Friday, November 28, 2008

Shopping Muse

I know that there is a big push these days to 'shop local' and rightly so. As the last article I read about Wal*Mart noted; every one of their stores takes approximately 150 local jobs away. And of course all of their profit goes to Arkansas. Where, apparently, the Arkansans don't know anything about the money coming in to the state. But… since they don't ask Wal*Mart to help them with their education costs, they rank fairly low. So… maybe they don't know the money is there?

Arkansas economy stats.

Arkansas Education stats.

No, it's not fair to pick on Arkansas. They just happened to be the state that is saddled with Wal*Mart. I mean, Sam Walton could have been born anywhere!

Anyway, back to local shopping. Where I started. If there is one problem I have with local shopping, it's service. It's so rare. Here is where the locals could whup Wal*Mart every time, but too often they fail. They seem to think that low prices will bring in the people and they can't win against the 'big boys' with that kind of business plan. It has to be service. Service. Service. So you have the lowest paid help in town and then you wonder why they aren't smiling and doing their best to help customers.

I really like the In-n-Out Burger business plan. They pay more than anyone else in town for the same work. They demand that employees smile. (You can demand a lot when you pay for it) And they have the simplest menu… And that is how they became more than a local business. With their success, wouldn't you think all businesses would look at how they did it and take lessons from it? Sigh.

And here on the Planet Orland? There is no 'Black Friday' shopping. And 90% of the businesses in the downtown area will be closed tomorrow and Sunday. You need some thread or a button? How about a new spatula? A pair of shoes? Sorry; go to Chico…17 miles away.

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