Small business promotion with retail speaker Tom Shay
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A big mistake

A personal story of how businesses make a mistake

We are on the way to Las Vegas. There is a trade show that I am to speak at on Thursday morning. I could easily get an afternoon flight back home to the east coast, but Friday is my wife’s birthday and I wanted to do something special with her to celebrate.

It is not that it is one of the ‘milestone’ birthdays, but the year has had both its’ challenges and high points. I am one of those husbands that doesn’t forget a birthday, but I am definitely interested in having some help with being creative in the celebration.

In the weeks leading up to her birthday, I was busy with projects for clients and did occasionally think about the impending event and what to do for it.

Finally I decided to extend the trip to Vegas by a couple of days and take her with me. I called a good friend in Vegas, Trina Johnson, who is a professional meeting coordinator for some help. Trina arranged a helicopter flight over Vegas, a delicious birthday dinner, tickets for a show as well as tickets to a broadcast recording of my wife’s favorite radio show. It was a great trip; Trina is now on my wife’s speed dial so she can ask about traveling with me on trips to Vegas next year.

You see, in the weeks approaching my wife’s birthday, there were two of my wife’s favorite dress shops that each sent her a birthday card and a gift card to use in their store. But neither of the stores contacted me even though I have been with her during some of her shopping excursions.

The local florist that we have done business with over many years did not call to suggest an arrangement of my wife’s favorite flowers being delivered to her. I have done that in the past, but apparently the florist does not keep track of their customers and the occasions for which they order flowers.

The jeweler that has been the favorite of both of us for over 25 years is some 1000 miles away. We did business with him when he was an employee at another store and have followed him in the decade plus that he has owned his own store. We have largely remained loyal customers because we enjoy all the pieces we have purchased from him.

However, he did not call, write or say anything when I was in his store some 30 days before her birthday.

Four businesses left me to my own devices to decide how to celebrate her birthday. We went to Vegas. As I complete this article on the flight home, I am reminded of the movie, ‘Pretty Woman’. In a scene Julia Roberts is ignored by a store. She winds up getting assistance from someone and doing a lot of shopping in another store.

As she leaves the second store with her hands full of all of her purchases, she passes by the store that did not take care of her. She makes a point to go into the first store, search out the staff that ignored her, and holds all of the bags of purchases in their face.

Her comment, the same as mine; ‘Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now’.

Tom Shay is a fourth generation small business owner providing proven management and business building ideas through his Profits Plus Seminars, Profits Plus Solutions coaching, books authored, and articles written. Tom can be reached at 727-464-2182 or through his web site:

Profits Plus Solutions, Inc.
PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179