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To not be convinced about all the persuading to support small businesses?

(51 Posts)
UltimateWednesday Mon 29-Jun-20 09:22:35

The big ones fill an important role too and usually became big by being very good at what they do. Often, small businesses are appalling employers. When DH left the Army, he worked for many small contracting firms and the attitude was always put up with terrible working conditions, lack of safety equipment and very long hours or leave, no sick pay etc. Since then he's worked for two multinationals who take staff wellbeing etc seriously.

DS1 works for McDonalds who treat him far better than friends working in small local cafes and their hygiene practices are top notch, when smaller businesses can be hit and miss.

When you find a good small business, they are like gold but a lot of them just aren't very good and the bigger ones are important employers in the communities in which they operate.

OP’s posts: |
UltimateWednesday Mon 29-Jun-20 09:23:25

*put up with terrible working conditions....or leave

OP’s posts: |
Invisimamma Mon 29-Jun-20 09:28:22

Also the big businesses are usually big local employers, so supporting hundreds/thousands local families by paying their wages. If they go under or custom dips significantly those people are put of jobs.

Also I do think customer service is often better too, or you have more come back if you need a replacement refund I find the big companies to be more reliable, so would always go to them for a big purchase, say electronics or white goods.

Thingsthatgo Mon 29-Jun-20 09:30:25

When you spend money in a big national business, often you are just making very rich people richer. When you spend money in a (decent) local business you are (often) helping someone pay their mortgage, bills and put food on the table.

UltimateWednesday Mon 29-Jun-20 09:32:51

"When you spend money in a (decent) local business you are (often) helping someone pay their mortgage, bills and put food on the table." Because the 1000s employed by the big companies don't pay mortgages, bills or put food on the table?

OP’s posts: |
Thingsthatgo Mon 29-Jun-20 09:36:53

UltimateWednesday

"When you spend money in a (decent) local business you are (often) helping someone pay their mortgage, bills and put food on the table." Because the 1000s employed by the big companies don't pay mortgages, bills or put food on the table?

Yes, of course. But, all the profits line the pockets of very rich people, instead of putting back into the local economy where you live.

Branleuse Mon 29-Jun-20 09:37:01

It depends what you need them for.
If its a big job like getting a roof done etc then id use a bigger company.
If its going out for a meal or coffee, id use small independent.
I have no wish for all towns to become clone towns. I value the difference and experiemce of different independent places, and I dont like the big supermarkets destruction of high streets. Lots and lots of people employed but on zero hour contracts of minimum wage is not that great.

Waiting42021 Mon 29-Jun-20 09:39:13

I agree with the sentiment of this post. I try to do a mixture of both, and I’m definitely more likely to support small, local restaurants/bars/cafes than big chains.

* Often, small businesses are appalling employers.*

Unfortunately I agree with this. Obviously it isn’t a blanket rule, but in my experience I’ve been treated much better when I’ve worked for big companies.

And yes, the hundreds or thousands of people who are employed by big businesses will all be out of work if everyone chooses to boycott them.

I work for a big company. Most people on MN will have heard of them, and many will be customers. The company is far from perfect, but they’re a great employer in their local area and they do so much for local charities and hospitals.

EvilPea Mon 29-Jun-20 09:41:31

I’m employed in a small business and DH is self employed.
It’s quite the opposite for him, he gets a lot of business from big businesses who have shafted people previously.
My employer treats me well and is understanding around childcare

Previous multi national company wouldn’t let me have time off in August, February, September, March. End of months, end of year, end of financial year

I don’t think it’s a sweeping thing across the board.

ludothedog Mon 29-Jun-20 09:42:58

Years ago I worked for a small family business. Before starting I was so happy to be employed by this small business rather than a large multi-national. It was awful. The nepotism and family in fighting was shocking. If you were not part of the family they treated you terribly. I made a mistake with the spelling of a name, I got into trouble, however if a member of the family did the same (and worse) nothing was said. I have never been so happy to leave a job in all my life.

Happily work in big companies now!

OllyBJolly Mon 29-Jun-20 09:44:13

The big ones fill an important role too and usually became big by being very good at what they do

Not always true. They become big by attracting funding, acquiring smaller businesses and asset stripping. Larger companies exist to provide wealth for their shareholders - that is their legal obligation. They will make decisions based solely on what produces most value for the shareholders. If that's to close the local manufacturing plant and offshore to a low wage economy then so be it. Look what happened to Cadbury's when it was bought over by Kraft. Reassurance it would remain where it was and relocated within a year.

Smaller businesses , family or owner-managed, tend to be more locally entrenched, making decisions mindful of the impact on the community. As one business owner said to me "I live here. I don't want people crossing the street to avoid me when I'm out walking the dog". Many SME business owners underpay themselves significantly to ensure that they can maintain staffing levels. The wealth generated by the business is more likely to be spent locally - not distributed to institutional shareholders.

Buying the product, coffee, lunch from an independent business will have a far great impact on your local economy than shopping or dining in a chain.

Hingeandbracket Mon 29-Jun-20 09:44:32

Very happy to support large and small businesses who pay UK tax.

Much less so for the tax-dodging ones.

eaglejulesk Mon 29-Jun-20 09:45:44

I have no wish for all towns to become clone towns. I value the difference and experience of different independent places, and I don't like the big supermarkets destruction of high streets.

This is happening in the town I live in and it is so depressing to see the empty buildings which once housed local shops while new shed-like buildings are put up for the nation wide stores. While locals work for big business and that is good for the local economy, the profits go out of town.

Defenestratethecat Mon 29-Jun-20 09:49:07

Small local businesses slosh money round the local economy instead of it going offshore or to make the wealthy even wealthier. Some large companies treat their staff well, many, many don't - in fact their staff are not regarded as 'people' but as a commodity. Big business has the advantage of economies of scale and often treat their suppliers really badly - look at the way dairy farmers are going out of business.

I hate the homogenisation of our lives - our high streets, hotels, restaurants. We seem to accept rubbish products and services from big business that we would not dream of accepting from small companies, in fact small companies have to try so much harder as one bad review can have a devastating impact.

Can't look for the stats at the moment but I believe far more people work for small and medium sized businesses than the big conglomerates, so it is very important that we think about the businesses we are supporting.

Fairyliz Mon 29-Jun-20 09:49:24

@Hingeandbracket
Agree with this. Do you know any reliable source when I can find out which companies do pay U.K. tax due?

Iwalkinmyclothing Mon 29-Jun-20 09:50:29

I support businesses I think are worth supporting. Simply being a small business is not enough in itself for me to prioritise spending my money there. As pp have said, there is no guarantee at all that a small business is a good employer, and I know for myself there is no guarantee that a small business is a supportive contributor to the community. The "if you shop here you are helping a child get dance lessons rather than a CEO get a new Ferrari" type approach to trying to persuade people to patronise small businesses gets on my tits tbh.

Waiting42021 Mon 29-Jun-20 09:52:05

Some large companies treat their staff well, many, many don't - in fact their staff are not regarded as 'people' but as a commodity.

That’s interesting, as I felt much more like a commodity when I worked in small businesses. I guess it’s all personal experience.

Anamechanged Mon 29-Jun-20 09:54:40

When it all kicked off daily sales in our business went up by 200-300% people were writing us gushing letters of thanks, making posters, baking cakes, interpretative dances and all sorts of other, weird, lovely, community type stuff.

Once the supermarkets got their act together for deliveries and stock availability etc daily sales have dropped to about 125% pre-covid.

Certain tearful letter writers and poster makers nowhere to be seen

In another 3 months we'll have settled down to what we're keeping as a customer base and it might be a fraction bigger than our pre covid stake but not much

In 6-12 months people won't even remember this happened

Kljnmw3459 Mon 29-Jun-20 09:54:41

I try to support local independent businesses where possible but often I find that money and opening hours dictate where I can do most shopping. As an employee I've never had a good experience working for a small company so I prefer big ones.

SushiGo Mon 29-Jun-20 09:54:53

There are definitely local businesses that I won't be supporting because their owners are happy to post racist views all over social media while on furlough.

However, money spent with local independent business financially benefits a lot more than spending with a chains local branch. It's a difference of about 20p per pound spent if I remember correctly!

EvilPea Mon 29-Jun-20 09:55:31

Yes! To the large company commodity. When I worked for a large company I was taking over from another department which had been moved to my office. So they were made redundant.
5 years later after a few take overs the same happened to mine.

No regard for the people, just a number on a spreadsheet.

Perch Mon 29-Jun-20 09:57:59

It’s a tricky one.
A year or so ago I saw a wall clock in a local shop that I really liked. Got home and did a quick google for price comparisons. Found the same clock on Amazon for £20 less, sold and dispatched by a garden centre hundreds of miles from where we are. So a small business (but not my local one) is selling on the mean old Amazon website at a competitive price, why would I not support them? Anybody can sell on Amazon and understand from a relative who does it it is not difficult either. £20 price difference (clock was less than £80 iirc) is a lot of money for me.

MotherMorph Mon 29-Jun-20 09:58:16

I think theres room for both.
Where I live (commuter town) there is a massive push to support local (independent) businesses. I do try and use some but a lot of people seem to have an unlimited budget whereas if the small business is selling something for significantly more than a chain I'm afraid I will use the big store. I bought a loaf of bread from the local bakery during lockdown and it was probably about 80% more expensive than a comparable item in tesco. Similarly a corner shop was selling flour for 5 x the price of the supermarket. I want to support small businesses but it's not always within budget.
I definitely think there is room for both
boycotting large stores will have a greater impact on lower paid staff than it will the CEO. When bhs went under, look at the 1000s of low paid shop workers that lost their jobs and their pensions- it wasnt Dominic Chappell or phillip green applying for UC.
- in larger stores/companies theres greater scope for job progression generally, or more rungs of the ladder to climb.
- can usually employ a far greater amount of people.
- small businesses can probably be more flexible for working
- small businesses can offer a more personal service or bespoke items.
-customer could potentially get something more unusual from a small independent company.
I work for a small business but I feel like it shouldn't be an either or situation.

tectonicplates Mon 29-Jun-20 09:59:23

ludothedog

Years ago I worked for a small family business. Before starting I was so happy to be employed by this small business rather than a large multi-national. It was awful. The nepotism and family in fighting was shocking. If you were not part of the family they treated you terribly. I made a mistake with the spelling of a name, I got into trouble, however if a member of the family did the same (and worse) nothing was said. I have never been so happy to leave a job in all my life.

Happily work in big companies now!

Oh gosh, I've worked at a couple of those! Never again! It's one of those big important life lessons. Never work for a family firm unless it's actually your family!

I've watched a lot of episodes of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, where he sorts out restaurants that are doing badly. Over and over again, there'll be a family-owned restaurant where the boss says "This person is useless at his job, and the only reason he's still here is because he's family. If he wasn't, I would've sacked him ages ago".

cologne4711 Mon 29-Jun-20 10:03:15

I agree OP, there's always a tendency to for people to say you should support local businesses. I actually prefer chains in most cases because you know what you are getting (especially with clothes, if it's a chain you can often (not always) be fairly confident with sizing), they usually have a decent returns policy and there is a HQ to complain to if you don't like something, so there's some degree of accountability. If someone runs their own shop, they run it their way. I still remember going into a local town to visit a privately run shop some years ago and it was closed - the woman who ran it didn't see a problem with opening half an hour later than her opening hours said. There might have been a reason for it, but she was rude about it. A chain wouldn't have got away with it.

As for "not wanting to make rich people rich" - the people who work in the chains aren't rich.

I also agree chains are somewhat more likely to treat their staff with some degree of respect as they have trained HR teams. Not so the smaller business who have no idea about HR or employment law.

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