This month's 12 Dollar Club gift is for the Vasse General Store. Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows how utterly painful the general public can be and how exhausting it is being "on" all day. Anyone who's ever owned a business also knows that when the big commercial heavies sweep into town you can pretty much wave your staff and your income goodbye. As a society we have watched this countless times and often without having asked for the big corporate machine to move into yet another open field. But we are also aware that we'll probably all be going in there as soon as they're open. But this shouldn't mean the small businesses have to lose out. In fact many of us are becoming disillusioned by the fast food, fast fashion, throwaway culture that we live in.
But yet again, in yet another town, as the shiny logos go up this little general store looks very small in comparison. However - and this is the important bit, there are areas which for me are worth more than a discount coupon on my till receipt. For example when I need fuel I will drive out of my way to come here so I can pull in and someone will come bouncing along, always smiling to fill up the car, meaning the baby keeps sleeping and my day just got a whole lot easier. When you walk in and have said toddler on one hip and are trying to fill out a customs form for a parcel with the other hand - another smiling person takes your child and shows him a whole bunch of toys. In that same 15 minutes, I can see one of them singing and dancing, every customer that comes in is now smiling and there are personal comments of care flowing freely. I even find myself not buying the items they sell, like milk, from the big supermarkets, just so I can go in there and support them. They in turn stock locally produced items which the bigger chains simply don't.
This is a place where if you needed help, you could come to and chat AND buy some eggs. Places like this in the community serve a much larger purpose than the big retail outlets - and us, give them credit for. You lose what you don't use, and we have see it happen again and agin.
There is a desperate need for people to connect again, to just have a chat, because for some that interaction is all they get for the day, and it counts. Thankfully our local general store is the post office too and they held onto that with their finger nails. Their store has a history, it has a place that would be so missed if we simply turned our attention to the big logo next door.
This thank you isn't just for our local, it's for all of them. If you have a place that serves you, then serve it back. Support them, support small, because small is often so much more rewarding when it has a pulse and a smile behind it.
Thank you to everyone who works in retail and gives that extra bit. It's contagious and it matters. A lot.
The 12 Dollar Club