LETTER: Parting is such sweet sorrow | PostIndependent.com

LETTER: Parting is such sweet sorrow

Small business owner: I rarely, if ever, carry cash. I also avoid churning butter, pickling vegetables and worrying about polio, to name other archaic doings with which cash belongs.

Recently, I found myself in your humble store. Granted, my request for one faxed document was an irksome intrusion, as evidenced by your lack of greeting, eye contact and unintelligible grumbling throughout the process. Should I have taken umbrage that my past frequent purchases might have spared me the wrath of your unprofessional people skills?

We pressed on, until it came time to pay for your 20 seconds of labor and negligible paper and machinery cost, when, alas, a debit card tender suddenly transformed you into Olivier’s King Lear. After your diatribe regarding the debit and credit card industry’s cabal against small business I appreciated you reluctantly processing my debit transaction and thus we ended, forever, our commercial relationship.

Sir Laurence, you are not alone. A favored local eatery where I liberally spend, brusquely refused debit payment for a bit of daily bread, a lovely croissant, and told me to “take it for free.” Well, not free. I paid the price of a tirade directed toward small-purchase debit card payers and mercantile service providers.

Sir Laurence and Mrs. Croissant, I am you. I started and operated two small businesses: The first sold at a handsome profit, the second provides passive income until death. Therefore, a bit of advice: Everything is negotiable, and your customer is your success story.

First, negotiate with your merchant services provider. Lower your costs if too high. Won’t negotiate? Find a new one.

Second, the customer in front of you is the most important person in your business world. Make them feel that way. How much do they spend at your business? Don’t know? You should.

Why? Because Sir Laurence and Mrs. Croissant, since you hated to absorb a small transaction fee (you still made money) you have lost $200 and $350 respectively in recurring revenue and, most expensive of all, customer goodwill.

That is all. I am sorry it had to end like this.

Al Gazel

Glenwood Springs

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