I can see where you might be frustrated, but since he didn't ask you for a plan...
Kind of like the bodega at the end of my block. I could spend hours developing a "business plan" for them and then go in there and present it but I'm quite sure they could care less.
Of course the "busines plan" really wouldn't be that complicated:
1) Be sure to have bread in stock. People have this habit of liking to use it to make sandwiches, or toast. When there's nothing else to eat at home at least they'll have bread.
2) Because of 1) it's a good idea to have peanut butter. People can live off it. It has a long shelf life so when there's that panic of "There's 3 feet of snow coming!!" people know they can survive. (They just fill the bathtub with water).
3) Due to 1),2) it's a good idea to have Milk on hand at all times. For some reason, people like to drink milk. Nowadays you need to have 1% and skim too. Whole milk they like to use in coffee. This brings up...
4) Have coffee on hand because people like that too. Be sure it's not expired because people in this neighborhood tend to look at things like dates. This brings up...
5) Kudos for stocking eggs but... the cartons are stamped with a date. You're not supposed to sell them after that date. (I know, this is a hassle but they just won't sell) There are two dates, the second says "In NYC..." this date is usually earlier. Yes, I know you think this is unfair and people worry too much about "dates"! The thing is that those in charge of protecting "the public" ( that's your customers. They're the ones who give you money in exchange for items on the shelf) Anyway, those in charge of preventing plagues, disease, and sickness have determined that things should be sold in a certain amount of time. New York has a shorter date because in getting to the store things tend to sit on the sidewalk unrefrigerated. Besides, your customers like to think the things they're getting are at least not going to make them sick. They go elsewhere for super fresh, and they're usually desperate when they buy from you but they'd rather starve then get sick. (yeah I know they're weird...)
This brings up
6) Congrats for not selling meat. This can be dangerous and lead to problems, complaints. (There's also more dates and inspections...) However, I think you could move into those vacuum packed irradiated pre-sliced meats that have a long shelf life. Yes, they have dates but it's not so bad. Just make sure they go directly from the supplier to your refrigerator. Don't leave them on the counter and then go out and have lunch on the sidewalk. Speaking of counters...
7) The fruit on your counters can not have those tiny flies swarming around it. I know, they're really small and it's no big deal, that people always have those things at home on their fruit. What can I say? People are strange. They like to buy the fruit and then have the little flies appear --at their own home-- ! They insist on this. Just like they insist on having their own t.v. and don't share it by watching with their neighbor on the sidewalk. (Yes, I know you do this with yours but not everyone is like you. This is why you need the business plan !) When the little flies appear take it as a sign that that something's rotten and needs to be thrown out or taken to -your- home. Speaking of signs...
8) Signs are important. They tell how much things cost. I know, -you- know how much they cost but your customers don't. Also they explain the rules, such as "No clothes on? - Stay out!!" (I realize the "No shirt, no shoes, No service!" signs are way too tough for your store so I figured we'd start somewhere)
This brings up the concept that if the sign posts a "rule" or a law it needs to be right. A while back I wandered in looking for some bread (you had none) and settled for a quart of OJ. When paying I noticed a hand scrawled sign written on a torn piece of cardboard you must have found in the street. (There was a tire mark along one edge) The sign said in so many words: "No one under 21 can buy cigarettes". Though I don't buy cigarettes, this struck me as odd since I believe the age is 18. When I asked you about it you said, "Oh yeah, my nephew wrote that when he was here last week." You see when you own a business you are responsible for what "the employees" do.
Just because your nephew's cute doesn't mean you have to leave that thing up there like his artwork you tape on the refrigerator at home. See, people are weird. When they see a sign like that which is blatantly wrong they start wondering what else is wrong in the store. This doubt reduces their desire to buy. After a while if the doubt keeps building they just stay away.
Also, since it's not the law, others could get upset. Like the people who make cigarettes. What if I had called them and told them about the sign? Oh, you're right that'd be a problem- for me since you don't have a name to the business and no phone. I'd have to say "that little bodega on the corner of so and so". They'd have to send someone on foot. You're right, that probably wouldn't happen.
You say what's all this signage thing? New York has the worst. I know the road signs are terrible, that you're better off shutting your eyes and guessing when you have a choice of turns on the highway. At least you won't argue with your wife and you can always turn around. I know, New York is going to ban talking on cell phones while driving because it's impossible to talk, drive, and read the signs all at once. While all of this is true, you still have to deal with your store signage because we're not "trying to be the worst" with this business plan.
This "plan" might be tough but I think if you follow these suggestions you could make a little more money. It's just a bad sign for your customers when there's no bread on the shelf, the milk is questionable, the eggs they don't want to look at, there's flies on the fruit, and you're out on the sidewalk sitting at a table playing dominos and watching the Mets on t.v.!
Again, people are weird you just have to accept it, but when they see this they think you don't care. (No, not about the Mets! About your store!)
After this plan, we could think about a name for your store. This way you would become part of the community. Now people have to say "could you pick up some milk at -that bodega- on the corner?". This makes it seem like you're something on another planet. (well...) See people like to have specific names for things. I know, people are weird, they even name their boats, their dogs, and of course their children.
Well, let me know what you think. I just want a loaf of bread and some peanut butter...<FONT size="1">
[This message has been edited by Tog (edited June 26, 2001).]</FONT>