Don’t always feel sorry for the little guy

War!Sometimes we like to side with the underdog, it’s human nature. Quite recently I learnt to my cost that it is not always in my own best interest to side with the little guy, we have had quite a bit of press lately in the local papers as small shops complain about the new supermarkets forever opening squeezing out their margins and ruining small businesses that have been established for years.

Another campaign complains about local pedestrianisation where the shop owners complain about lack of traffic going past affecting their revenue and they also mention the internet as a further reason for their demise. Now this type of talk of large corporations and changing times seem to make many feel nostalgic for the olden days and come out in sympathy.

I had to buy a ring within the last 3 weeks to be ready for the 31st July and was going to do it online, you can print a PDF ring size guide. “No, your not buying a ring from the internet!” my wife declared and convinced bullied me to go down the road and spend the money locally, so I did and it went like this.

  • Choose ring and wait for shop to confirm with supplier who would phone me back on Friday afternoon.
  • Monday morning, no word so phoned and they confirm they will get the ring for £380 and it’ll be in on time, confirmed I wanted to order it and was told I’d get a call when it was ready for collection.
  • 10 days later shop owner calls to ask if I’d like to proceed with the order !?! then he calls his supplier and confirms it was his error and the ring was actually ordered (I don’t believe him) and all is well and it will certainly be in to the shop ready for the 31st
  • On the 28th I go to the shop after not hearing from them and the assistant searches through a bunch of tickets and finds mine to then declare “That’s odd?”, she never said what was odd but after speaking to another member of staff I was told their supplier was closed on a Saturday and they would phone me on the 30th
  • Received a call on the 30th to apologise that the ring wasn’t going to be in on time, this is the best part “our supplier has not yet received the ring in from their supplier” so actually by going down the road locally I was buying from a shop front that had a supplier that had a supplier who had my ring.

I cancelled my order and went online to buy one similar and saved £50, I immediately get an email to say I have paid, 2 hours later I get another email to say when the ring will be dispatched – now that’s communication!

The thing that gets me is that jewellers in town is exactly the type of shop that then complains in the local papers when they lose business due to the internet and supermarkets and modern changes, I’ll take progress & modernisation thanks.

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.


  1. You should of gone to Turkey 🙂

    Did you get the ring in time?

  2. lol, I had a feeling they were going to let me down so bought a temporary one for £12 off ebay as a stopgap 😉

  3. People need to start setting up online to increase their income before its too late, or at least for any small business out there who still wants to be fully operational in the next 5 years

  4. I know what you mean. they complain and fail to deliver.

  5. A local bookshop closed down and posted a sign stating something like: “Due to competition from Barnes & Noble and, we are forced to close our doors after X number of years.” What a cop out. Successful local businesses differentiate themselves by providing superior services and creating a sense of community within their shop.

    • I agree with you there. The rule is that you need to adapt and work with how things go. A small shop wont be able to buy in bulk and get the prices Amazon gets, but they could find some other way to gain loyal customers.

  6. I couldn’t agree more, I’ve blogged about the anti Tesco stuff before with suggestions how small businesses can take on Tesco and even offered FREE consultancy to small businesses on how to do so, as yet not one has wanted to take up the offer…

  7. I guess it is always easy to blame the big bad wolf and or someone else, I am sure there are many steps that smaller shops could take to tighten up their businesses and retain customer loyalty if they had some fight and business acumen.

  8. We did the online rings Al, easiest thing ever. They were great to me. I did try the “big little guy first” The “family jeweler” my sister’s in law’s family has always used. I told him my budget and he laughed at me. Titaniumera worked with me, and were great.

  9. If small businesses want to survive then they have to adopt to the changing times and concentrate on customer relationship and being more friendly. Take for instance what has happened in India, large corporations are opening big malls and shopping centers so local traders have started getting more customer friendly in a bid to keep their customer.

    I can call up my local grocery shop and order over the phone and supplies would reach my home in less than an hour with no delivery charges and in case some thing is missing or needs to be changed, I don’t even have to go back to the shop, their delivery man comes to the home, picks up the stuff and changes it!

    Now why would I want to go with companies or order over the internet?

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