Grocery Life September 23, 2014

Grocery Life September 23, 2014

By Tom Butler

Good afternoon from Butler and Bailey Market. I hope everyone is having a good week. The weather has been beautiful which figures since I can’t do any of the outdoor activities I enjoy for a few weeks. I guess I will just keep reading books and yelling at my kids while I heal up.

I went to the doctor yesterday so he could X-ray my arm to make sure it was still set correctly. It turns out it has moved so now I am having surgery on it Thursday. This should speed up the healing process which I am all for. We’ll see how it goes.

I saw the doctor that delivered both of our children in the store yesterday. He asked what happened to me and I told him that little boy he delivered seven years ago got me on a skateboard. He said “I guess that makes it my fault?” I told him if I knew a good lawyer I might be able to make that case. He knows I come from a family of lawyers and was just kidding, but I bet he has had to defend himself against some crazy lawsuits. My dad defended doctors in his law practice and I was always surprised by some of the things he told me people blamed their doctor for.

I also saw Mayor Burchett in the store last night. I told him what happened and asked him if the city would pay my medical bills since my accident happened in a city park. He told me that bunch of liberals downtown would pay my bills and then raise my taxes to pay for it. I don’t think he agrees with liberals or raising taxes.

I don’t have anybody to blame but myself, but I do hope my insurance will cover a lot of my bills. I have never had to put it to test so I guess I am about to find out.

We have a group plan here at the store which my family is a part of. Years ago when the store finally got into the black I decided that we should start providing insurance for our full-time employees.

meat employee pic

I learned early on in this business that most everyone here went without health insurance. The result of this was people coming to work sick or missing a lot of work because they were sick. If they finally got sick enough to have to go to a doctor they did so through an emergency room which is the most expensive way to see a doctor. The outcome of any of these scenarios was never good. They either spread their illness to everyone else in the store, left us shorthanded because they were out of work, or racked up big bills at the ER that they could not pay and their wages would be garnished and/or force them into bankruptcy. None of these things were going to help us build our business or help their financial futures so it just made since to me that if the store could afford it we should do it.

stocker employee pic 2

When we started offering insurance the monthly premium per employee was around one hundred dollars. For that we got very low co-pays, a drug card and low deductibles. The employees paid ten percent of the premiums and the store ninety percent. It was very affordable for both parties. Now the premiums are just under four hundred dollars per employee a month, the benefits are not as good and we have a lot more employees. It has become more of a financial burden for the employee and the store.

Every year when it is time for renewals i.e. increases, I sit down with the staff and discuss what they can afford to pay and what the store can afford and once this is decided we adjust the benefits accordingly, which usually means reducing them.

stockers employee pic 1

I don’t know how all this insurance mess is going to play out and how it will affect us at the store. I imagine it will get worse before it gets better.

I do know that investing in our employees, be it through health care or other benefits, has been a huge factor in the success of the store as well as positively impacting the lives of all of us that work here. The only way that happens is when you buy groceries here so I speak for us all when I say we appreciate your business! I hope we have and continue to make it a good “investment” for you.

Have a great week!

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,

Tom Butler


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Butler and Bailey Market

7513 Northshore Dr.

Knoxville, TN 37919


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