Wake up and smell the customers

Published 10:44 am Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I’ve got a bur stuck in my saddle this week.

For those of you wondering, the bur does not take the form of House Bill 2. If I read one more email, pro or con, on that issue, my head is going to explode.

What’s got me madder than Barry Bonds’ former steroids dealer is it seems local businesses apparently don’t want my business.

We have become extremely energy conscience when it comes to forking over our cash for a fill-up at the gas pump, and well we should be. In order to make our family budgets remain somewhere between the poor house and barely afloat, we’ve been forced to take extreme measures.

I don’t know about you, but unnecessary travel tops my list. Unless it’s an absolute necessity, I refuse to travel out of the local area to shop. I’ve always been a friend of the local merchants. It’s a win-win situation; I earn my money locally and turn it over here at home. That helps the local tax base and keeps our merchants in business, who in turn have the means to advertise in this newspaper, which in turn keeps me gainfully employed.

But if ya’ll want to keep my business, you’re gonna have to keep a better watch over your inventory.

Since March I’ve looked high and low for a pair of blue jeans. No odd size, mind you, just a normal pair of jeans. To date, no one locally carries my size (if you must ask, it’s plump and short).

Ditto for a good pair of shoes. Sure, there are a lot of styles here locally in my size, but I’m not in to blue leather without laces. Please, just stock some plain old “Hushpuppies” or a simple pair of Nike tennis shoes that are not endorsed by some overpaid superstar athlete and contain more colors than the rainbow.

And don’t even get me started on food. This is the absolute truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth – three times last week I visited a local eating establishment where they were out of something I wanted.

Pizza with a medium style crust….sorry sir, we’re out. Isn’t all pizza crust made from dough? They had the dough to fix me a thin crust, but apparently the medium dough truck failed to arrive.

A chicken club sandwich….sir, we apologize, but we’re all out of bacon. The last time I looked, Ahoskie had five grocery stores. I’m guessing all had bacon for sale. For crying out loud, go buy some, fry it up and fix me a dadburn club sandwich!

On one occasion I ordered a steak sandwich for lunch. Guess what? Yep, you guessed it, no steak. I figured the beef cattle must have been on strike.

What’s next…no milk for my milkshake? No cheese for my grilled cheese sandwich? No gravy for my ‘taters?

Hey, local merchants, wake up and smell the customers. Hopefully, thanks to the filthy rich Middle Eastern oil cartel wanting to pocket a zillion dollars in profits this quarter based on the recent rise in gas prices (up roughly 60 cents per gallon since January), you have witnessed an increase in customers because they want to shop close to home. We all want stuff…we all need stuff. Your job is to get the stuff and we’ll buy it.

I have money in my pocket with your (local merchants) name on it. As mentioned earlier, it’s my desire to shop locally, but I can’t make a purchase on items you don’t have on your shelves or carry in your kitchen.

Please, don’t force me to spend money unnecessarily to travel outside of the local area to shop. This is a problem with a simple solution – just give us what we need.


Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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