I cringe at telling (confessing) this story because I so want independent businesses to succeed.
Independent businesses are like snowflakes in that every one is different. Each provides a different experience in large part due to their individual owners.
While that has the potential to be their advantage, it often becomes their challenge. Someone opens or buys a business. Within the limits of the law, they can operate it any way they want.
While I believe this to be an extreme, this picture agrees with my last statement. Perhaps this picture also shows the challenge with an independent business. You definitely are not going to see this sign on any chain store. Their staff might not be good at customer service, but they definitely cannot say things like this to a customer.
My story is that I went to an independent to purchase a new CD. Unlike food or medications, a CD is not a necessity of life. Most of what any business sells - product or service - is not a necessity of life.
That means what you sell is purchased with a person's discretionary income - money that the person spends only because they want to.
When that person is doing something they want to do, it should be pleasant if not fun for them. If the business is not going to make an effort to help the customer have that experience, a customer is likely to default to the business that has the lower price.
In my case, the alternative was forced on me because the clerk was unable to find the CD I wanted in their system - even with my knowing the title of the album and artist as well as the initial release date.
Coming home disappointed I ordered the CD online. Amazon was not fun. The local shop was less than fun with a staff person that did not know how to use their system. Nor did they ask any of a number of fellow employees to help take care of a customer that wanted to buy a CD.
I do not like doing business with a chain store or big box. With the Internet my preference is a website of some independent business I have enjoyed visiting in person.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we changed dry cleaners last month because of the number of times my shirts came back with buttons broken or missing. Even with repeated trips of returning shirts, and the staff putting a note on the account to check the buttons, the problem repeatedly happened.
With the first trip to the new cleaners, I had put a button that had come off in the pocket of a suit. Taking the suit to the cleaners, it was forgotten to ask them to sew the button back.
However, when the cleaning was picked up, the staff at the new cleaners had found the button and sewn it on for me. I am really happy with the new cleaners.
I wonder how many people find the competition forced upon them because of the attitude of a local business.