I owned a shop during one of the many “gun scares” and I had a rather large inventory at the time, mainly AR-15’s.
I had a choice. I could raise the prices of my firearms and get all that I could, or I could do what I felt was the “right thing” and sell them at the regular price.
I made the decision to do the right thing, and sold them all for regular price.
You see, I believe that when it was all done, my customers remembered the store that didn’t raise prices to take advantage of the situation. Yes, It is true that many of my competitors made a lot more money during that time, and yes, its true that some of the people that I sold to, sold to others for more money. I guess that, for me, it seemed wrong to do anything other than “service my customer” with honesty and integrity. I missed out, and let me tell you, I slept like a baby. I didn’t do wrong by anyone, and I didn’t make any more profit than I would normally make, I simply serviced my customers honestly.
Did they remember? Most did, some did not, but I realized that it was mostly about what I felt was the right thing to do. I even got calls from local competitors, telling me what an idiot, I was. “Dave, you can make a lot of money now!” they implored, “you are making us look bad!” they said. My answer was, “then do the right thing, and don’t take advantage of your customers!” “They WILL REMEMBER!” Many months later, I had customers come in and tell me that they came to me because I didn’t take the opportunity to profit off of the situation. I had customers for life!
I am thinking about this now as I watch what is going on, and following it from a social media perspective as well as the news.
It is a privilege and an honor to be considered an “essential” business. It allows us the opportunity to serve our customers when they need money to take care of their needs. I don’t believe it to be the time for selling or profiteering, but instead it is the time to prove that our industry is here to serve our communities and help.
I read about one store owner that put covers on all of the retail areas, and remained open to simply loan and help. I’m sure that their clients will appreciate the risk that they took. When this is past, I believe that their customers will show their support.
In the end, I believe that the entire industry has an opportunity to continue the positive work and service our customers in the way that they want to be serviced. Please don’t take the honor of being considered “essential” lightly. Make your customers glad that they have you there to help them, and make our industry better in the process.