Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Playing nice in the big world...

Today I'd like to have a word about playing nice.

Playing nice is something that seems largely forgotten in the big wide world of instant gratification and the 'me' culture.

Things like loyalty seem to only extend as far as buying the same branded handbag, jeans or sunglasses year after year. Or getting a free latte` when you've bought nine.

Not too many people understand the concept of loyalty, unless it comes with instant gratification, be it admiration from their friends or a smiley stamp on their loyalty card.

Making the most of your hard earned cash requires a range of strategies from budgeting to saving for your retirement. But I'd like to add that fostering long term relationships with those with whom you conduct business is an undervalued approach.

Loyalty, paying on time or early, and referring friends to businesses that have performed work to a high standard for us, has gained us many benefits.

We've had free loads of firewood, free deliveries when we've all been too sick to leave the house to grocery shop, discounted travel, entertainment at little or no cost, flowers for the house and plants for the garden for nix and reduced rates on all manner of things from handyman tasks to major electrical work. All because we were good customers who referred friends without the expectation, implied or otherwise, that we would receive something in return.

 Loyalty has also saved me from a great deal of embarrassment when I once filled my car with fuel, only to discover I did not have my wallet with me. This was a genuine oversight. However, had I not been a loyal customer at that service station, I may have struggled to convince the manager that I did, indeed, just live up the hill and would return promptly with my wallet, to pay for the transaction.

When I was a child, there was a Mum and Dad style shop on every corner. All of them would run a 'tick', where regular loyal customers could 'run up' a bill. You'd go there, buy what you needed, and then be trusted to pay later, whether that was tomorrow or a month from now. This was pre-credit card days of course, and mostly pre-supermarket chain. This system largely functioned well, and helped many families through a tight financial spot. Alas, these are long gone. But loyalty and honesty and integrity were key ingredients in that happy relationship. Sadly, a few folk whose honesty and integrity were lacking, have spoiled that old fashioned custom for the most part. It didn't seem to occur to them that if they didn't pay their account at the end of the month, then the Mums and Dads who owned the corner store, may eventually not be in a position to pay their own accounts!

As much as the household budget is of crucial importance to me, sometimes it's not worth saving a few cents or a couple of bucks by doing the run around, even when things are tight. Loyalty gains me far more in the long term.

Play nice. Be polite to tradespeople, checkout assistants, the postman, the delivery van driver, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. Pay them all promptly and with a smile. The checkout assistant of today, is the entrepreneur with the thing you want, tomorrow. If someone does a good job for you, tell your friends, and make sure you use them next time that service is required. That might be in a few days or in several years. But I guarantee that returning customers to our business are always given the royal treatment.

Loyalty, manners, financial integrity.

These too, are important qualities and valuable tools for Guardians of the Budget.


  1. Amen sister - and loyalty to clubs or forums that have been a great help to your life is another thing. Well said indeed.

  2. I hadn't thought of it like that Hon. I was thinking more in the context of our small business and the relationships we've built in our local community and those we are currently building for Mr A, our disabled son, in his local community. But that is a good point too :)