Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Black Friday in Tinytown

Anyone with a television, a radio, or an internet connection has realized by now that Black Friday (or is that Black Thufriday?) is now the biggest day of over-consumption in all the world, nay Universe!  It is practically our patriotic duty to get up from the dinner table, grab our credit cards, and head out to the mall, where we can battle our way to heroic, epic shopping extravaganzas.  Retail giants across the land offer cherished electronics and gift items at bargain basement prices, hoping that we'll stray from our battle plan and accidentally buy something for full price.  It's the kind of occasion that defines Americans.  Not in a good way, but it does define us.

Years ago, I can still remember the excitement my sister and I felt going into our first Black Friday in our little herb shop along Main Street, a street that led directly to the mall in the neighboring town.  All day we watched the traffic streaming by.  Cars flying past with their trunks tied around packages, while the cabins were filled to the brim with bags and cramped people.  That was the day that we found out that Black Friday is for large businesses.  A few exhausted stragglers stumbled in just before we closed and made our day worthwhile, but that was just a freak occurrence.

ghost town

Here's the problem... micro-businesses, of which there are thousands and thousands, can't provide the kind of discounts and come-ons that the big boys do.  We struggle with price increases from our suppliers, and usually wind up eating them for years before we decide we must pass them along to our customers.  We juggle and scrimp, trying to keep our prices reasonable every single day of the year.  There is absolutely nothing that we can do to compete.  We give the customers the best price we've got all year long.  Doesn't it make you wonder how much those big guys with the big discounts are making the other 364 (now 363) days of the year when these things aren't on sale?  It does me!

Now with just an on-line business, I used to try to come up with something to garner a little attention on the big day.  The shipping policy that was implemented at that time ($7 maximum shipping, or free shipping on US orders over $100) worked pretty well - so I've kept it as an everyday thing since then.  That's how it works for us tiny businesses.  We just do our best every day.

Then there's Small Business Saturday and Cyber-Monday.  I'm sure they're helpful for some people, but nobody *I* know in business.

So here's the thing... when you purchase from the shops of tiny businesses like mine, you know a few things.  You know you're getting the best deal we can give you.  You know that the price isn't going to change next week, making you feel cheated.  More than anything, you know that you've supported the work of someone who is putting their heart and soul into their work.

Stop by sometime - we'll be here every day, all year :-)

1 comment:

Reifyn said...

I don't pay attention to these sale things on certain days: it really makes me queasy. I did want to comment that only one country has Black Friday, not the whole Universe! (Thank goodness for that!) Somebody asked me the other day what I wanted for Christmas, and I said I only like to obtain handmade things or used items in my life: there's enough 'stuff' in the world already to last everybody forever.