Updated: Feb 7
Over the last year, I've heard and seen a lot of people try to virtue signal and justify things that are just plain wrong.
In Vlogust 2020, I did an episode on brick and mortar businesses and why I couldn't fathom starting one. One of the big reasons for that was safety and the general volatility of society at the time when we had people causing over 2 BILLION dollars in property damage, mainly to small businesses. And this was just from the first round of riots, let alone the proceeding events throughout the year. Most of this damage was also caused in minority neighborhoods to their small businesses but, I digress. There were a lot of people sitting up calling the travesty a "necessary sacrifice" and there were many more people who were perplexed about this. How is the complete destruction of someone's livelihood a necessary sacrifice to your senselessness? What was accomplished?
Perhaps something more detrimental than the arson and rioting has been the shut downs. Many small businesses have been devastated and/or destroyed over the last year just from the lack of business alone. Some states and areas are thriving way more than others right now but even in the states where we're pretty much thriving, there are still some cities and counties whose policies have driven some businesses into the ground.
Now you may ask why I'm writing about this now. I'm certainly not the only one who is complaining about this and I simply want to offer a little perspective from a startup owner's POV. Yesterday, February 5th, I ventured down to the Delmar Loop in St. Louis for the first time in July. Why so long? Well as I've mentioned in many previous videos, I am incredibly sensitive to the masks, they cause a lot of breathing issues and over heating for me and I'd rather not go out if I have to do the equivalent of breathing through a plastic bag. Anyhoo.
I ventured down there for art supplies and international groceries but, as I walked down the familiar strip, I couldn't help but feel pangs of sympathy and hurt for businesses that once were. There were 3-5 empty husks from small businesses, some of which I used to shop with. During my time one the Loop, I couldn't help but to think back to last year's drastic failure for my own brand and how all the frustration and effort had me in tears many different times. If that was a powerful emotion for me, I could only imagine these people who'd been on this strip for YEARS. They were also likely trying to scramble and desperately make it work but to no avail.
Of course the county (where the Loop is located) had way stricter lock downs than did the city so this finding wasn't surprising, just very sad. I imagine these store owners had families to feed, mortgages to pay, and all the rest but how will they fare now? I'm sure if anyone were to address them and say, " It was a necessary sacrifice!" that person would be met with acute rage. And it should be evident that if the owners are out of a business, their employees are out of a job.
I mean honestly, if you were to put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Suddenly your life is upended by something out of your control. You're now wondering how you'll put food on the table, pay your bills, and keep your kid(s) in college. Or maybe you'll be forced to re-enter the soul sucking workforce where there's no drive or fulfillment. You know... like that fish guy from Spongebob, just going through the motions?
Job searching is a pain anyhow, let alone trying to do it during a pandemic. A lot of people have been up crap creek without a paddle in the last year. How many elderly people work part time in these businesses to make ends meet? How many single moms do the same to put food on the table? There are infinite cases that beg the same question. Now with an uptick of federal policies being made, insulin prices are on the rise, food prices are also rising while more and more grocers are being forced out of business by expensive regulations being put on them. Who would have thought?
(Of course I add in links to articles but, if you're curious, want to be more informed, and/or are trying to start your own business, I implore you to do your own research.)
What I see people argue the most is that businesses make enough to pay $15/ among other things. Sure... big box stores can, small businesses though? That's laughable. The same people who argue these extreme wages have never taken a basic finance or accounting class and I'm almost willing to bet on that. The idea that some would also propose this gross imposition in the middle of an economic dumpster fire is also proof of my next point.
People who hold these idealistic business fantasies and call failing businesses necessary sacrifices are one and the same because 9 times out of 10, they've never built a business themselves, nor have any desire to. Many of these individuals who do this have no desire to be the entrepreneur, conqueror of the American Dream and therefore lack understanding. No, no, they say things like " They have insurance" or something along those lines. The bottom line is, however, that the people and families behind these small businesses ( I daresay even some big businesses) have spent a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for what they have. Some of these places are backed by generational hardship. Someone's great-granddad may have established that business and there are many who suffer that loss of legacy right now.
I do concede that there are some systematic reforms that are needed to ensure people can make a livable wage but, there are other solutions to this that don't harm the small business industry as well. Again, I digress.
I believe I went on a whole tangent in this post. My bottom line is that my heart was broken for these people who've lost their businesses to this mess. My heart goes out to them and my prayer is that they'll come back from this in some form. For many of these shops, they were capitalizing off their passions and I from personal experience know that hope deferred makes the heart sick.
If you know anyone who has lost their livelihood in this way, please show them love and compassion right now because they're probably hurting way more than they let on.
(I'm not affiliated with any of the shops in the photo, I just took a picture of my stuff I bought yesterday.)