#92) An open letter to the small businesses of America

Dear Small Businesses of America,

I would like to take this opportunity to respectfully request that you get your shit together.

Not all of you, of course. Some of you do everything you can and as a political independent who favors decentralized economies and who has several friends who own small businesses, I admire your collective efforts to provide top quality goods and services. Many of you are pillars of your communities. Some of you, however, have been disappointing me lately.

Without naming names it’s hard to provide specifics, but let’s just say this: if I walk into a restaurant and see a long line being slowly served by dour-faced employees, I’m marching my sorry ass across the street to the chain store where bright-eyed servers address me by name. Yes, it’s a bit Stepford-y, but when it comes to lunch, I’m happy to settle for a skin-deep experience if it’s pleasant (and more importantly quick). When I walk into your liquor store, I’m doing it because odds are you have beers other than Bud Light. Looking down on me because I haven’t read your wine blog doesn’t add to my experience and though I have to bite my lip to say it, more and more big boxes are jumping on the craft beer bandwagon.

Look, I get it. Owning a business is fucking hard. Democrats want to tax and regulate you into extinction; Republicans talk a great game about supporting small business but when the rubber hits the road they can never seem to get out of bed with the Fortune 500. Serve loyally and faithfully day in day out and no one notices; one off day and it’s all over Yelp. It’s not reasonable to expect that you will have the same enthusiasm five years in as the day you opened. All I’m asking is that you put your best foot forward.

I think of my favorite small businesses as friends. As a heterosexual male, getting my hair cut is simply an errand to check off the to-do list, but thanks to the Den and JH Color Machine, it’s now like getting to hang out with friends (with beer). Though I no longer live near Olives Gourmet Grocer (you may remember them from #30) the family-like vibe exuded by the store makes me want to go out of my way for their terrific Cubano.

Even good friendships have their ups and downs and most good people will forgive imperfections. We want the friendship to work, just as we want to see the little guys succeed. Some friendships just aren’t meant to last though, whether because of little things or the big things. If you forget your customers’ names, the clerks at the big store down the street will remember them, even if it’s just because corporate has ordered them to read your credit card.

Sorry to rant; remember I’m here for you.

Cheers,

D-Lock

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