Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market.  I hope everyone had a nice weekend! We had a good weekend at the store. 

The last time I wrote, we were in the midst of a lot of equipment breakdowns at the store.  It was almost a daily event for several weeks.  I am now glad to report, we have had several weeks of no failures so hopefully this will continue!

School has started back for most everyone now.  Prior to school starting, it has become tradition that our state gives us a sales tax holiday for school supplies and other things associated with going back to school.  This is a weekend long event.  This year, the state decided to give food a sales tax holiday, also.  It started the same time as the school supply holiday but extended four days beyond that, to the following Thursday.  Well, I checked the state website to make sure we had the dates correct for the store.  The last thing you want to do is screw up state sales tax when you are in a business.  The state frowns on that!  I guess I’m okay with sales tax holidays.  The state gives up a lot of tax revenue, but if it helps people out, I’m good with it.

Well, while I was on the state website, I noticed there was another sales tax holiday, unbeknownst to me.  This one started July 1st and ends in June of next year.  So apparently, gun safes and gun safety devices are going to enjoy a sales tax holiday for an entire year.  Yes, you read that correctly. Things for education got a three-day holiday, food got a six-day holiday, but gun safes and gun safety devices got a year-long holiday?  Now I’m not against guns or guns safes or gun safety devices, but I am against nonsensical sales tax holidays.  I think I could have spent the rest of my life thinking up sales tax holidays and would have never thought of that one.  Maybe someone could convince me to the merits of this holiday, but I doubt it.  I try not to let my mind wander too far from common sense.

Getting back to the store, our biggest challenges right now are labor shortages, inventory shortages, and inflation.  I am not very confident that any of these three things are going to get any better anytime soon.  If I was guessing, I would think inventory shortages will improve a lot quicker than labor shortages or inflation.  I think those two things may be with us for quite a while.  Wages have already shown quite an increase, and as businesses continue to compete for those willing to work, they will continue to increase.  It’s a good time to find a job or look for a different job.  The problem with higher wages is prices go up with them.  There’s your long-term inflation.  At the end of the day, people will be making more money but their buying power will stay the same, at best.  Unless, of course, you are buying gun safes or gun safety devices.  You can save money on those until June of next year. 

Having done this for thirty-one years now, we have been through inflation, deflation, stagnation, big labor pools and small labor puddles.  Somehow, we have always managed to muddle through it so, we will just keep showing up and trying to sell groceries and let the smart people figure out the rest.

Well, my whole family has been vaccinated now.  I don’t know this for sure, but I was told we now have a chip inside of us, and Bill Gates is tracking our every move.  That seems redundant to me since the whole world is tracking our every thought and move since we all carry phones in our pockets.  I don’t think I even care if someone is tracking me.  Matter of fact, they could just call me, and I will tell them what I do every day: go to work, go home, do a lot of yard work, sometimes fish, sometimes play golf, eat, and sleep.  I did put a new battery in my truck Friday, and I had to add air to one of my wife’s tires this morning.  That may peak their interest!  Anyway, we all decided getting the vaccine was the best thing for our health and the health of our community, so we chose to do it.

Speaking of the health of our community, Dr. Martha Buchanan recently resigned as the Director of the Knox County Health Department.  I have known Martha for several years.  One, as a customer and secondly, because the store falls under the jurisdiction of the department she oversaw for many years.  She has been a great asset to me and my business for all those years due to her commonsense approach on how the Health Department partners with businesses in our community to make it a safer place.  She has also been invaluable to the store during this pandemic, guiding us in the safety measures to keep our staff and customers in a safe environment.

Prior to her, I always felt that the Health Department treated us as their enemy and went out of their way to make running our business difficult, but she changed that approach.  I firmly believe that she has a heart for this community and the health of all of its members and based all of her decisions on that using a commonsense approach, not the politically expedient ones that most seem to be using.  I will miss having her leadership on a professional level but hope she stays in this community because I value her as a customer, a friend to the store, and a friend to this community!  Good luck in your future endeavors, Martha!

I hope everyone has a great week! Thank you for your continued support through these challenging times and thanks for letting us be a part of your community!

Tom Butler

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