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Friday, October 22, 2010

The Golden Rule

Our PM store is in an odd location.  We're right between a high socio-economic area and a low one.  We've been doing business with both groups.  I'd guess it's been 1/3 from the lower economic folks, and 1/3 from the higher group.  The last portion of customers are from outside of the area.

Most have been selling.  Times are tough for everyone.

I had my favorite sale a couple of days ago.  His name was Alex.  He is six years old.

A young father brought him into the shop.  His son had saved up his birthday money and scraped together a total of $78.  Pretty damned impressive for such a young kid.  It was a twenty dollar bill, 8 singles and the rest in rolls of quarters and dimes.  Yeah, fifty bucks in quarters and dimes.

Alex made it very clear that HE was there to buy some coins.  It was HIS money.

I asked him what he was looking for.  Silver and gold, sir.  Silver and gold.

I'm likin' this kid!

We had some very nice one ounce sterling silver coins that depicted different historical events.  He picked out three of them that had to do with the space program, the first American rocket test, and the first American flag.

We also had some of these State Quarter sets, and one of them was plated in 24k gold.

His list was completed.  He had his silver and gold.

I added everything up, and it came out to $79.59.  Awkward moment.  Dad pulled out his wallet, and I just shook my head.  I told the little guy that he just got another $1.59 for his birthday.

Alex is going places.  He's got parents that care and are teaching him some values.  Our business will help him and anyone like him all day long.

The center we're in has it's share of  odd characters.

The old homeless guy that lives somewhere in the center.  He just suddenly appears sometime around 8:30 in the morning, and disappears by dusk.

The young, very angry guy who argues with himself - swinging at imaginary opponents - as he walks through the parking lot, and on the street in front of the center.  He worries me.

The young "knuckleheads" - as one of my partners describes them.  Mostly late-teen to early-twenties males just hanging out.  They worry me a lot.

The county in which we're located has the highest unemployment rate out of the 9 SF Bay Area counties.  It's through the roof for teens.

School keeps many of them occupied during the day, but I worry what things will be like during the upcoming Christmas break, followed by Spring Break and Summer Vacation.

I don't see any green shoots in our country's near-term future, and I worry one of these kids will do something stupid.

I now do something that most Californians are prohibited from doing:  Carrying a concealed weapon.  Without going into our security schemes, there is a very high likelihood that when I'm in our precious metals store, I'm armed.

It has been a real eye-opener.

For those of you unaware of California law, there are two places in the state that you can carry without a permit:  Your personal residence and your business.  Open carry or concealed.

In an insane view of "safety", California has written our laws so that I am not legally able to have a gun in my car - even unloaded in a locked case - unless I'm traveling from one approved location to another.  For instance, from my home to a shooting range.  In my case, from home to the PM store, and back again.

I now feel naked when I'm not carrying a gun.

I will be applying for a CCW.  I can virtually guarantee that I will be refused.  I'm not going to say what my next steps will be, but I have no intention of becoming a victim.

Accept The Challenge

Today is our 3 week anniversary.  We're doing a splashy "Grand Opening" deal today through Sunday.  It's really been a great 3 weeks.  We've done well in excess of our original projections for this period of time.

For those of you in business - or those considering taking the plunge - I cannot stress the importance of the elusive "customer service".  Making every single person who walks through your doors feel important and welcome.

One of our cross-town competitors has inadvertently become our best referral source.  He has been the only game in town for so long that he has forgotten how to treat people.  Keep it up, buddy!

I'd venture to say that perhaps 25% of our business has been referrals.  People come in, we show them what we're doing, give them a cup of coffee or bottled water and talk to them like we're happy they're there.

Treat people right.  In business and in life.  Build relationships.  We're trying to live by The Golden Rule, in more ways than one!

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Copyright 2010 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Anonymous said...

Congradulations. Best wishes in your business and place you have chosen. Also I wish you lots of luck with getting that CCW. I tried to get one out there and was turned down twice. They just love to suck up the money. If that happen to you try way up northern California. Some times they issue better up there. Worse comes to worse go ahead and carry. If SH then at least you will ride in a police car instead of a morque vehicle or hearse.

Jack said...

Consider joining the Police Reserve, some jurisdictions let reserve cops carry without paperwork, or will approve a CCW easier. It is good training for SHTF, you see how the beast works, you would now be on the 'inside' with all the advantages of being an 'only one', and most jurisdictions only require 1-2 days on duty per month.

Also, what's your website for the PM store?

Unknown said...

You did a nice thing for that kid. A buck and change isn't much but I guarantee kiddo and his dad will never forget. Also dad will tell his friends. As for carrying at work good one you. For carrying elsewhere I guess your heart will have to guide you.