Monday, May 5, 2014

One Bad Egg Can Ruin The Whole Nest

"Wow.  Did that really happen to me?"

These are the words that came out of my mouth last week after a confrontation with a local business in downtown Bend, Oregon. This is my story of how my husband and I were treated after trying to support a privately owned, local business.  

My husband was sent a suit from his brother out-of-state.  His wedding is next month and the men in his wedding are from all around the country.  He thought it would be best if everything was ordered online since some of them were in remote areas and could not get to a suit shop easily.  

The suit did not fit my husband when it arrived, so he needed to take it to a tailor. We decided to go to a local suit shop in Bend that we have gone to and supported (even suited our wedding party for) for over 10 years to see if they could help us.  No, it was not the closest shop.  No, it was not the least expensive shop.  My husband went there because he had a relationship with the store and wanted to support a small business in our community.  This is how he was treated.

He went into the shop and explained the issue.  He was promptly told that 'because of people like him, they were being pushed out of business'. What? They went on to say that because people were ordering online, they were taking business away from them.  

First of all, the wedding is not in Bend, so there would have not been any business for them anyways.  Secondly, my husband came to them for help and to pay them for a service that he thought they could help him with.  Thirdly, Amazon has been around for quite some time now.  People order online all the time.  Businesses need to adjust to the buying trends.  Just because they order online, doesn't mean that they aren't supporting American-made products.  

My husband was then told by the woman there to "take his five dollar suit to someone else" to be tailored.  When he asked them if they had any suggestions for him they promptly answered, "No." Well, that was nice.  My husband traveled 45 minutes out of his way and spent 3 hours of his day to be insulted and humiliated for attempting to support a small, local business that he thought he had a good relationship with.  

I was dumbfounded when I heard this.  We own a business that is built upon being made locally.  We support local and American-made businesses monetarily and via social media.  To be treated like this was a disgrace and intolerable in my mind.

I decided to confront the store myself.  I went in about 10 minutes after my husband and said, "my husband was in and you were quite rude to him.  I would like to know why".  I got a similar attitude as my husband did.  I told the man that I had spent several thousand dollars in his store over the years and didn't appreciate the way he was treating us.  He told me that he had never seen me before in his life.  He continued to suggest for me to "get out of his store". 

Wowza.  I've worked at many brick and mortar stores over the years and I assure you, I never treated my customers like that!

Makes me wonder just how one bad egg can ruin the whole nest

We as American makers work so hard to create quality, unique items and have the passion to make our company thrive. We build our business on relationships and place great value on the people  we connect with.  

If I was a tourist visiting Bend, Oregon, and I was treated like that, I assure you that I would never lay foot in that store, let alone that entire street.  There are some amazing businesses in downtown Bend.  I will continue to support local, small businesses...just not that one.

If you have had a similar experience to this one, I would love to hear about it. There are some great American-made products out there that you can order directly from the makers in the comfort of your own home. Modestics offers a full list of companies that are sewn and built here in the United States.  Don't let those bad eggs get you down.

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