Monday, December 3, 2012

Want to Support Small, Local Businesses? Pay With Cash

M. Gustafson Gervasi, 2011, Official Wisconsin Holiday Tree at State Capitol 

We are in the heart of the holiday shopping season for 2012, and the message is coming from all levels of government -- Shop local!  Yes, from the President of the United States buying books at a local bookstore in Virginia to the Dane County Executive, one cannot escape the message that buying local helps small business and local government coffers.

As a business owner, I offer a twist to this call for action -- shop local, pay in cash!  Case in point, my 7am appointment at a locally owned car repair shop.  Yes, you read that correctly.  At 7am this morning I was seated in the cozy waiting are of The Car Care Clinic.  The every 6 month oil change became an immediate need when I noticed the left headlight was out on my Honda.  So, 7am it was, done before starting my normal hours at the office on a Monday.  And here is why I urge those interested in supporting local businesses to do so by not only shopping locally, but paying in cash.

Clerk:  Mama, your car is ready to go.  Oil change, headlight, and a new filter....comes to $72.31.

Me: Here you go, and I should have the exact change too.

Clerk:  [glances at my last name] Do both you and your husband operate in cash?  [note, my husband had his car in on the previous Saturday.  We share a last name and a preference for paying in cash]

Me:  Yes, we are both business owners and realize how much the credit card companies take off of a transaction.

Clerk:  Well bless you.  With all the random fees and things, I pay $1200 a month just to accept credit cards!!! [turns out the clerk was in fact an owner].  And I have no choice.  Too many people live off their cards, only way they can get buy.

So we chatted a bit, exchanged information about my business, etc.  As I drove to my office I told myself that today I would blog about this.  So many people want to support local businesses, which I think is great.  And I challenge you to take it one step further.  Before shopping, think ahead and go to your bank or credit union and get cash.  You'll stick to your budget, think before spending, and befriend a clerk/owner.

Give it a try and send me some feedback!  Thanks for reading, and I'll be back with more on the upside of frugal living.

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