The musings of a nerd

Sustain Honest Local Business

— Jan 02, 2013

A few months ago I decided to give a small local franchise a chance for my inkjet cartridge needs. I found that they recently opened a location convenient to my commute, so I gave them a call to find their hours. The phone was answered by the owner who informed me that the location, while barely opened, would happily take my business. However, they didn’t have the particular cartridge I was in need of. Instead of sending me 30 minutes out of my way to their other location, they offered to have someone drive it up for me to pick up on my way home. Perfect.

When I arrived, I was greeted warmly by the owner and his wife (and their dalmatian!) They happily helped me with my purchase and showed genuine interest in my wife and I’s own local business. The owner mentioned that they were having difficulties with their point of sale system since the location had been “opened” less than a week. Still they gladly accepted my card, and I went about my way.

Since then I have kept a close eye on the charge to verify the transaction completed. It never cleared. It has been several months, and I was never charged for my ink.

Today I stopped by again to pick up some new cartridges. I told the employee behind the counter that in addition to my new ink, I wanted to let them know that I was never charged for my last purchase. The boy was dumb-founded. His response was,

That is incredibly honest of you, sir. It would be very tempting to just let it go. I would be tempted.

After trying and failing at different means of giving me “freebies”, he ran the charge again and said he would talk to the boss about the situation.

I thought about the occurrence and what it meant to me. Initially I asked myself “Why was it such a no-brainer for me to square up with them honestly about my purchase? Is it because I expect to be blessed myself some day for my honesty?” Perhaps yes, in part, but then I realized why. From the beginning at Sole, we have encountered one business after another that mindlessly chips away at you for random expenses because “that’s business”. They give no thought to the quality of service and/or product that they offer. When I find a business that puts forth a genuine effort to service the customer and trusts they’ll be taken care of, I want to support them. I want them to stay around. I want there to be more of them.

I want to be them.

© Jay Hayes