Monday, February 11, 2019

Doesn't Grow on Trees

I don't know if this is about money, common sense, both, or more. I just had an exchange that boggles my mind, so I have to get it out of my system.

I'm at work. I'm working with a semi-tough customer. I'm in retail sales, so that's something I'm used to dealing with. Tough customers are just part of the job. I can handle that.

What I can't handle is solicitation. Not prostitute kind of solicitation, but coming in and asking for money. I don't care what it's for- profit, non-profit, or schools. We have a sign on the door that says, "No Solicitation", yet, it's always ignored.

Not to mention that it's never good to be coming in, ignoring the no solicitation sign, and ask for money while I'm working with a customer. We have glass windows and a glass door. Maybe see if we're working with someone and decide it's probably not a great time? Maybe that's just me. 

I get that people have a job to do, whether it's to sell sporting event tickets, get you to change to Verizon for phone and internet, or to advertise or give something for school events. In the for profit sector, I get that they're just going to go into any business, not considering the fact that they're going into small, most likely struggling businesses, to sell their stuff. The same way we're selling ours, they're selling theirs. I think it's the school thing that irks me more. There's some kind of assumption that we're made of money. They have to know with six public schools - four elementary, a middle and high school, a Catholic school, and numerous preschools, we get hit up for every tricky tray, casino night, graduation event, etc. That's without including neighboring town school events. Plus, sport events, like travel baseball and travel everything (which our kid doesn't even play). We're asked to either give gift certificates or advertise in some kind of program.

No one wants to be the jerk who doesn't support the schools. If we had tons of money, we'd support them all. Gift certificates and advertising for everyone! You get a gift card and YOU GET A GIFT CARD- you know, Oprah-style.

Today, I could tell the person who came in was offended. She said something under her breath as she walked out. While I had my customer here, she said something.

I'm going to partially blame this on B. I told her B wasn't here and he deals with this. She said she spoke to him and he told her that I deal with it. I totally get why he'd do that- neither of us want to deal with it. We DO feel bad having to decline. I got thrown by it, because I couldn't push it off on him, and I had to finish with my client. The person asking for money clearly only wanted to hear the word yes though, and I got annoyed that.

She was explaining what the cause was and how we'd be advertising within our town and a neighboring town. I was just looking at her. She stopped, I presume, waiting for me to say yes.

We have a very small advertising budget. We stopped most of our paid advertising because it's too expensive. The people who would be looking at this particular advertising are NOT OUR DEMOGRAPHIC. Not even close. If a senior (not in high school, but 65+), asked us for something that was going to go out to all seniors, a senior community, or a senior community center, we'd blow any money we had on those advertisements. THAT, is our demographic. These programs that go to K-12 parents do nothing for us. We might as well set the money on fire. I got a program at the high school play the other night and I didn't even look at what businesses advertised.

Go to kid-centric businesses if you have to hit up small businesses! If you want someone to advertise, use your head as to their demographic! We have more than one tutoring service in town. We have kid-centric activities businesses here. Their demographic is parents of elementary to college age children. Or just find a different way to raise money than asking small businesses to hand over money or items every other month. Does anyone consider how often we're getting asked?

We do have a kid. He's in fourth grade. We totally support anything we're asked for from his school. Luckily we haven't been asked often. I would just like it if people would think for a minute before asking local small businesses for money. Most of us would love to give, but contrary to popular belief, small business does not equate to rolling in extra cash. We work six days a week, with no sick days or vacation, to pay our own bills. If I won the lottery, I'd be clothing all the homeless in NYC and I'd just give each school a set amount of money to cover their advertising for the year. I just haven't won the lottery yet.

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