Today I can give you one more reason for shopping in small businesses. This has nothing to do with paper crafting at all, but the same principle applies.
While in WalMart this afternoon, I went to the deli to purchase some pastrami. There were several customers waiting for the clerk to slice the meats they'd chosen. Not wanting to stand in line for several minutes, I continued on through the store and finished getting the other items I planned to buy and then went back to the deli counter.
When I got back, there were no other customers at the counter. The clerk was standing with her back to me using the meat slicer so I took a minute to be certain they had the luncheon meats that I wanted.
I stood there for 2-3 minutes, walked up and down in front of the deli case, and finally asked her if they had pastrami. She did finally look up at me and say "Yes, we have it.", sort of indicated with a wave of her hand that it was further down in the deli case, and went right back to what she was doing.
By her tone of voice and body language, it was evident that she didn't really care if she got what I wanted or not. She could have said, "I need to finish this and I'll be right with you." or even "I'll get that for you in just a minute."
I ran my own business for several years and taught my employees that no matter how busy you are, or even how short tempered a customer might be, they are to be acknowledged and treated with courtesy when they come to the counter. It takes just a few seconds to say "I'll be right with you." and give a smile to let them know that their business is appreciated and important.
Customer service and courteous employees are the hallmark of a good business and I find it severely lacking in large corporate owned stores. The employees have no stake in the business. Their managers have so many employees to oversee that they have no idea how customers are being treated.
When you shop in a small business, the owner is generally there and often involved with customers. And, when you shop in a small business, the money you spend stays in your community instead of being absorbed by a huge corporation!