Greetings and Salutations dear blog readers!
Today, we are discussing shopping small business…But in a real, actual, honest way.
No, this isn’t me saying that one time when you bought something at a farmers market was you saving the planet, so don’t come here looking for a cookie, because frankly, I am a bit hot under the collar with the news I have recently gleaned from my small business owner friends.
Now, we have all heard EXTENSIVELY all about how when you start a small business you learn which friends give a fuck. Some will buy your products and support you fully, and those people are amazing. Others will like, comment, share, and recommend you to others, as a way to support, and they are also awesome! Some people do nothing at all and that kind of sucks but whatever, that’s the business, and more importantly, they don’t OWE you anything, which is an important lesson for you to learn.
But we all love those people who buy from small businesses right?
Everyone wants to post to their Instagram all about how much they help small business, by shopping small, and posting all about it to really monetize that one small tub of organic homemade skin cream or whatever it is that they purchased.
But sometimes these people don’t actually want to PAY for the small business, they want to just SAY small business, the look of small business, the look of someone who pays a bit extra for something nicer, something local, something not owned by a big soulless, faceless, corporation.
Anyone with a small business, apparently, can tell you how everyone wants everything for cheap or free, expecting it to be cheaper because one single person, or a small group, sourced all the materials and made the thing all by themselves, that magically means the price should some how go down…As if these people have no concept about what time and people are worth, nor do they have any concept as to the whole point of handmade versus mass produced.
Look, if you want a Yankee Candle, cool, go buy one. If you want something custom, the exact scent you want, in the container you want, with the kind of wick, and even toppings on the candle, that you want, you go to candle makers like my friend Sam, (@Whaleysweetscents on IG and Etsy). A wire wrapped amethyst? Check out @awanderingginger. But please, whatever it is you do, could you maybe…pay them?
And no, I don’t mean next week when you get paid. I mean at the time of ordering.
Think of it like this. If you went to say, Build-a-Bear, and made a super custom stuffed animal, and then told the people behind the counter that you would “pay them once you got paid next week, money’s a little tight, I’m sure you get it babe!”
They would call mall security on you, and be well within their rights. If you do not have the money to purchase, do not waste some small business owners time just because they are running a more human business than say, Walmart or Amazon.
I mean, how on earth are you helping small business by not paying them? That isn’t help and patronage, and it isn’t support. It’s theft.
Even if you do pay a week later, do you expect that business owner to just start working on your order? Based on the couple of small business owners I talked to before starting this blog, apparently several people thinks it’s small business that doesn’t have to be treated as a proper business (IE PAYING ON TIME) but those same people expect you to custom make their jewelry, shirt, candle or whatever, but they want it shipped to them to arrive within two days of purchase. The luxury of corporate shipping rates, under three days, but with the ability to not pay for a week or two after ordering.
Something being made from scratch doesn’t get made in twenty minutes and then shipped.
If you want something fast, you don’t want small business. You don’t want one person custom making your stuff. You want something economical and fast. That’s fine. You don’t HAVE to support small business. You should, but you don’t HAVE to.
But, damn, please stop posting about how much you like to when you can’t be bothered to pay for something that you somehow want before you have even paid.
Same people would never DARE to ask the same of big companies, nor would they even have a WAY to abuse the kindness if they did.
No, some people ruin the kindness of small business owners who are trying to buck the usual capitalist corporate structure. And the same people claiming they want to ‘eat the rich’ and support small business are buying cheap crap from amazon and then bitching when their friends shirt didn’t drop ship to them that night.
Other than being hypocritical though, what’s the harm?
The harm is actually pretty fucking massive.
Anyone who knows anything about business knows it takes years before losses are easy to absorb, if that time ever comes. Anyone who has built or even paid attention while someone else built a company, they know it takes a constant reinvestment. Hell, a restaurant requires resupplying food and seasonings on a daily to weekly basis.
So what happens if all of the patrons who are supporting small business by eating at this little small business restaurant, all say they will pay next week when they get paid?
The restaurant doesn’t have food to resupply for next week when you may or may not show up to pay, and, it may not have money to pay the employees to be there to keep the store open. If they are running the business alone, they have no food and no electricity with which to keep the lines on, all because everyone wanted some shrimp scampi before they had the funds to pay for it.
Now, sure, you can say that the merchant shouldn’t allow people to make sales like that without paying, but that is easier to enforce in a restaurant versus a custom small business.
But small business owners shouldn’t have to find new and creative ways to get you to pay up front for your goods.
You should just pay for your fucking goods.
Can’t afford till next week? Cool. Buy it then.
If the maker is somehow really cool and willing to HOLD something for you until you get paid, as many of them do, in my experience, because they are beautiful amazing people, PAY THEM THE SECOND YOU GET PAID.
Stay up till the direct deposit hits or hit up the small business as soon as you get your check cashed. Give them hope, let them feel needed, desired, and VALUED. Show them that with your first few moments of having money, you thought of them.
Because THAT is pretty valuable and that shows them that you really care, while also supporting them.
And don’t ask them a hundred times if their order is ready. They held the stuff for you to get your broke ass paid, have that same patience for them as they get the item to the post office. Also, blame USPS when the package gets lost, not the buyer, because anyone who has ever dealt with online sales and USPS should know it is often times, 98% at least, the post office’s fault that your shit was lost, delayed, or in anyway less than perfect.
Blame the right people, and pay the right people.
Shop small business, and PAY small business.
Thanks for reading!