cringe whenever we had a unique gift item that was very popular that eventually hit the big box market. When that happened I knew it was time to discontinue carrying that product because we could no longer compete with pricing on those items and our market had just flatlined. In short, we could not even buy the items at wholesale for what some of the big box stores can sell them to customers for. The margins can be that huge! Unfortunately most customer don't know that and can get very upset that they have paid more for your item then it is being offered by a big box store.
Contrary to what you may believe most small business owners are not making big bucks and sitting in luxury homes and driving luxury cars on their days off. They are not vacationing all over the world and living it up like some of the corporate heads of big box stores are. These Mom and Pop stores are usually in it for the love of retail, the customers and to support the welfare of their own families. These independent business owners are attempting to live the American dream and we need to continue to support them!
I am proud to also be a part of a business that supports its employees as well as it's customers. As an independent consultant in direct sales I can offer you money towards your purchases for also encouraging your friends to shop with you. I don't know of any retail store out there that will give you money back for bringing several of your friends shopping with you. Even though, let's face it ladies we usually do bring our friends shopping with us, often. Just try walking into a store asking for a discount because you brought in customers. They will most likely enjoy a great big giggle or will look at you like your confusing them. LOL!
Being able to offer these advantages to my customers is what drew me to this business in addition to the fabulous custom products. I can do this because I do not have the overhead that brick and mortor business owners have. I am not asking you to support me over a small business owner you may know and support. However, I am constantly shocked by the amount of ladies I know who would prefer to walk into a store and purchase something from someone they don't know or support a big box store to save an immediate buck, without giving one thought as to what and who they are really supporting.
Don't you remember the time when if you couldn't afford Joe Blows prices you saved up until you could or did without. I am not suggesting we should all do without but I am suggesting we should be thinking about how the business's we support are in fact supporting themselves and others. I am not just picking on Walmart here today let me assure you there are many big box stores out there that have some of the most rediculous employee conditions you can imagine. Conditions that not only do not pay their employees for what they are expected to do, but force employees to push and sell you items that you do not need or really want like credit cards.
Has anyone else noticed the increasing rise of store credit cards? Hello? Who's idea was it that we need a credit card for every big box store we shop at? Would you believe me if I told you every retail employee who works at these stores that offer credit cards are forced to offer them to you as part of their job. Some retailers even go as far as deducting pay, hours or even employment for not meeting a quota of credit cards activated. I'm not making this stuff up. Do you really think you are saving money by owning their cards? If you are smart enough to pay off your cards before those high interest rates kick in, you can bet they are still getting you into the store to buy more with those special sales. Some are even tracking your purchases and offering you special discounts on products you are most likely to buy.
I am not against knowing your customers preferences and offering deals on that, because that just makes good business sense. But, I do not support limiting those specials only to customers who may also be at risk for greater debt should they not pay off those credit cards immediately. I just don't see how this is really supporting your customers. It's not!
Okay, so I'm sure you've heard enough by now and if you've read this all the way through, thank you! I hope you will stop and think next time you make that purchase. I understand completely about needing to save money but sometimes we really need to thing about HOW we need to save money.
That's what I'm thinking!
Thanks for listening!