Monday, May 12, 2008

big vs small business

Yesterday I went to "swap meet" which is a huge ourdoor shopping area in a parking lot of a local stadium. Local small vendors sell all kinds of things, from junk plastic to clothing to gold. Each vendor sets their own small tent and sells. There is no "quality control" or anything like that. The prices, of course, are lower than in big shops.

I was there with a friend who sells jewelery, promoting my business, treating it as a huge "expo". Eventually, I had a free minute and visited the next door booth, where a young and rather sharp Chinese-American lady (a business major from the local university) sold coral and turquoise necklaces.

There were some neclaces that looked like died imitation, and I asked her about it and she said yes, that wasn't real. I asked her if the rest are real coral, and where did she get it from? She said it came from China, where supposedly there is lots of it. (I cannot remember what she said - maybe bamboo coral?)

There were some necklaces that looked like red coral, which I need to get, so I asked her if those were red coral? She said YES, they ARE read coral. I asked her how much? She said $35 but she can give it to me for $20.

Then I went to get a friend who has a booth with jewelery. My friend asked a few questions and the saleslady said that indeed, the coral was not red, it was just died. So, she lied to me.

So, that's why naturally a lot of people gravitate towards true-and-tested BIG CORPORATIONS. There are standards ensuring a certain level of quality.

So, it probably starts like a little vendor like the one I dealt with, but a vendor with better business ethics and skills, plus the talent to manage others and typically pay them little, and make profits that way. Most people are mediocre and cannot lead but are forced into working for someone else.

Which explains the spa situation. Although the spa pays VERY LITTLE to massage therapists and thus gets only schmuk (as long as they are well groomed - but even that is not obligatory! I have seen spas with very bad looking and bad dressed therapists...), people will go there because at least they know it **should be** clean, etc.

Well... I have seen dirty spas too. I have seen a spa - owned by a rather fancy name in a rather fancy hotel in a rather fancy location - where the door knob was CAKED solid with dirt from oily hands, etc. Dust under the table. Dust on the silk plants. Garbage in the flower pots. They never cleaned the place... But people paid $150 for less than 50 mins of massage. Because? they THOUGHT that a spa should be....

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