Do something long enough and no matter what goes on around this something one does day in day out, the rhythms remain the same, even if the resulting conditions change.
I changed my age old bike shop business model three years ago now. And yes, it has changed the way I interact with my customers. Mistakes become bigger deals as I have had to learn to walk a narrower financial ledge in order to keep the doors open. No longer is dickering the exception, it is now the rule.The customer is coming in with the idea of spending as little as possible for the product or service they want. The retailer (me) hopes to maximize his profit, but has become used to settling for the minimum profit he needs to get by.
And contrary to what much of the consuming public might think, retailers hate price increases more than they do. More often than not, a retailer will absorb the price hikes as long as they can before they tack on any increases in their store. Unfortunately, recent fuel increases have necessitated many of us to raise our prices more than once a year. I have seen my shipping costs triple over the last three years. Finally after five years of resisting, I find I have to completely go through my labor charges and adjust them upward. I have no choice..........Well, yeah I have a choice, but only one if I want to keep moving forward.
As much as I would like to think the bicycle industry is anti oil, it's very existence depends on oil. Not just the costs of delivering my inventory, but the cost of energy to actually make my inventory has skyrocketed. A bike that I charged say, $350 for three years ago is now approaching $500 or more on many bike shop floors. Yeah I know it is not all energy costs. Much of it is related to exchange rates, national economics, blah, blah blah. But at the heart of every increase somewhere sits the price of oil.
It is appropriate then that crude oil comes out of the ground a stinking sticky goo that attaches itself in permanent stains to anything it touches. It has seeped into our culture and now reigns somewhere near God as the most important thing in our lives. We can deny it's influence on us. But we are just fooling ourselves. Oil runs our lives whether we have a car or not.
A sad reality, but it is the way of our world.