Things stay with you, you know what I mean? And I don't own a business. Never have, never would. But one thing I do know about owning or running a business is, if you treat people right, they are inclined to come back and spend their money with you again.
And if you don't, they are likely never to return.
It was a long long time ago when we were doing some maintenance on the engines at the fire company I belonged to. We found a taillight burned out, and I ran down to the local Citgo station a mile away to get a bulb. 50 cents, plus tax.
The owner knew I was with the fire company, since I drove the marked utility vehicle to get the bulb, so I reminded him we were tax-exempt.
And he said, "Gawddammit, I don't have time to fool around with that $h!t! So either pay the tax or go somewhere else!"
I needed the bulb so I paid the tax, didn't want to slow things down by going to another store. But you know what? That was many years ago, and from that day to this I have not spent another nickel at that gas station. And I've bought a lot of gas since.
Some kind neighbors generously treated me and Peggy to dinner on our 25th anniversary some years ago (18, to be exact!) We went to a place called Bowman's near us for a late dinner. So late, in fact, that we were sitting there quietly having a second cup of coffee and talking to our friends and neighbors, with the restaurant about 3/4 empty, when the hostess came over and said, "It's getting late...time for you to finish your coffee and go now." I thought she was joking, but she wasn't.
That was 1998. Guess how many meals we haven't eaten there since. And Heaven knows, I've been out to dinner a thousand times!
So, listen. Gas stations and restaurants around here are not exactly lacking for business, and I feel sure that neither of these businesses have even noticed the lack of our money. I drive by both of them rather often, and I haven't seen them boarded up or having going-out-of-business sales.
But how many other people have they cheesed off and driven away, and why not just try not to?