Every election year there is something known as the ‘October Surprise’. Basically, it’s dirt, either real or manufactured, on one’s political opponent that gets released a few weeks before the election. Usually, the October surprise has been known about for months, but kept quiet in order to politically damage your opponent just prior to an election. As a small business owner, I’ve noticed that I’ve had a few October surprises myself through the years. Now I’m just wondering what my October surprise (or surprises) is going to be this year.
I already didn’t like my first October surprise this year, which was the notice that my Economic Impact Disaster Loan’s (EIDL) first payment was due. What??? I signed up for the other one, the one that didn’t have to be paid back. I’m now dealing with my US Senators about putting those payments back on hold until congress can at least develop a path to forgiveness.
I’m fully aware that there were people out there that took the money and spent it on inventory, capital equipment, and business acquisitions because it was super cheap money. Heck, I personally know several people that did that. But I’d bet the vast majority of the people that got chosen for the EIDL over the PPP didn’t want the EIDL – like me!
Remember, the pandemic was in its very early stages when these programs were rolled out. The media was telling us to apply as quickly as possible because the money is going to run out any second now. Truth be told, most of us didn’t even know if we were going to survive long enough to get the money in our bank accounts.
I can only speak for myself and the hundreds (if not thousands) of other people I’ve spoken too about this matter. The government shut us down. The government then said, ‘Here’s money to compensate you for the unexpected closing. Just go to our website and enter a few things and we’ll send you a check.’
The websites that had basically been built overnight kept crashing. The data we entered kept getting erased. The media kept telling us to hurry up, the money was running dry. Plus, we were all violating the shelter in place orders because the business records we needed to complete the applications were at our stores, not at our houses. Oh, and we were all going to die any second now.
I spent my EIDL money just like I would have spent my PPP money if they would have put me in that program. That was mainly because I didn’t know I’d been put into ‘that’ program vs. the other program. And, I accounted for every dollar that was given to me, and how I spent it, just like I was supposed to do. Basically rent, salaries, utilities, insurance, and beer. What can I say, it was a stressful time.
So, for everyone that is in the same boat as me with your EIDL loan, I’ll keep you updated on my progress with my senators. I will also develop a system that will allow you to piggyback onto what I am doing with your own elected representatives. We need to make our voices heard.
And, for the record, I’m only asking for a ‘path to forgiveness’ to allow millions of Americans the opportunity to prove that the money they received was spent keeping their doors open, not buying a new Ferrari.
Looking back, I seem to recall that it was in the month of October that I personally got a big October surprise.
My wife at the time, decided to surprise me and have me served with divorce papers. That was quite the surprise since we’d just signed her up for the GIA Graduate Gemology distance education program the week before. A course that typically takes several years on average to complete.
What I remember the most about that situation was that GIA offered a 30 day money back guarantee if you changed your mind after receiving the course. I ordered and paid for the course around the first week of October, and it arrived in the mail a few days later. We started looking through the materials, and my wife was very excited about her new future as a gemologist. A few days later, after being served the divorce papers, I packed it back up, shipped it back, and got a full refund since only 22 days had elapsed. Good times.
If your birthday is in June or July, you were probably an October surprise that started with an over-the-counter home pregnancy test, and the following words being uttered by your father; “You’re What?”
Back in 2016, there were a lot of Chicago Cubs fans that were experiencing an October surprise because the Cubs were in the World Series and ended up winning the title for the first time in 108 years.
Back in October of 2008, we all got an unwelcome October surprise as we watched the world economy crumble apart before our very eyes. Here is an excerpt from one of my columns documenting the timeline of the Great American Recession;
October 6–10, 2008: Worst week for the stock market in 75 years. Worst week for Chuck Koehler EVER!!!
I also remember back in October of 1987, delivering a huge October surprise to my family by announcing I was leaving Texas and moving to Nashville to seek fame and fortune in the entertainment business. On October 28, I loaded up the truck and I moved to Tennessee: swimming pools, movie stars. If my math is correct, that was 35 years ago this month.
Of course we all love the October surprises we get when young men come in and say they want to get engaged over the Christmas holiday and want to start the engagement ring buying process now – a full three months early. Those are the good kind of October surprises. Unlike the December 22nd surprise we’ve all gotten when the guy comes in and pretends that he gave you the ‘go ahead’ back in October and they are getting engaged tomorrow and you’ve never seen this person before in your life.
But, I think we all know what kind of October surprise I’d really like to be surprised with this year? I’m hoping it’s the announcement that the Powerball lottery winning ticket was sold at the Publix Supermarket on Annex Ave. and Charlotte Pike in Nashville, TN at approx. 10:32 am that morning. And the winning numbers are – MY NUMBERS!!!
But, let us not forget that October also means that we’re officially in our Christmas season. I hope everyone knocks it out of the park this year.