I went back.
Last year I wrote a post that caused a certain amount of controversy in my little town of Pleasant Grove. (How To Lose a 3rd Generation Customer.) I detailed an unfulfilling experience I had a local hardware store. At the end of my post I vowed the following:
1. Never to buy another Craftsman tool
2. Never to go back to Allred’s if I can help it
I’m not changing #1. But, I’ve reconsidered my decision to not go back to Allred’s. In fact, today I needed a few hardware items and I specifically went to Allred’s to get them.
See, Allred’s is part of a national chain. They are an Ace Hardware store. And that’s part of the reason I went back. A couple of other reasons first.
When I wrote my original post last November, my neighbors rallied against my perceived attack on a local (beloved) store. I wasn’t attacking. But, I was writing. And every writer has some level of influence. Even though I claimed my decision was only for myself, several people pointed out that as an opinion writer, obviously I am attempting to sway public opinion.
Also, Allred’s really is a great influence in our community. The Allred’s have donated a lot to my little community. While the chain is national, the store is very much local.
All of that is true, but, what got me back through the door was advertising. No, they weren’t having a sale on masonry chaulk. (Nor the other things I bought today.)
I don’t eat at Jack In The Box. In fact, I haven’t set foot in a Jack In The Box restaurant since I was in high school. The reason? Advertising. Jack In The Box ran a series of ads in the 1980s that were a thinly veiled dig at McDonalds. Their obnoxious spokesperson would tell you all the wonderful things that Jack in the Box had and then snidely ask, “What have the other guys got?” I decided if good advertising was designed to draw you into a store, bad advertising would keep me out. I left and never went back. I’d go hungry before I spent money in a Jack In The Box store.
Advertising works. It works on many different levels. And Ace Hardware recently announced that they were going to continue advertising with a controversial show. I don’t actually follow the show, but I thought the boycott was largely unfair. When Ace announced that despite the calls by vocal activists for them to drop, they were going to continue, it gave me a very favorable view of the company.
As I walked through the store today I have to admit I was just a little self conscious. It’s a small town, only about 45,000 people. I wondered what I would say if one of the people who argued with me last year were to approach me in the store. Someone did approach me, but it was a helpful employee asking if I had found everything.
We get to change, right? If we see something we disagree with, we can take our dollars somewhere else. If we have the ability to walk away, we also have the ability to walk back. I doubt this column will get the publicity that the previous one did, but I feel better for having written it.
I’m sure there are still those who will call me a hypocrite. There’s just no pleasing some people.
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.
(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved