I watched the ads last week promoting this event. American Express was the who started it all and it certainly, in theory is a great idea. I believe that they even promised a credit on your account if you used your card at participating businesses.
Maybe that was my problem since I don't take American Express cards. I stopped taking those years back when I got tired of their high charges and the fact that they sat on the money for a day or so longer. Those are both detriments to small business and I found that the few people who made comments regarding my dropping the card said they used the card only because they received greater discounts from it at restaurants adding fuel to my assertion that American Express was in deed not very small business oriented.
So, I guess it would surprise no one to know that Small Business Saturday was my quietest Saturday of the year.
Now, there were other variables involved also such as a rather nice day and a football game (Oregon/Oregon State). As a matter of fact, after the game started, business just died.
My day actually started at two chain stores. My buddy, Frank and I drove out to World Market to get our free TinTin ornaments and ended up getting a coffee at Starbucks right next door while we waited (Frank had earned some free coffee there online). We sat in our car drinking the coffee and a large van pulled in next to us. A man decked out in camo gear jumped out with a ragged TinTin tshirt showing out from underneath his jacket. He was the first in line.
Now, usually you see women as the primary shoppers but when it comes to freebees, I think it is the man who is the primary there. We walked up to the line shortly before the store opened up. A couple of women were talking and I thought they were together until one of them told us that she was just talking to the other since they were just about the only women in line. A quick scan of the line validated her claim and my conclusion.
Arriving back at the diner with my prizes (an ornament and a free movie ticket), I went about helping the servers buss tables while Frank stopped and chatted with some of the locals at the counter.
Two young men asked for me at the register and I went up to meet two of the Mountain View Cougar Football team members who thanked me for supporting the team. I congratulated them on their win the night before and told them that my grandson and I had followed the game online since it was not broadcast on TV. They showed me their picture in the paper and I cut it out, had them sign it, and placed it up by the register. Next Saturday night, this always great local team will be playing Sherwood for the state title.
After working most of the morning, I headed home to join Frank, Jason Blodgett, Carrie, and Jayden for the Civil War game. Football and Pizza took over our afternoon.
After everyone left, I headed back to a still quiet diner to check on the evening meal. We bake off Prime Rib every Saturday for the evening special and I kicked myself for not cancelling for the week, knowing that this Saturday would probably be a little shy compared to others.
With a supper of Prime Rib tacos in me, I called it an early night wondering what small business in Bend might have benefited from the day. Maybe one of the better local pizza joints or the local sports bars for the game.
Please don't get me wrong. The concept of the day is great. I believe that the back bone of our country is small business. My problem with the day lies in the promoter not the promo tee especially since as a small business, I rely on my local traffic for my survival and appreciate every person who walks through our door.
Happy Small Business Saturday, folks!