Many people write blogs. So many in fact, I can't find time to wade through most of them to even read one.
So when friends, family and customers tell me I should write one, I casually laugh, saying, "Oh sure. Let me just add that to my to-do list. And would anyone really read it anyway?"
But my heart is over-flowing today, and it's inspired me to write. (and man, it feels good.)
Yesterday, my heart, a very tender one at that, was broken a bit. I noticed some items were missing in Lil Chameleon, and I didn't recall selling them. And just like most businesses, I have cameras in the store. So I reviewed the tapes. I saw a few girls run in, stake a look-out, take what they wanted and run out the door.
My initial reaction was a desire to blast them on social media, show the video to everyone, post their photos in the store and hope their parents or neighbors saw them. My thoughts weren't vindictive; they were because of their youth and their lack of empathy. Do they know what small business owners go through trying to keep a small business afloat? Who teaches these kids to be mindful of others and remind them that stealing is wrong if they aren't put on blast?
But I stepped back a second and reconsidered. Yes, they were minors, but aside from that, it wasn't the right way to go. Instead I wrote a FB post:
"To the 3 girls from today, I see you....when you steal from Lil Chameleon, you are robbing not only me and my family of our resources, but my trust in customers."
My post was an attempt to remind these girls, other children, parents, customers, people in general, that stealing from anyone, as petty as it may seem, affects someone. And for a relatively new, struggling small business, that minor theft is a very big deal. Just the same as your purchase of that $3.00 item is a big deal.
A customer-turned-supportive-friend-sent me this quote the other day, and it couldn't ring more true each and every day:
And just like the supportive friend who sent me this quote, many of you that I've met here turned-supportive-community reached out after seeing the FB post to offer a kind word. When a random FB post from someone else was off-topic and fairly upsetting in its own regard, more of you commented and shared your support (the comment has since been deleted by that person).
A gift was hand-delivered to me this morning. The fact that anyone would put together a caring and thoughtful gift, let alone take time to write the most heartfelt card, blew me away. Let's just say I've been so overwhelmed by the love from you all, I can't count the tears. But crying behind the counter here isn't a good look.
I say it a lot in my eblasts...Lil Chameleon is here because of you all. I cannot do this alone, and you've all touched my heart. I love seeing you walk through the door (with or without your belongings to buy, sell or trade), I love providing a service to the community and a safe space for both kids and parents. I love playing with your children. And I love the relationships I've formed with so many of you.
I like to think of Lil Chameleon as the kid-friendly version of "Cheers". If you don't know what I'm talking about, holy sh*t, I'm old. I only wish we served drinks of the alcoholic variety here, but the coffee is damn good IMHO and helps us all get through the hard times (aka lack of sleep).
Quite simply though, I love the community we are building.
So thank you for being a part of this all. Thank you for sharing both the positive and negative with me. I'm open to it all.
But most importantly, thank you for raising your children to understand what they do, positive or negative, affects someone else. And a simple gesture like a card or a hug can make all the difference.