Getting Things Done

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market.  I hope everyone is doing well and staying well!

We continue to enjoy good health here.  We have a little over fifty people on staff and so far, no one has fallen ill!  I feel like the safety measures we have put in place during this pandemic have made a difference, and we continue to raise the intensity of those as the virus numbers increase in our community.

The mandated mask rules put in place a couple of weeks ago by the government are going really well here.  I couldn’t be prouder of how our customers have responded to this!  It is just about one hundred percent participation.  I only saw two people enter without a mask yesterday and most other days are around the same amount.  A lot of times, those folks that come in without them have them on by the time they leave.  I would like to think most of them just forget, because they are not used to doing it, but I guess there will always be a few outlaws in the world!  Thousands of customers come through here every week so I couldn’t be more pleased that we have so few.  I can assure you it makes our jobs here a lot easier when we all follow the guidelines!

One reason I haven’t been writing to you much lately is most of my writing time is taken up with responding to emails.  I receive a lot of them, and I try to respond to most all of them. Almost all of them are very positive about the job we are doing at the store concerning the virus.  Those are quick and easy to respond to.  The ones that take a while are the ones that are not positive.  The ones that take a really long time are those mean-spirited ones that question the effort, care, and seriousness my staff and myself have shown throughout this mess.  I would be the first to tell you we haven’t been perfect in those things, but that certainly doesn’t mean we haven’t tried.

How to attack this virus has been a moving target for us and most everyone else since day one.  Apparently, the only ones that have a perfect shot and hit the bullseye every time, somehow have my email address?  Anyway, I take the challenge of trying to email those sharpshooters back.  Mr. Bailey used to say, “you get more flies with honey than vinegar.”  I guess they get me with their vinegar, but I always try to respond with honey.  I will admit that some vinegar has spilled into my responses, but I use white instead of cider vinegar, hoping it won’t be as noticeable.

Having said all of that, I do want you to know that every suggestion I get from you concerning the virus, I hear and I discuss with the Knox County Health Department during my weekly conversations with them.  If they think it is a good suggestion and advise me to do it, we do it!

I did spend yesterday morning putting red markers on the floor in our high traffic areas due to a customer suggestion.  Hopefully, those will help people with social distancing in the most crowded sections of the store.  We are not a big store, which makes the six-foot recommendation hard to accomplish, but at least the markers can be used as a general guideline.  I went next door to Ace Hardware to see if they had any of the fancy stickers to do this with.  They didn’t have any for sale but offered me the ones they use on their store floor that read “Elder’s Ace Hardware”.  I didn’t want to be accused of being cheap by using another store’s stickers, so I splurged and spent about eight dollars to buy two rolls of red duct tape and made my own.  We also are moving a few things around or off the sales floor, trying to make it a little roomier, especially around the front end.  You may also notice we are trying to keep our third register closed and using the fourth one instead.  This allows each line better separation from one another.  These are not monumental changes but hopefully every little thing makes a difference!

We also started working on something this week that we haven’t done since March.  That would be our sales paper.  We haven’t run an ad since this virus started, due to supply issues and fluctuating prices, and I thought that the time it takes to produce one would be better spent in other areas.  The one we are working on now will come out Sunday, the 25th of July, and will be in effect for two weeks.  We are still very limited on available items, so it will only be about half the size of our normal sales paper.  Another change I decided on was to not insert it into the newspaper.  We will have paper copies available in the store, and it will be emailed out and posted on our website.  It should come to you automatically if you are reading this right now.  I don’t know how all that works, but one of my many smarter than me staff people tells me that will happen.

I hope trying to run an ad during such uncertain times doesn’t blow up in my face, but it was important to me to try to get back to some normalcy, even if it is limited.  I also know that prices have really shot up over the last few months, so hopefully this will give you some relief on a few of your favorite things in the store.  You certainly deserve it, with all this mess going on!  So, be looking for that next Sunday!

I hope everyone has a great weekend and thanks for letting us be a part of your community!

Tom Butler

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