Shopping locally and getting to know the people at the businesses you patronize has its perks. Yes, sometimes it can lead to business. It happens to me frequently. Sometimes it leads to friendships. Sometimes there are other perks.
I was leaving a party that I’d done about half an hour away from my house. It was just before 9 p.m. on a weeknight. Our cupboard was bare, and The Furry Guy would be hungry when he got home. I knew that one of my favorite local pizza and ice cream places had summer hours. I figured they still closed at 9 on weeknights, but thought I’d check. Sure enough, they were closing at 9. The young lady who answered the phone said, “But, what did you want?”
I told her that I was interested in a pizza, but I knew they couldn’t make it before 9, and I certainly couldn’t get there before about 9:20, well after closing. She said, “That’s okay. We’ll be open late anyway.” There was something going on near the business, so they would be keeping the ice cream side of the business open. They’d be glad to make me a pizza. I assured her it wasn’t necessary, but she said they’d be glad to do it. So, since I am a good, regular customer, they took care of me.
I’m getting ready to go on a business trip. I’ll be sharing a room with a couple of friends and am planning to give each a little gift left on their pillows each night of our stay. One of the things I have planned is a treat from a local sweet treats shop. The treats keep well, but I wanted to purchase them as close to travel time as possible. I knew that yesterday would be the last time I’d be near the shop before leaving on my trip. The problem? The shop is in the process of moving.
I’d become facebook friends with the owner of the shop, which is a one-man show. She mentioned a few days ago that things were progressing a little slower than planned. I asked if she would be open on Thursday, since I was planning to stop in and get some things for my trip. She sent me her cell number via private message and told me to call when I was in the area. No, the shop wasn’t open, but she was still processing online orders. She’d be glad to let me in to purchase what she had available.
Now, in neither of these cases did I expect special treatment. I was simply the recipient of kindness offered to a loyal customer and friend. And, these are just the most recent examples. This kind of thing happens every once in a while. Yes, part of it is a result of living in a small town. But, even in a small town this kind of thing doesn’t happen unless you’re shopping locally and talking with the people who serve you. You should never, ever do this in anticipation of what that person might be able to do for you. Still, friendliness has its perks.