I’d like to say I was just about to take my first bite of Publix fried chicken (it’s the best), when ‘he’ walked in. I’d like to say I was two bites into my blackened tilapia over balsamic rice with a homemade béarnaise sauce, when ‘she’ walked in. But, like George Washington, I cannot tell a lie. In reality, I was almost finished with my homemade BBQ baked potato when no one walked in. I finished eating my entire lunch without a single interruption. That happened yesterday as well, and the day before that too.
I know I share with so many others, the sheer joy of being able to actually reopen our brick and mortar stores again, and start wading into whatever awaits all of us. But, how in the world do we make plans for the months and years ahead? I’m actually pretty lucky in that respect because I’m the worst business planner in the history of business planning. I’ve pretty much just flown by the seat of my pants for decades, and I usually look forward, not backwards. That, and I suck at planning business stuff. Heck, let me prove it.
If you were to ask me what the ‘next big thing’ was going to be, my answer would be; “On my bench, broken, about 6 months after it was purchased.”
If anyone was to ask me, ‘what’s hot’, I’d say, “That piece of a shank that flew out of the ring I was sizing and landed in my hair.” By the way, it stunk up the whole store.
Operating a brick and mortar retail business in a post pandemic environment will have its upsides as well. Who, besides me, is looking forward to talking to people through un-fogged glasses again? Imagine looking through fogless lenses again, and being able to clearly see the person standing on the other side of your showcase. And, that person being able to clearly see you!
Something we’re all going to have to contend with is what kind of incentives can we provide to get customers back inside our stores, and off of the ‘contactless’ internet? I’m thinking about doing a combination ‘storeroom clean-out/blowout sale’. I’ll give away one free bottle of hand sanitizer with any purchase over $100. One container of sanitizing wipes with any purchase of $250. And, if I get a real big spender in, a free roll of toilet paper with every purchase over $500. I mean seriously, how else are we going to free up all of that storage space that is currently full of all of the above items? Items we probably won’t need to horde for another 100 years.
I want to get rid of all of it now so my family won’t have to deal with it whenever I go to meet my maker. But, that brings up the topic we’re all wondering about; what do we do with all of that plexiglass?
If anyone is going to be sad about the end of the pandemic, it’s the plexiglass manufacturers. To be fair, plexiglass is a great product, but real glass is a far superior product for most applications where you need a hard, see-through product, like showcases, windshields, picture frames, and, of course, windows.
Plexiglass has always been a poor man’s window pane. But let a pandemic take over the world, and suddenly, plexiglass is ‘the’ virus vapor-shield of choice. But what do we do with it now? Can it be recycled? Can you take it back to the store you bought it from, like you do rechargeable batteries at the big box retailers, for recycling? Would they just throw it away like we would do? I honestly can’t think of anything I could use all of that plexiglass for now. Maybe I should make an outdoor shower and scare my neighbors?
As we start to roll into the spring, the pandemic is subsiding, and a return to normalcy is that light you can see at the end of the long tunnel we’ve all been in for a year now. And a regular life is about to be a reality. Well, there is one thing that I can’t believe, after decades in this industry, that I’m about to admit – in 2020, I put more alcohol on my hands than in my bloodstream!
Good luck everyone and stay safe.