I’m going to try to keep this brief because I could seriously rant about this for hours.
If my family is going for ice cream, despite the fact that there are several popular chain restaurants around, we’ll always go to The Denville Dairy. We’re not doing this because they are a local small business. We’re doing this because their ice cream is the best. Period.
When I buy a book from a self-published author, I’m not doing it to “OMG support indie publishing, you guys!!!!!” (which is a rant for another day) but because I like the book. Period.
And if its between the local diner and Applebees for dinner and Applebees is running some special that will save us money, of course we’d go to Applebees.
My only reason for supporting any business or product is because they fit my needs or have what I want (either in experience, quality or price). I don’t pay any attention, as a consumer, to how big the business is. I go to whoever will give me what I’m after. And that’s exactly how it should be.
Amazon is offering incentives for customers to visit local stores, scan in the price, and then go and buy the item on Amazon. Many sites, such as this Gawker piece, take this stance on this: “Mean old Amazon! How can they do this to the poor WIDDLE small businesses? It will make them cry, cry, cry in their widdle tiny stores. Big stores like Amazon are such stinky old meanies!” Like we’re some freaking children that need to be protected from the bully adults stores.
Well, I’m here to tell you something, speaking as a small business like the ones you think you’re defending:
- Any small business whose only reason they can give you to shop with them is that they are a small business is doing it wrong.
- Any small business who hears this news and doesn’t turn around a use it to their advantage (such as offering an instant $5 discount if you purchase right now from them) is doing it wrong.
- Any business that isn’t trying as hard as Amazon is to earn business away from their competitors is doing is wrong.
- Any business small or otherwise whose only method of handling competition from another source no matter how big is to cry about it and claim you should support them because they are small will never, ever survive as a business. And they shouldn’t.
This is business. We’re all grown-ups no matter how large scale our companies are. And this is how the game is played. Give the customers what they are after, either in price, experience or quality or they will go elsewhere. Period.
Every small business is working with the aim of becoming a big business. Every big business started out as a small business. That’s the beauty of the whole capitalist system.
We’ve become a culture that champions the little guy and then when the little guy actually has some success and becomes a big guy, we have to tear him down. It’s freaking stupid.
So I’m telling you right now, as a small business owner, that we need neither your condensation nor your pity. Come shop with us if we’ve earned your business. And if we haven’t? Well then we need to adapt or perish.
Like any business.