Sometimes presence is the best of presents.
Pre-pandemic, we were on our way to a movie and decided to grab a quick salad at a ‘fast casual’ eatery. We ate quickly, whisked out the door, and…I left my pocketbook hanging on the chair. I didn’t notice its absence until I tried to pay for the movie tickets. #@*^!
Frantically trying to call the restaurant, I …couldn’t. The chain does not list local phone numbers, only corporate headquarters in California. Connected there, I had to go through several menus before reaching a live human, who then told me she ‘was not authorized to call local stores.’ Double @#^*+! By then, we were back at the restaurant. Luckily, my pocketbook was still there, though I had to prove it was mine. Nobody remembered us, even though the dining room was nearly empty and we’d left only 20 minutes before.
I’d forgotten about this episode, until I tried to get a windshield replaced this week. We made an appointment. We were told we could drop the car off after-hours, but when we did, my husband couldn’t find a drop box to leave the key. He ended up pushing the keys through a hole in the garage door, thinking he’d call in the morning to let them know where to look. The next morning was a case of deja vu: there was no local phone, and the national number put him through multiple menus before he reached someone who could call the local store and tell them where the keys were.
The point of all this is not just to complain about chains, but to point out that when you shop at small, locally owned businesses, you would not have that experience. We answer the phone. We answer questions. What’s more, we KNOW our customers and what they like. I consider it a badge of honor that so many of our customers trust us to ‘just pick out a case’ for them. We’ve earned that trust, by remembering their favorites, putting aside special goodies, and suggesting new things we think they’d also enjoy.
When you shop local, more of your purchase dollar stays within your town or region. Instead of supporting a big corporation, you’re putting your $$ to work in your community. But you’re also helping to build a community in another way: those merchants know you and want to earn your business. So, as we slowly begin to crawl out of the economic morass of the pandemic, please remember that and shop local whenever possible.
Now…can anyone recommend a glass replacement spot that accepts insurance AND has a telephone?