Today I offer my "Thoughts for Thanksgiving" Week for your consumption. The next 9 days are insane for those of us working in a retail store like I have located at: 12222 S. Harlem Ave in Palos Heights on the west side of the street with a phone number of (708)636-3473 open Monday - Saturday from 10am to 6pm with amazing people waiting to help you with all of your tech needs (In case some of you forgot).
Not only do I await the upcoming "GorgeFest" that is Thanksgiving (or Misgivings as I previously referred to it), but this upcoming week also adds Black Friday and Small Business Saturday to the agenda- all nicely arranged one after another in an absurd 3 day stretch that couldn't be any more insane. On top of that, my wife's birthday is Saturday (Happy B-Day Steph!), so I get one more day to pay some extra attention to just for good measure.
It's great that the "Shopping Season" is upon us, but could they maybe space things out a little bit for the love of Christmas? Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day for family, to reflect on all that we are grateful for, but let's be honest, it's more a frantic cooking frenzy with the aforementioned "GorgeFest" that follows, sprinkled with a delightful measure of Football and Napping just to break up the monotony of food. Now that does sound like fun, but it can also be a really stressful day with a ton of work and cleanup to make it all possible. Then you get to follow that up with the retail world's version of the Hunger Games called Black Friday that comes right after. Ok, it used to come right after, but then every retailer in existence wanted to get a head start on every other retailer so they decided to start on Thanksgiving instead of Friday. Black Thursday? ShopsGiving?
Nothing says wonderful family holiday better than knocking a senior citizen to the ground to grab the last $39 65" Smart TV and no, I don't actually know where you can get a 65" Smart TV for $39 so don't message me! Once Thanksgiving has concluded and if you have managed to survive the madness of Black Friday without serious injury, we then get to wake up Saturday morning to the unique focus of Small Business Saturday.
For those history buffs with us today, Small Business Saturday began November 27th, 2010 as an effort by American Express to bring focus to the Small Businesses that are often overlooked during the shopping frenzy. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event and as a small business owner, is genuinely near and dear to my heart.
In case you have not done your research on my personal life and history (don't Google me, you'll get a Virus), I have lived in this community my entire life. I grew up in Palos, went to school in Palos, did my shopping in Palos and was even honored to have served as the Palos Area Chamber President.
Over all of these many decades (God I'm old), I have seen many of the small businesses that make up our community disappear. The places that I remember so fondly from my misspent youth are often long gone with only a few exceptions here and there. I used to buy comic books at Ben Franklin, got my first baseball cleats at Palos Sports, candy from Rini's, and so on. I understand that the world has changed greatly over the years and sometimes businesses are left behind. The advent of the internet and the convenience of online shopping has redrawn the landscape of retail and continues to change every day but as great as Amazon's next day delivery is (I really needed that Christmas Sweater for my daughter's dog and couldn't wait to see her in it- Hi, Bea!), we need to make sure we support the small businesses that make up an integral part our community at the same time. Often, when a business announces they are closing, people have commented to me what a great shame it is and how much they will be missed. My response is the same, "When was the last time you gave them a chance to earn your business?" "It's been several years", they would say. That's my point. When I was first introduced to Mayor Straz (Hi, Bob!) many years ago, it was after his State of the City address where he had noted what a good job the city had done adapting to the changes presented by the dwindling retail climate by filling the spaces with a number of banks and restaurants. I introduced myself as a small business owner who didn't want to become a bank or a restaurant. (I know, a Greek business owner that doesn't own a restaurant!- Don't be racist!) (No offense meant to the banks and restaurants by the way- love you guys).
Small businesses just like mine have always depended on the support of their communities to continue to survive. We work harder than the "Big Businesses" and do more because we need to earn your business. This isn't just a job, it's a huge part of our lives and if Computer Greeks closes its doors it would end 25 years of my life and my hard work and my tears (so many tears, but then I'm a very sensitive soul you know).
Covid has been terrible for everyone and businesses are closing every day. Communities are doing their best to make sure people are aware of the need to keep their local businesses in mind during this time and Small Business Saturday is a day that epitomizes that very concept.
You don't "owe" Computer Greeks or any other small business your patronage. We need to earn that. But you do owe it to yourself and to your community to give all of us that opportunity, so be sure to Shop Small! Not just this Saturday, but whenever you can.
Ok, thus ends my somewhat long winded Public Service Announcement. Thank you for your attention (the 3 of you who haven't gone looking for cat videos). You may now continue on with your daily lives.
A Safe and Happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and My Wife's Birthday to Everyone!