journal for 2003-11-26

on local business

More and more, I’m getting fed up with big businesses taking over the local market. The new Subway downtown may well put the local deli out of business. Borders and Barnes and Noble hurt the Moravian Book Shop’s sales. It makes it hard for people in the community to help the community by running businesses that are really a part of the community.

So, I’m trying to frequent local businesses more. I’m learning that while most big businesses neither know nor care about their customers, some small businesses know but still don’t care about their customers. Take Play It Again records, which I consider a prime offender. Nearly every time I go there, I pay with plastic. Nearly every time I play with plastic, I wait for five or ten (or, once, twenty) minutes while the owner uses the phone line to conduct business. A dedicated line would cost him very little and would eliminate this incredible hassle for his customers. Clearly, he doesn’t care. Waiting for the credit card machine is no better than waiting on line—in fact, it’s worse, in my opinion. If there was a line, other people would be getting helped while I waited. Instead, nobody is getting helped; I’m just waiting.

Today I went in and found two of the four albums I needed. I asked if I could order the other two, and they said, “You don’t need to, we stock those. In fact, they’re in.” Of course, I hadn’t found them, and neither could the clerk. Finally, she told me that they’d be restocked. “Ok,” I asked, “When can I come get them.” She shrugged. “I dunno, try next week.”

So, because it’s not an obscure album, I have to just keep showing up and hoping to find it? Why can’t they call me when it’s in, as if it was a rarity that I’d had to order. I don’t mind that they won’t deliver it to my door, but I do mind that I have to keep checking in. And, after all this, it’s more expensive than Amazon. They are really not making it easy for me to shop locally!

On the plus side for locals, though, I had awesome pizza at Ray’s.

Written on November 26, 2003
amazon   retail