Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Can deals sink a business?

Giving credit where credit is due for this post, I have to admit that I've grown rather despondent about dining out. Sure, it's easy as shit because there are plenty of days where the last thing I want to do after having my nose to the grindstone for a solid eight hours and spending 90 minutes commuting is to cook. The logical choice - because, let's face it, the 16 month-old ain't gonna cook - is to get back in the car and go out somewhere to grab a bite.

In my world full of harsh realities, though, that isn't really logical. The baby lacks my oh-so sophisticated palate (really, I scheduled a work meeting at Pizza Hut this week) so that means either planning ahead and feeding her before we run out the door or buying something that she'll eat a third of and throw the rest on the floor. Hey, at least it's not my floor but it's a huge waste. It's not like I grew up during the Great Depression but I don't balk at wasting food.

That's where coupons and the like enter the fold. My old lady and I do like to exit our dungeon for special occasions and because we're basically elderly shut-ins that means dinner and a movie (could we get any more cliched?). Our favorite choice for a top-notch suburban dining excursion as of late is Santorini in Eden Prairie, MN. To this day I've never paid full price for a meal there. It began with a few gift cards but being I'm totally cheap I bought a half-price deal-type gift certificate around Valentine's Day. Call me cheap and unromantic but it's a great way to spring for a damn good meal without emptying the wallet.

I have to wonder, though, if restaurants who participate in these half-price deals which seem to be offered by every damn radio station in the Twin Cities ever gain any repeat customers beyond that initial visit. There is a bit of a moral dilemma for me on a personal level - a certain number of coupons - not just for restaurants - pay at least a portion of my salary. I feel somewhat obligated to patronize these business if at all possible but it has to be for a service or product which I'm truly interested in or cannot find elsewhere for less.

The dilemma reared its head just the other day as I knew that my car desperately needed brakes (I had slammed on them when some jackass came to a sudden stop in front of me and that was their final hurrah). I called some of the places which are kind enough to pay my salary via their advertising dollars. Then I called my brother-in-law who is a mechanic. In the end he got the job done for half price - and yes he charged me $40 labor for an hour's work.

So do you feel it's good practice to patronize local businesses or do you the cheapest route possible without ever having to pay full price regardless of what it does to the owner's finances?

If you'd rather steer clear of my rambling topics, check out some truly amazing photos of Minnesota at MinnPics!

1 comment:

Reuben said...

I really want to patronize locals, but it's just really hard to do when something not local can provide the same thing at lower cost. It's a constant struggle for me.