Tuesday, October 7, 2014
It's a word I mention often and something by which I live. And ever since I wrote yesterday's blog post I've been a little annoyed. It took me until this afternoon to figure out why, but I finally got it.
That doesn't sound like me - not the real me. It sounds as if I'm whining about costs, complaining that "life is hard", etc. when in reality I'd normally be fighting for what I loved. And I did love this shop - the one that I'm letting go, in a process that I've often described as cutting off my arm. Maybe I cared so much because I have been through the rough years and the very difficult times. Maybe it's because I fought hard to stand for something and then even harder to keep it all together. So for me to throw in the towel now - am I really ok with just blaming it on others, rising expenses and landlords?
No, I'm not ok with that and I COULD have stayed if I'd wanted. It's conceivable that my very competitive sales structure could have been adjusted; that my shop would have began to resemble the chain stores with a smaller selection at ghastly prices. I didn't HAVE to carry those stupid melt-in-your-mouth mints that came only from Ohio because I was determined to offer my customers the best. Surely a factory in china creates something similar, right? So why am I faithfully buying something more expensive "just because"?
One can pick and choose items and merchandise as a sole proprietor, and one can also make poor choices. If I stuck to my guns on those damn mints there was likely a whole slew of similar products that I could also be purchasing more cheaply. So why did the mints, which in turn represented how I do business, what my choices have been and ultimately, how I'm running my shop - matter? Because they don't have an awful artificial taste, and they don't burn your mouth but rather melt on your tongue. Because when the day before a 29th birthday, the other half of my life was diagnosed with cancer. It took my breath away and almost took the business when I walked out to be there in the hospital day after day after day. We learned about medical terms, surgeries, doctor's visits and the endless game of waiting for results. We found that so many things in life both started to matter and also ceased to be a priority, how self-employed insurance was a nightmare and a joke and how during chemo that nothing tastes right.
Except for those damn mints. They did the trick and helped offer some bit of taste to counter dry mouth that comes with months of treatments. Having lost a parent at an early age to the same dreadful disease, I was aware of how little a cancer patient enjoys. I tried to never run out of them in he following years. My customers knew I have something for everyone and so it did matter that I sold the best. And no one who happened to mention in conversation that their relative was fighting hard through a chemo program, ever left without a bag of mints.
So you see, I had my choices, was able and willing to choose inferior product for higher profits. But that's not how my daddy raised me. He always told me you do what is right and honorable, because that's just how we live, and so the part about cutting corners just wasn't an option for me. And yesterday's whining about costs that went up as foot traffic went down; how it all came to a crunch one day - well, I had my choices and chances and I made them. I made the right ones for me and didn't settle. Because you know, when you start caving in on one thing.....then pretty soon it's another, and then another. And then what you have is lack of pride in what you do. That's not what I picked.
P.S. Don't get me wrong; it's nice and affirming and perhaps soul - finding to do something that you believe is right. But that doesn't make it easier. While it's pretty therapeutic to bleed and weep all over this keyboard and blog about doing the right thing it still hurts like heck to say goodbye.
I'd like to have a few less days with leaky eyes, but then again if I didn't care this much I guess almost two decades wouldn't have mattered the way they do. Still, it's pulling off pieces of me to leave and I wish I could stay, do everything on my terms and live the good life. I'm gonna miss this so much.....more than I can say.
#commitment #to #quality #standards #madeintheusa #loyalty #thebest #refusingtosettle #principles #buttermints #meltaways #stickingupforwhatsright #meltinyourmouth #chemo #lackoftaste #comforting