Something To Think About…

It took me a couple of weeks to write this post, because I wanted to make sure that I got it right. I had to let it marinate for a minute. After a particularly grueling day, personally, a couple of weeks ago, I came in to the shop to find this note laying on the floor. It had been pushed through the mail slot by someone who was obviously #tickedoff at me for not being here. IMG_5325

At first I got pretty mad and wanted to scream at the faceless, genderless, writer of the note that wouldn’t they really like to know where I was? In the next moment I realized that it was not their fault, and that I “got it.” That person might have driven from way on the other side of Gurnee or Zion to get here, and they had no clue why I wasn’t here…they just knew that I wasn’t and I’m pretty sure they got pissed about it. I would have, too….for a minute…if I were them.

I also got a couple of voicemail messages from two customers who came by that week and found me gone with no note on the door. They figured that surely something was wrong if a small business is closed mid-week with no note on the door…they wanted to make sure I was alright. That warmed my heart. They “got” it. It also took away some of the sting of that note.

Here’s something most people don’t think about when they go to a small business and the doors are closed during their normal, open hours…there may have been an emergency.

Small business people fight every single day to stay in business. We do all that we can for our customers. Many times we don’t get much sleep or any personal time for days…even weeks…in service of our customers. Oh, and that thing most people look forward to every Friday called a paycheck, is often times some kind of far off dream, because there are things that we need to get for the shop, so we make that our priority. Oh yes, we are most always the last to get paid too…if there is anything left to pay ourselves with, that is.

We don’t complain, because this is what we’ve chosen in life and we get many other benefits from being self-employed, but it’s not an easy road for sure. So as you can imagine, a small business owner would rather do anything other than having to close the shop doors during regular hours, because we have so much on the line.

We try very hard to schedule things before and after hours, but unfortunately, the world works on a schedule, too, and there are times when we have to be at the doctor or dentist, at our kid’s school to pick them up, because they’re sick, or any other number of reasons we could be gone. Just like you, we will get called away from work…we’re human.  Sometimes it’s as simple as our kid has a very special something going on and we’ve decided that for this one time, our kid takes precedence. I’ve done it…and I don’t feel bad about it. I want my son to always remember that I showed up when it was important…not that my store was more important than him. It’s quite a balancing act to be sure and something no small business owner takes lightly.

So what was I doing on that Tuesday afternoon at 4pm? What made it necessary for me to stay away from the shop that day and leave in such a hurry that I never even thought to come and put a note on the door? What made me cause that person to experience a #wasteoftime? What could have been so important for me to inconvenience this person and others who may have come by over those couple of days?

I was in the hospital, at my brother’s side, as he heard the devastating news that he has Stage 4 lung cancer that has metastasized to his brain. I was there doing all that I could to support him, his family, and most especially my elderly father, who never, ever, should have had to hear news like that about his child.

Please, take a moment to consider that the next time you show up at a small business and the door is locked during normal hours. Think about that first, before you’re feeling like you want to write a nasty note or leave a nasty voicemail. We are human beings with human tragedies and responsibilities just like you and everyone else. The last thing we’d ever want to do is disappoint you, but there are times when that may be inevitable.

There are times in life that you just have to show up. This is one of those times for me. Here’s a fair warning, too, over the next several weeks you may come to the shop and find me gone again, although this time I’ve put a general note on the door to explain my absence. I can guarantee here and now that if my family needs me…I’m there…and I’m apologizing in advance to you.

And for the person who wrote the note. If you would have left your name and number I might have had an opportunity to explain and make it up to you, but you never gave me the chance.

 

Epilog: August 3, 2014

My brother lost his fight with cancer today, just five short months after his diagnosis. He would have been 54 in nine days. I have never regretted, not once, the time that I spent with him, nor the few days I had to close my store to be with him. In two cases I helped him realize a dream to do something one more time before he died. I feel privileged  to have been able to do that for him, because he has done so much for me during my lifetime. I will miss him greatly, as will my entire family. He was a really good guy.

We also lost my Pop two months ago…my step-father of 40 years, whom I loved very much. When it rains, it pours. Great news…I was able to get help and we didn’t have to close the shop while we traveled to his service in Tennessee. Let’s just say that 2014 is a year that I’m ready to be rid of!

For those who feel the need to leave nasty or rude comments, or admonish me about, “how dare I close my store!”, I wish you peace and light. There is absolutely nothing more important to me than my family. Nothing. If you can’t understand that, I feel sorry for you. You must be very lonely, indeed.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Fair warning.

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226 Comments

Filed under Did You Know?

226 responses to “Something To Think About…

  1. Terese Byrne

    Well written Trudy! If it causes just one person to stop and think before they react, you’ve made a difference.

    • Thank you, Terese. 🙂 That was my hope!

    • Samantha Atkins

      I am so sorry to hear about your brother, my husband passed away in January after only being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in November. It had also metastasized in his brain, as well as his bones, liver, pancreas, and adrenal gland. I can remember being with him from start to finish and times when I had to leave the hospital for whatever reason and I remember leaving and arriving but the drive was just a blur. I feel for you and your family and I will pray for peace and guidance as you decide on treatment.

    • Emma Joy

      are you joking what was the emergency? your brother cancer? he wasnt dying right then. you waiting til closing time wouldnt have made a difference in his life what so ever. i say this not to be mean but i got the call about my moms brains tumors ..thats right so numerous they felt no need to count them all while i was at work. I didnt leave because i knew someone was there and there would come time that i may actually have to leave in a hurry and i didnt want to waste my time off. as for the note honesty if that bothered you that much you really need thicker skin..something that lame I wouldnt have given a second thought

      • Jessi

        Emma Joy (really joy?change that) are you serious you must not like your mother that much if it was my mom I’m going to her, waste a day off really? My mom would never be a waste! Do you have any humanity within yourself! If any member of my family is ill my business, my job, my friends, my coworkers, and my life will have to wait. No I’m not wasting my precious time to write a stupid note. People need to realize the world does NOT revolve around you, businesses owe you no explanation if I’m closed I’m closed. Deal with it come back another day. Emma I am extremely thankful I do not have to serve your nasty butt, nobody wants customers like you! To me your money is worthless!!! I refuse to sell out to the almighty dollar!

      • Caring Human Being

        Sorry, Emma Joy, but regardless family comes first. In the end nobody ever says they wished they had spent more time at work. Everybody is certainly going to have an opinion on this type of situation, but some people simply have placed a greater priority on their family. Unfortunately, we have become a society where things have become more important than people.

      • Emma Joy

        jessi i liked and loved my mom. Not wasting time off when not necessary allowed me to hold her hand on her dying day and keep my job. yeah thats right i have to keep my job i have a household to run and would have suffered greatly if in addition to losing my mother lost my job too. I didnt ask you to serve me ..my butt isnt nasty (what the heck is wrong with you to say such a thing?)…and i dont think you have a whole lot of room to talk about humanity when you decided its fine say a HORRIBLE thing about how i felt about my deceased mother. I will never understand people who take personal shots at people when its not necessary to get your point across. We are grown ups….right? I know the world doesnt revolve around me. I didnt say anything to imply it did. whats the problem when i said that note wouldnt bother me? it wouldnt I have bigger fish to fry then to give someone else garbage a second thought in the trash that note would go and thats the end of that.. I would never think i had to right to judge someone relationships without knowing them or their circumstances. Half the facts but a whole opinion …such a humanitarian. Maybe you should jump of that high horse you must be light headed or something

        • Jessi

          First, Emma you yes you not I judged her for saying to you her brothers cancer was not an emergency, this is an assumption with a hint of judgement. Second, you attitude towards this is nasty as such I called you out on your nasty personality. Lastly, my high horse is rightfully so as such I work for my friend for FREE so his business gets up and running smoothly. I don’t speak before I think, I don’t talk about it I do it. For me and mine our family comes first. If my mother lets say broke her little toe I’m calling out and being with my mom. I unlike most live way below my income so if I lose my job because I had a family issue not emergency but a simple issue such as my moms dr appts I can live off my savings for three years. So please Emma learn compassion and understanding! This woman had an emergency regardless of if you think it was one or not, the person who wrote the note was wrong, we as a society are too quick to get angered by small things and too slow to care for our own families. This is where you showed your butt, which was nasty your comment was extremely unnecessary. PS her brother was dying guess you also have a comprehension issue as well. I wish you and yours the best in life, may it be long and joyous.

      • JB

        Emma Joy (???) you are a harsh, clueless dolt. Glad my daughters – or any of my family members or friends- are not like you! You don’t have thick skin- you have a heart of stone.

      • Emma Joy

        caring human being i appreciate your reply but i dont think you understand my circumstances I didnt place things over family. Everyone who is saying oh i would have done this or i would have done that i wonder if they have really dealt with this situtation. My Mom went from working to not that very day … no more income. She had insurance but that doesnt pay for everything her prescription cost hundreds of dollars a month. She had dr co pays and she saw the dr lots! She was given just 6 months to live so i knew we would also have funeral cost. Plus just the regular living expenses. It was awful but life doesnt stop. All these things needed to be taken care of plus my own household. I didnt have time ( or money) for whinning or tears. I had to do what needed to be done. and i did and i dont regret it. Im proud of how strong i was when it came down to it. My mother was comfortable and well cared for. You would like to think that the end is all crying hand holding and prayers but its not always like that.

      • Emma Joy

        Jessi now your just rambling on and on the points you are trying to make go nowhere and apply to nothing. You are one of those people who talk to hear themselves speak. and please STOP TALKING ABOUT MY BUTT it NEVER did anything to you.

        • Jessi

          Please refrain from trying to advise me of who or what I am. Everybody does not fit in your box. Emma this post is about small business and family. Not what you would, could, or did do. While I understand your point I simply do not agree with your take. If you own your own business like most of us commenting then you would understand where we are coming from, the general public expects us to always be available and sometimes we can’t provide that, this is what we are saying, small business owners don’t have extra employees and must close sometimes and we can’t leave a note, I’m happy that your mother had others to support her so you could make the money. For me I don’t have that I have to care for mom alone. Everybody is different, I’m sorry you were unable to be with your mom because you were forced to work, hence my comment about preplanning. Sweet heart please enjoy life and have a good one. I’m done with you!

      • Alida

        This is unnecessarily insensitive. She had the ability to leave as it was her own business. She had the choice between 1) be there for possible customers who may or may not show up or 2) go to her family where her mind really was and spend some time with her brother as she knew there wasn’t much left. It was within her power so she did it. The post is meant to get people to think a little bit and realize that everyone is dealing with stuff and that we should all have some compassion.

        • KVN

          That was it, Alida… that’s what I wanted to write before I saw your choice. We all have to make decisions in hard times, no need to get angry about it. I can see Joy’s point of view (keeping up with work is HARD) as well as Trudy’s…. we balance things, and we each need some space to make our own choices without being judged. (Yikes.)

      • Beth

        Emma
        just because your a heartless B**** and don’t give a crap about your family and feel spending time with your dying mother is a waste of “Your time off” don’t assume others feel the same way.

      • Joanne

        Emma.. You should be ASHAMED of yourself!! How DARE you be so heartless and cruel to this woman who obviously has enough on her plate without your comments!! I am not judging you as to why you did or did not go to the hospital when you got calls re your Mom (RIP).. so WHO THE HELL ARE YOU!!! to judge!! Everyone deals with things differently, and at the end of the day, the money she may have lost for having left her shop is only that.. MONEY!! No amount of money can ever replace someone we love, and she put aside her own feelings re her brother to unselfishly be there to support him and her aging father. May Karma never show her face to you on you on this one Ms Emma (not) Joy! and my final words on this posting to Trudy.. It has been many yrs since I’ve lost my mother and then my father, and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t miss them.. so do what is in your heart.. spend as much time as you can with your brother, and with your father as he is elderly and needs you.. but pls. don’t forget to take care of yourself as well… give yourself time to absorb all that is going on, to feel your own pain and sadness. I send you hugs, strength and sunshine.

      • Nikky

        That was your choice!, this person WANTED to spend every min. They could with their loved one!, everybody makes their own choices!, and how do you know if it made a difference in the persons life?, every minute counts!, I for one would have left my store in a heartbeat so my ill sister or brother would know that I am by their side through such a sad and difficult time!

    • kendo

      I would have said, “I closed an hour early because I waited all day and you didn’t show up. Don’t worry, you didn’t waste my time at all” Nice use of hashtag in a handwritten message, lol. “How did I know you were going to come? The same way you knew I was going to be closed”.

      I love shopping and doing business with small businesses, especially with friendly, good people and they will always get that from me as a patron. If I am traveling a distance I will almost always give them a call first. If on some chance they’re not open, I’m sure I’ll catch them some other time.

      Nice article, sorry to hear of your brothers hardship. I wish you all the best.

  2. Joan Brown

    I know exactly what you mean. My late brother passed away(at age 35) from a rapidly spreading cancer in 1977. He was sick for six weeks. My parents weren’t what would really be considered elderly, but my mother always said “parents should never have to bury their kids.”

    • So sorry to hear about your brother, Joan. Your mother was right…it’s not the natural way of things. I can’t imagine what she went through…or you, for that matter. Hard to lose a sibling so young. Out of something bad comes something good and we have been able to find some blessings hidden in our tragedy, which has helped. Thank you for your comments.

  3. Jolanda Epskamp

    Sorry to hear about your Brother!
    My husband and I run a small business too, which makes it easy for us to both work semi-part time ( even on our time off, there are emails to read and reply too, suppliers to chase etc) and we were discussing something like this happening and we know we would both just close shop and be where we need to be!
    Actually we are taking a holiday for 5 weeks soon and visit my family in Europe for the fist time in 25 years because life i too short not to

  4. Laura Rodriguez

    “Many times we don’t get much sleep or any personal time for days…even weeks…in service of our customers.”
    Oh please. Everyone, small business or corporate executive, works to live, eat, breathe — get paid. So stop acting like a martyr. You’re getting paid, not volunteering to feed starving children with the Peace Corps. Hire help.

    • Laura, you are absolutely right, everyone works to eat and breath, however, unlike the rest of the world small business owners are NOT guaranteed a paycheck. It’s the plain truth. Would you work sixty hours a week without the promise of getting paid? Small business owners do it every week, week after week, month after month, year after year. I wasn’t acting like a martyr…I was stating a plain fact. I also said that I wasn’t complaining, because I didn’t get into being a business owner for the money, if I did I would have been sorely disappointed by now. Actually it is almost like volunteering…my husband calls this my “hobby,” because I don’t bring home a check.

      Until you’ve walked a mile in the shoes of a business owner, you can’t really offer solutions that often times are not viable.

      • Cindie

        I am completely with you! In any job, whether it is your own small business or you are working for someone, your family always comes first. People need to realize that not everything revolves around them. I work, have 4 daughters ages 14, 23, 32 and 33 and 10 grandchildren. If I am needed to be with them in place of work; I will be there. You aren’t being a martyr and Laura, that was very disrespectful. People need to understand there are emergencies that come up. Getting paid? Small businesses have the biggest problems getting paid. People seem to put those bills at the end of their usual billings, but they need to pay them for the services they receive. I don’t know you, but I completely agree with you! Sorry to hear about your brother also, hope he feels better.

      • Barbara Pyatt

        While you are ‘playing’ store, other serious shop owners are actually trying to make a living with their business. There are many small business owners who habitually close early or open late, with no desire or attempt to keep regular hours. If you are just ‘playing’, then please put a permanent note stating such, so that those of us who do travel a good distance will know not to go there… Nothing is more irritating on a shopping trip than to go to a shop and find it does not stand by it’s regular/posted hours. I had a shop for over 20 years, and I did everything I could to be open, as my posted hours showed. Sure, I had emergencies and made sure I took care of them, but they were rare and I did all I could to find a way to keep the shop open…My customers showed their appreciation by shopping regularly and often.
        I express my sympathy for any family issues you had to deal with, but you cannot use just any ‘family issue’ or whim to ‘take a day off’ as an excuse to open/close your shop whenever it suits you, without expecting to hear negative remarks or get notes from those who attempt to patronize your business.
        Maybe you should actually find a volunteer job helping someone else keep their shop open with regular hours so they can make a living… They would certainly appreciate the help. Blessings… Barbara Pyatt

        • Barbara, thank you for your response, however, you are quick to make assumptions about the hours I keep when I don’t believe I recognize you, or that you have actually ever been to my store, and would know the hours I do, or do not keep. If I chose to “open/close my shop whenever it suits..” me, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to run a successful business for the last ten years as I have.

          Would you not consider being at your brother’s side for a cancer diagnosis “rare,” as you so aptly put it? I don’t really consider that “just any family issue.” If you think that I, or anyone else for that matter, would use something like that as an excuse to get a day off, I feel sorry for you. Blessings…

      • Kari

        Laura is obviously having a bad day. My mom was diagnosed with AML seven years ago. It was sudden. We got a call to come in immediately after the doctor had said, I will see you next week unless it’s bad news. We all knew what that meant and dropped what we were doing to go be with my parents when they received the news – including my executive husband., who, btw, has 4 weeks paid vacation, 10 sick days, personal days, jury duty days, etc. etc. My favorite quote is ‘Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.’

    • caffeine316

      Most Small Business Owners do not take home a pay check. They may not take one home for a few YEARS after opening. It may be hard for you to comprehend, but it is absolutely true.

    • Laura,
      Not everyone can afford to hire help. Apparently you are not a small business owner. We recently expanded and “hired help” between the workman’s compensation insurance, employers’ taxes, social security, and unemployment insurance it is very costly and has eaten any profit expansion has made. In December when I went to pay the FUTA on my 6 part time employees. I owed $53.23b and when I clicked to pay a button popped up and said due to the fact that the State of RI had not paid it’s outstanding loans to the federal government I would now have to pay $132.45. Yes, $79.22 more than originally owed!!! There are many businesses in the town I live in where the owners have not had a paycheck in months and some years. We lost 18 businesses in 2007 in the downtown area of our small town alone. Things seem to steady for a bit but 5 more have closed in the last 3 months. Good solid businesses, one that had been in business for 30 years. The owner hadn’t had a check in 3 years. His wife worked as a teacher providing income and benefits. But hey, thanks for your understanding attitude.

    • tammy

      Do you own a business? Have you walked a mile in her shoes… If you would have included what she said after the part you quoted your point would be irrelevant. She said she is not complaining because she did this to herself. God people are just so quick to judge.

    • D.

      Often a start-up business can’t afford to pay themselves, much less an employee, and the payroll taxes and health insurance. By you’re comments, I seriously doubt you have ever owned your own business.

    • Kate

      Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. First off, I don’t think Trudy was making a comparison to anyone else with that statement so I’m not sure why the insult is necessary.

      Secondly, I live in both worlds — both as a corporate executive and as a co-owner of a small business with my husband. And I can speak first hand to the fact that being a small business owner IS harder. There are oftentimes no paychecks for the owners until several years into the business so that you can invest in inventory, pay marketing expenses AND hire help.

      So really, before you judge, think about what that other person is going through. I just don’t know how that’s constructive.

      And, Trudy, I get you. I’m sorry for what you’re going through and as a fellow small business owner, I appreciate that you wrote it.

    • anon

      Wow you obviously have no idea about the demands on a small business owner when their business is struggling. Most of the time we underpay ourselves or not pay ourselves at all just to keep our business going. i think that the person that is writing this (Designs on you) has approached this really well and was not making herself a ‘martyr’.

    • Nathaniel

      Wow, I cannot believe that you took the time to say something so egregious. You are truly a heartless and ignorant individual Laura. I feel sorry that you felt you had to write this.

  5. Sarah

    Alot of small businesses are always closed on Sunday and Monday. Many small shops in my area are that way and hair salons have traditionally always kept that schedule. That way, you have Mondays to take care of personal things. It’s very frustrating for customers to find a business closed and they eventually lose interest and shop someplace else. Please look at it from the customer’s stand point. You are dependent on them and should respect that.

    • Sarah, as a consumer I understand what you are saying. It can be frustrating to find a shop closed, but often times the owner of a business has no one for back-up. There could be a myriad of reasons why that is so, but far and wide that is the case. To be honest, if I just had someone in here keeping the seat warm, as it were, customers would become even more frustrated, because what we do here is so specialized that they would really be of no help without extensive training. Believe me, it’s not something that any business owner takes lightly and I really appreciate your feedback and the civilized way in which you gave it. 🙂

    • Cindie

      If there is an emergency which involves a sibling or child, I am going to be where I am needed. If I run out and forget to leave a note explaining why then it has to be done. I’m not being disrespectful to my customers intentionally; I am being worried about my family member and current situation. Why can’t people understand that? It wasn’t intentional!

    • D.

      Yes Sarah! Please let’s schedule all of our emergencies on Sunday and Monday!

    • Marcy

      Yes, Sarah, I’m sure next time she’ll tell doctors to hold off on delivering devastating news until it’s convenient for her business. Christ, really?

      My dad owns his own business with 3 employees. I know how much he spends on taxes, (what tax breaks?) workers comp, liability insurance, health insurance, plus general overhead and salaries. It’s ridiculous. It’s hard to be a small business owner. I commend anyone who does it.

      • I have MS and run a computer repair shop. I changed my schedule at the beginning of the year to being closed on Wednesdays and now I work on Saturday to make up for it. I did this so yes I could schedule doctors appointments and things on Wednesday. However, there are times that I just can’t be here during posted business hours. It’s just me. I’m not a big enough shop to hire anyone. Wish I were. I try to give as much notice as possible if I know in advance. There are times though that it just isn’t possible. There has to be a give and take. I have customers who can’t make it to me during posted hours. I’ve stayed after posted hours and I’ve come in before posted hours to take care of my customers. I live in a small community so maybe that’s the difference. I do depend on my customers and hate if I have to close at an unscheduled time. I understan it’s frustrating to them. If they need to take their business to someone else I get it. But I think for the most part they get it too. I’m not Best Buy or Wal-mart. I’m the girl in the little shop that tries her best and will bend over backwards to help you. I too have customers that would call to find out if I were ok if I was closed for a period of time. I had customers volunteering to help me move. Those are my people. The ones that take up the attitude that my lifes struggles were put in place to inconvience them, well, they can take it somewhere else.

  6. I remember when I heard my mom was in a car accident that all I could think of was getting to the hospital…that day my son had the vehicle and one of my customers (my angel) helped me bring everything inside the store, we locked it and flew to the hospital…even now I cannot remember if I even thought of leaving a note…I am pretty sure I didnt post anything…

  7. Rachel Carey

    My husband lost his youngest brother and sister. A double-hit for his parents. Especially so since both deaths could have been prevented. In this non-feeling world, let’s think a minute BEFORE we act. I feel for you, sometimes life just gets in the way and other things are just more important.

  8. All I can say is WOW you really hit the nail on the head! I have such great respect for anyone trying to run a small business in these trying days. I really hope as this gets shared that the ones with that tendency to leap and comment before stopping and thinking will read this and learn. Thank you for opening MY eyes a bit more.

  9. kathy Iwami

    Very well written. My dad owned a small business which each of my siblings worked at for many years. It is a wonderful and challenging choice! When family events happen, it is challenging to decide who will work or if the business will be closed! The shop became another family member. 🙂 I hope you enjoy your choice as much as we did. Prayers for your family as you walk through this difficult time with your brother.

  10. Every time I encounter a rude person I think to myself, “What if their mother died this morning?”. You never know what people are going through, and I find giving them the benefit of the doubt is not only less stressful on me, it’s less stressful for them too. Sometimes understanding and a kind word can change everything.

  11. As a shop owner, I can tell you I appreciated your article in a way that a lot of other people might not. I got pneumonia last month, and I was only forced to close my doors for a couple of hours– because I have a wonderful pool of employees and former coworkers to draw from who came and saved my butt.

    I’m really sorry to hear about your brother.

    I hope your customers understand and will treat you with #respect from now on. A suggestion I can make that might help you and your customers get through this without getting angry — be honest. Don’t put up a cryptic sign that says “closed due to family emergency” — they will be a lot more compassionate and understanding if they feel like they are “included in the know” and have a story about why your shop might be closed. It sucks, not having any privacy, and I know how obnoxious it is to have EVERYONE know your life and want to talk to you about it– but it might save you some angry notes or bad online reviews.

    Wishing you all the best.

    • Thanks so much, Meredith. Actually, I’ve received nothing but kind and caring responses and messages from my regular customers. I had put a quick message on facebook that day, apparently the note writer didn’t see that. 🙂 I am also planning on adding that post to my email that goes out tomorrow to give my most loyal customers a “heads up.” The note on the door only explains that my family is experiencing a medical emergency and if they are there, and I’m not, I’m attending to that somehow. It also asks them to email or leave a message that they were there so that I can make it up to them…and I will! Most people are very kind, and like I said in the post, I’m not blaming that person. I probably would have been mad, too. I was just hoping to give people the added perspective of what it’s like for us business owners when life gets in the way during work hours.

      Thank you so much for the great advice and kind words. Both are well appreciated!

      • J Thomasson

        I agree with Meredith…….but….. I also know that in the REAL WORLD of “retail” unfortunately, there will always be the pitifully narcissistic people who just don’t care…… ……I also believe that the “Karma bus” …will someday pull up and honk for “them”, mandatory that they board the bus!…..especially when they are in a time of crisis! but before they can take their seat…….one of the MANY things they will have to remove before taking “said seat”, will be “that nasty note”!!!! let this go…it’s taking the energy you’re already losing with your breaking heart!

        many, many prayers for you and your family!

  12. “I can guarantee here and now that if my family needs me…I’m there…and I’m apologizing in advance to you.”
    You owe no apology for this. Period.

  13. Becky Wall

    Your family should always come first. I’m sure there have been plenty of days when hardly no one came into your store.Hopefully, this person will read this.

  14. Chad CHARTIER

    Small businesses only succeed with paying clients and referrals, a simple note on the door letting customers know there was a family emergency could have avoided the situation. This customer chose to do business with you. You were not there for a VERY good reason and I would have done the same as you and been with my brother. But I certainly wouldn’t be upset with a paying customer because you feel you have a valid reason to. Learn from it and communicate better in the future so you don’t have people telling others they made a trip to your business only to find locked doors during posted hours. I think many of you are missing the point. Business is business, you have to seperate personal from it to succeed, or you may find the doors will be locked for good. On a personal note I am sorry to hear of the news regarding your brother. That ranks as one of the hardest things a person can hear, and I am truly sad for you and your family.

    • Chad, thank you for your kind words for my brother and for your feedback. I think what people aren’t getting here is that I’m not complaining, or mad at the note writer for getting upset. I understand why they were upset, and as noted in the post, if it were me standing at the closed door I would have been pissed, too…I was just trying to educate people and give them a different perspective on perhaps why that door was closed…and with it some understanding, not just for me and this situation, but for all Mom & Pop businesses who struggle with this.

      Had I the time, I certainly would have driven to the store to put a note on the door, but there was no time for that, so I did the next best thing I could think of…I posted it onto my facebook page. I realize that not everyone is going to see that, but it was the only option open to me on that day…time was of the essence.

      I’ve been in business for ten years here in the store and eighteen years with my other business and have worked mostly solo in all of that time. I absolutely understand that business is business, but I am a human first, with human situations in my life. Believe me, the last thing I’d ever want to do is inconvenience or disappoint a customer…I wouldn’t have been in business this long if I made a habit out of that, but sometimes it is unavoidable…and as many a solo-preneur can attest, we are oft times faced with this very situation…just not in such a dire way. I will take your words to heart. Thank you. 🙂

  15. TheOtherSide

    You’re in business to make money. You are not doing any of your customers favors. They demand a service from you to earn their money. While you may be having a hard time, all of them have as well. If you can’t be there, make sure someone is. It’s your business, It’s your job to service your customers. If you can’t be there it’s your job to be sure someone can or you are doing your customers a disservice no matter what the personal issue is.

    Can’t believe you would complain about a customer being upset that your business was closed for what seemed to be no apparent reason because you couldn’t even take the time or get someone else to post a sign saying that you were closed. Obviously this person wanted to pay you for what you offer and you complain.. When your business goes under i’m sure you will be one of the first to blame Walmart and the like for it as well.

    • Dear Talkischeap, (sorry, you didn’t sign your name, so I’m using your email handle.) Wow. Thank you for your understanding and compassion, as I can surmise from your comments that you are a most compassionate person. You are right. What a fool I was for rushing to be at my brother’s side when someone obviously wanted to spend their money here. The indignation! Gosh, being successfully in business as a start-up for ten years has taught me nothing. Shame on me.

      I guess that when I’m on my deathbed I should be regretting disappointing that person, and not my brother who has been there for me during a very horrific tragedy in my life…without hesitation. That’s just a personal problem after all. What the heck was I thinking?

      I thought I was clear in the post that I wasn’t trying to complain, but rather give a different perspective to people, and to admit, publicly, that I understood the note writer’s position. Again, what was I thinking? People obviously don’t care about that when they have stuff they want to buy! How correct you are and shame on me for even thinking that…obviously.

      I guess since I’ve been doing it successfully like this for ten years, that the business going under is a sure thing…I’ll have to start penning my “It’s All Walmart’s Fault” post now, rather than reach out to my true customers in an effort to explain. Thanks so much for your kind words. How lucky the world is to have people like you in it. Thanks again for your compassion, feedback and wisdom. Good to know.

    • TheOtherOtherSide

      You are QUITE the D!ckbag, “TheOtherSide”. Troll somewhere else, please. You obviously didn’t read the entire writeup, If you did,…well you just exposed your idiocy to the world! YAY! ….moron.

    • hometechnologyspecialist

      The difference between a small business owner and someone who has never walked in their shoes (I have) is that the owner asks themselves when a client walks in is “How can I help them?”. Those of you who work for someone else think “Whats in it for me?”. Everyone’s time is important, and everyone’s has the same amount each day. I often worked 6 ten hour days a week, just in the store front, to be available to my clients. After hours was for bookkeeping, paying bills and proposals. And the paychecks can be few and far between. Owners are required to be receptionist, accountant, salesperson, troubleshooter, purchasing agent, receiver of goods, merchandiser and web master all at the same time. That’s why a client can still pick up the phone, check facebook or send an email to a small business owner and get an honest, knowledgeable answer. After hours and weekends, they will often respond. Try that at your average Walmart or Best Buy.

      Walmart is actually the single largest employer drag on our US Economy, as their substandard benefits require that a great number of their employees receive government assistance just to make ends meet. When our country goes under, remember who thought it was small business owners that were the problem – for TheOtherSide. Keep shopping at Walmart…please. I’ll choose a small business.

      Trudy – All my best to your family during this time, Kudos to you for trying to explain, in a very simple way, what a small business owner faces on a daily basis..and that choosing family first on occasion, is not a sin. Let those who don’t understand vote with their wallets and shop somewhere else. Don’t waste any more of your time explaining – you have a brother that you want to spend time with. 🙂

      The problem with Big Box stores and shopping online is that people know the price of everything, but the value of nothing…

      • @hometechnologyspecialist…thank you. I appreciate your kind words and am going to take your advice. I realized yesterday that it is fruitless to try and explain further, and quite honestly, I don’t have time to waste on haters…I’ve got a business to run! 🙂

        You stated so eloquently what I was trying to convey. Thank you. You’re Awesome. Have a great day!

      • One more thing…I will be quoting you from here to eternity with the line, “The problem with Big Box stores and shopping online is that people know the price of everything, but the value of nothing…” BRILLIANT! Well said! Thank you!

    • Meaghan

      The next time you have a family emergency, let’s see how efficient you are at remembering all the things that you “should” have in place before you tend to that emergency.

  16. Mel

    My husband also owns a small business. He chose to start the business here in town instead of a larger community close by for one reason. He is a volunteer EMT and fire fighter for our community. He can get called away several times a week for an ambulance call or fire. We live in a very small town, so there are not very many businesses. Most people who live here work elsewhere during the day. There are others around to take calls during the evenings but If he was not willing and able to leave his business during the day the ambulance calls may not get covered. He also tries to leave a note, but if he gets called out at 6:00 am for a fire and is still on the scene 5 hours later he is not able to do that. And to that person that thinks the answer is to just “hire help” they are not living in the real world. A small business cannot afford to hire someone to just be there in case the owner has to be gone in an emergency. Luckily everyone in our community knows and understands.

  17. Lauren

    I’m having a hard time understanding how people can be so upset about your action. To the people commenting negatively on this article: The author isn’t saying that it’s OK to close up shop randomly on any given day. Surely it’s beyond frustrating when it is just random irresponsibility, but with the effort it takes for a small business owner to stay stable and competitive, do you really think random irresponsibility happens that often?

    The problem I see is that consumers have really lost sight of life priorities, and we’re so impatient that we jump down anybody’s throat who we perceive to be an obstacle. But, seriously. It would be way better for your mental health if, when you walked up to a shop door, and found it was closed unexpectedly, instead of getting so upset that it consumes you and you’re driven to stick an angry note through the mail slot and let it ruin your whole day (… I am just mystified by this), WHY WOULDN’T YOU JUST turn around, and go on with your list of errands, and possibly stop somewhere else to pick up what you needed at another store? Not a big deal, man. Even if it took a few extra minutes and a little extra gas, why get yourself worked up over it? There are alternate locations. This shop is probably not your one last urgent hope (and if it was, you wouldn’t have the time to stick around and write a bitchy note about it). And if you drove an hour to get there–first of all, I wouldn’t drive an hour to any specialized shop without calling in advance to make sure the place had what I was looking for, so that would have solved the problem straightaway–just use the smartphone that you probably have if you’re writing HASHTAGS in pencil, and Google another place in the area that might carry it. Easier than Yellow Pages.

    People need to relax. All this anger and impatience and judgment isn’t doing anybody any karmic favors. Jeez. Reading parts of this comment section is like reading about people moaning about Black Friday sales not starting until Friday. I can’t think of anything besides medicine that I would urgently NEED that couldn’t wait until I got off work the next day or that couldn’t be found at another store right down the street.

    To the author: I’m very sorry to hear about your brother. That makes my heart ache, I can’t imagine the emotional upheaval you and your family must be going through. You’re right to prioritize family, and I wish you all peace and strength.

    • @Lauren…very good points, and you are absolutely right…the karmic wheel is always turning. Life is too short to be negative. 🙂 You cracked me up with your witty insight. Thank you. I’m in sore need of a chuckle right about now!

    • Katlady

      Oh my goodness Lauren, I love you! You summed up everything I was thinking in such a nice way that I wasn’t able to do because I was getting so worked up and angry about all the rude posts on here! I come from a family who owned a small business and understand fully the struggles, and I’m appalled by all the people posting about how as a shop owner it’s your “duty to serve.” I now work in customer service and am appalled on a daily basis by the way people treat me because it’s my job to “serve” them. I just think it is so sad what the world is coming to. I am very sorry to hear about this shop owner’s brother’s diagnosis….that is truly some of the worst news one can hear. But speaking from personal experience myself, having lost my mother last year to stage 4 cancer, I think that the best people are the ones who are leaving us much too early. But then I’m thankful that they don’t have to be here dealing with these jerks who don’t have any consideration for other human beings, and maybe they were able to leave this world thinking the best of everyone, because isn’t that how it’s really supposed to be?

  18. Kicky

    The thing is… I don’t think I would open a shop unless I could afford to have two employees there at a time. I can’t imagine being the only employee. So many crazy things could happen. I think most people would expect you to have a backup person that could take over in an emergency situation and that’s why they don’t understand you being shut at 4pm on a Tuesday.

    • @Kicky…a small business owner would love to be able to afford to have two employees on the floor at one time, all the time. Unfortunately, that is not a real option for the majority of Mom & Pop businesses out there. 🙂

  19. Toni

    I’m a small business owner, too. People don’t get it. “Just hire someone!” Right. I’ll get right on that. I can’t even afford to pay myself much less someone else. Unless you’ve been a small business owner/manager (especially in an economy like this), you have no room to judge. We live in a society of convenience. People want things when they want them and that’s usually NOW (or yesterday). It doesn’t occur to some that SBO’s have a life beyond their public facade. I was back to work 6 days after I had a baby. No, not 6 weeks – DAYS. (And I was fielding emails and calls before that.) I love what I do, and I’m obviously not in it for the money or I would have quit long ago.

    Best wishes to you and your family. Be there for your brother. He needs you more now. And, please, don’t neglect to take care of yourself in this trying time.

  20. don limbourgh

    So sorry to hear about your brothers health. Of course the most basic of courtesies that can be shown to a small business owners customers would be to have a sign in the shop door stating that the business is closed due to a family emergency. Obviously this sign can be made prior to any emergency and simply placed in the door on the way out, which literally takes a few seconds.

    A alternative voice mail is also available to prerecord in almost all systems as well, so simply switching to that prerecorded message would also only take seconds. People who are traveling a considerable distance can always check by calling first, heck I call larger stores to confirm stock even when it shows stock on their website since inventories have been known to be wrong and there is no sense making a trip for nothing.

    Again, sorry to hear about your brother, I wish the best possible outcome for him and your whole family.

    • “Obviously this sign can be made prior to any emergency and simply placed in the door on the way out, which literally takes a few seconds.” Not if she was at home when she got the call and never made it in to work that day, which is what happened. From reading her replies to some of the comments, it sounds like she went straight to her family and didn’t swing by the shop. As someone who was trying to do “work” work on the floor next to her father’s deathbed because nobody at Big Scary Corporate Job told me I didn’t have to, I’m glad for her that she has the mental strength not to be spending her time at the hospital calling friends to try to get someone to come over and put up a sign, but concentrate on what’s important.

  21. Emily

    Excellent job on this! After being self employed for 12 years and having numerous family emergencies that took precedence of my store it is refreshing to see this. I hope more people will think before complaining.

  22. Bob

    Thank your for the write up, it is a good reminder that empathy, understanding and compassion can go a long way. Stuff happens. Unfortunately I read several responses above that made my heart hurt a little bit. Barbara’s (and several others) showed a complete lack of understanding of your humanity. I can’t help but wonder if some of that desensitizing comes from shopping at the Walmart type stores where workers are a thing, a commodity. We are no longer a community, we are just consumers….I agree with you, it is unfortunate that the note writer did not leave contact info which would have allowed you to rectify the situation.

    • @Bob…thank you for the kind comments. I love the line you used…”We are no longer a community, we are just consumers…” Brilliant! I will be quoting you in the future. 🙂

  23. This may be completely out of left field but is there any chance you can post the angry note, along with your response, to your facebook page? Extend that offer again (along with an explanation). Hopefully the author will respond. Very best wishes to you and yours!

    • Hi Kerry,
      Great suggestion! I actually posted it to my facebook page right away, because I was hoping that the note writer would see it. My guess is, that the note writer got so pissed at me, that if they had liked my page, they probably went straight home and unliked it that afternoon.
      To be honest, I’ve let it go and I’m done with it…time to move on. I wrote this post and sent it out to the Universe. Life is too short to keep looking in the rear view mirror…I’m a look forward through the windshield kind of gal. 🙂

  24. Trudy, so sorry to hear about your brother’s diagnosis…I can’t even imagine. I own a small retail store that I have run for 6 years. We recently recently expanded and added a tea room. Two weeks ago my mother passed away quite unexpectedly. Running these two operations truly takes up all my time and I work 14-16 hour days. We are open 7 days a week. My siblings asked me to hold a reception after my mother’s burial on a Monday in the tea room. I put a note on the door explaining the situation, posted in all our social media and sent out an email marketing newsletter. Most of my customers were so amazing. But there were a couple of angry ones..one who even pounded loudly on the locked door while the reception going on with the posted notice inches from her nose. Sigh…Once I had a customer who came in for counter service and we were very busy and so I offered her a tea menu to peruse and told her I would be with her in a moment as soon as I brought the order I was working on to the table. Do you know she came around that counter and got in my face and said, “I just want what I want!” It took everything I had not to burst out laughing! Here she was a grown woman and she reminded me of my two year old granddaughter. I just don’t know what on earth is wrong with people…really messed up priorities!

  25. don limbourgh

    As I read my comments I realize that they were not phrased well at all. I should note that my suggestions were meant for all small business owners to think about before they are in the middle of a emergency, not while in the middle of a emergency. In other words, easy things we can do before the inevitable emergencies that all small business owners will face at sometime in the future.

    I’m sorry that my phrasing made it sound like I was insensitive to your situation at the time of your family emergency, and that was not my intent. My sincerest apologies for that.

    • No apology needed, Don, but thank you for the clarification about the timing. I, in no way, considered that you were being insensitive, but, rather, trying to offer a viable solution. 🙂

  26. Sarah Bizosky

    Trudy,

    Any person who has walked into your store knows that you live and breathe your business. What you do is beyond a hobby, it’s a passion. Any small business owner out there knows that passion is what makes their feet hit the ground every morning and drives them to handle all other issues, most times late into the night. Anyone who has any dissension to your sound reasoning need to get back to the very roots of a small town and small business owners. Maybe the note should have read, “Trudy, sorry to have missed you. I hope everything is well.” And then included a name and number.

    I am and will continue to be a loyal and vocal customer of yours. Blessings to you, your brother, and your entire family.

  27. Shay

    I’m sorry, but someone who would leave a #hashtag on a hand written note is, for lack of a better term, a #narcissisticjerk.
    It is so nice to hear that so many people have never experienced the sort of family/personal tragedy that would cause them to forget all else and run out in a panic to be by the side of their loved one. That’s the only reason I can think of that would cause someone to be a jerk in this situation.
    Stores are closed at times, big deal, get over it. I shop at local mom & pops knowing full well they are people with lives, that often give up their personal time to accommodate me. If I’m so inconvenienced, I am more than capable of going to a big box discount store to get a cheaper product if it is soooo urgent that I have it now.

  28. I live in an island community and totally understand the nature of the small businesses. It would never occur to me in a million years to ever leave an inflammatory note if I found their door locked. There could be a thousand reasons why and one even as simple as a trip to the restroom. You just go on your way and plan to come back later, or another day. Perhaps the next time you’ll call first. You take that consideration and you make those choices because to me it’s much more important to support a local business than it is to be annoyed because they were called away for a short while. I can always come back.

    My thoughts are with you and your family. Bless you all.

  29. Paula

    When my Mother was in the hospital I dropped everything, packed my daughter in the car and drove like a maniac for five hours to get to the hospital. We arrived 15 minutes before she slipped into a coma. I posted a note online (thankfully, all that was required for my online based business) but if I had to stop at my shop to post a note on the door I would have deprived my daughter the ability to tell her Grandmother goodbye. Some things are simply more important than work.

    I have occasionally (albeit very rarely) encountered one of my favorite small shops closed during posted business hours. My first though is always, “OMG, I hope they didn’t go out of business”. I like to shop small, and I realize that the only way I can continue to do that is by continuing to patronize that business. If I have to circle back later and they are open, I am ecstatic, not mad (although I have casually made mention of the missed opportunity for which I am usually rewarded for any inconvenience and my loyalty).

    Last I checked, the business is called “Designs on You”. Not, “Brain Surgery on You”, “Put the fire out on You” or even “Daycare for You”. Not that any small business should be more important than any other but, life happens. Like I said, some things are just more important.

  30. Trudy,
    I’m from another state, but I met you at a Retail Mastery convention a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve read your thoughtful responses on their blog, helping other small retails with the assorted dilemmas we all have. I’m sorry that you have had such personal agony over the random negative comments here. I hope you can see all of the overwhelming support for you and your family and shed the few negative (and some positively awful ones) posted here.

    My husband and I have owned a small business for nearly 40 years and have had our share of personal crisis over those years. The most memorable negative ones were a couple of customer’s responses when we missed several deadlines (we are screen printer/embroiderers also) when my father-in-law was killed in a car accident and my mother-in-law was critically injured, spending over three months in the hospital. As you can imagine, our world was turned upside down and work was the last thing we could think about. We had a few employees at that time, but none that could take the helm during our absence. We called every customer that we missed a shipment on and most were sympathetic and understanding, but two specifically yelled into the phone “that’s not my problem! (expletives flying.) Yes, they were right, but it stung horribly all the same. I was a whopping 20 year old at the time and I learned some valuable life lessons from that experience, the number one being empathy for others.

    You’re a super business woman, you did the right thing and once this dust settles, you won’t regret that decision. I mentioned my mother-in law…she went on to die of cancer, so we totally understand the many emotions you and your family are going through figuring out how to best support your brother. I hope all of this attention puts a positive spotlight on your business and your ethics and you flourish and thrive! God bless you all!

    Bev

    • Bev, your kind words mean more than you can know. I can’t even imagine how someone could treat you like that…you are so kind. As you know, I have admired your business for many years now…even long before we met. Your words have meaning to me, because I so respect you as a business woman. Thank you for your support and for sharing such a private moment in your life. You are amazing. 🙂

  31. Jessi

    The people who are giving negative feedback are really pissing me off, let me explain my qualifications to even be able to speak on this, my dear friend owns a small business that I work at while I’m going to school full time. Ok, now my point, my friend started his business about 4 months ago and is working hard to make ends meet. I work for him and I know as of now we are not turning the best profit possible so what do I do…I work for FREE. Yes I work for FREE, I know many people don’t understand why but I’m investing my time and energy into his business to help him succeed. Now, all small business owners wish they had a me, but I’m only one person. So, to all the nay Sayers why don’t you help instead of complain? Why don’t you volunteer your spare time? Why don’t you invest in someone else? Why just sit back and type instead of help with solutions? Now, off to my unpaid job I go!!!!! Oh last point when he does make it he’ll remember all the sleepless nights I put in, all the unpaid hours I worked, and all the love I give our customers!

    • Jessi, you are an AWESOME friend!! 🙂 Thank you for your comments and insight. I think there is probably a special place in Heaven for you. The world needs more people like you.

    • Marylou

      You are right!! This shows you are passionate and believe in this wonderful business your friend has. This conversation was about a small business and taking care if customers. It’s funny how most of the people on here drag in their personal problems. They would never make it in owning a small business.

  32. Brooke Tryner

    Well stated, I do not know you or even where your store is, but any human being with a heart can understand your situation. And to Barbara Pyatt…how dare you sit and judge another person, are you God?! NO YOU ARENT!! No one cares about your opinion, and how dare you be such a hypocrite to say “blessings” I would be surprised if you have ever even stepped foot in a church. Or maybe your one of those people that sit in church and try to judge everyone else, wow, your on a fasttrack to hell. Anyone that actually cares about other people can understand this mans situation, and anyone who doesn’t is just one of those people out there that thinks the world revolves around them. God Bless you and your family during these hard times and always my friend. I hope that your business continues to thrive as it has for the last ten years.
    Sincerely,
    Brooke

  33. I have a small business and I do “get it”. Sorry about your brother.

  34. Trudy……..I am soooo very sorry about your brother. My sister lost her husband (my beloved brother-in-law) one year ago next month with the same diagnosis. It is a really difficult time and so very hard to watch one you love got through this transition. To be honest I am not sure why I am writing this except to blow off steam I guess. I have gotten so hot reading some , too many, responses that I am “well done and ready for carving’!!!!! It is beyond comprehension that there actually were that many insensitive peoples comments in “the other side venue”!!!!! I am sorry……but at a time like that….THERE IS NO OTHER SIDE!!!!!
    You were where you needed to be……period……end of subject.
    OK…..now I have vented…….feeling better…..Please accept my heartfelt condolences for this difficult time for you and your family. I don’t know where you are located or I would volunteer to “babysit” your shop when needed. I feel your pain and I will be sending prayers and loving comforting thoughts your way………I am a believer in quantum physics and believe that strong thoughts can be transferred ………..hopefully they will reach you quickly and God’s loving embrace will wrap around you and your family and hold you close and help you try and glean some small degree of understanding. It is so hard to come to terms with the circle of life when someone’s time is up….but we must believe there is a reason. I lost a 16 yr. old grandson by suicide 6 years ago and I’m still workin’ on that one…….but I do believe that there was a reason why God allowed it…….. it has just taken me awhile to get there …….

    Most sincerely, Judy

    • Judy, thank you so much for your kind words and prayers. You’re right, God does have a plan and it’s our job to let Him do His work…the blessings will eventually be revealed…as hard as it is to look for them in a tragedy.

  35. Amber

    I really like your article. You probably don’t want these “nasty” people shopping in your store anyway. They are the type that will assume they deserve a discount and be nit picky about every little thing.

  36. Cat Alexander

    Well written and all so true.
    Regardless of all that I want to let you know that I am truly sorry you are dealing with such devastating news. I am not super religious but I will say God bless you, your brother, your family. I hope that the Creator gives you comfort and strength for the times ahead. You of course did the right thing, you were there in the place you are needed. All my best to you and your family.
    -Cat

  37. cstogdill

    Seriously?! Who leaves a damned hashtag on a written note? That speaks volumes about the person leaving said note.

  38. Miranda

    I am in home daycare provider and I get treated so horribly when I have to close for the day or a few hours to take care of my own family. I am glad that you wrote this- I couldn’t have said it better myself. You did the right thing being there for your family! Prayers go out to your family during this hard time.

  39. I think we are all (myself included) very very quick to get mad/upset/complain when we are inconvenienced by a business – we feel that they are there to serve us and we are a very demanding, impatient lot. We don’t like to stand in line or have to wait for anything. However, I am remind each year as I raise money for the American cancer Society, each time I lose another friend or family member to that dreaded disease that there are few.. Very few GREATER INCONVENIENCES to anyone than cancer. Our family also heard the devastating news that the Matriarch of our family has stage 4 cancer (I wish I could type that word smaller and give it less power) within the last week. It is heartbreaking and makes one feel soo helpless. Thank you for reminding me to be patient, considerate and less demanding. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  40. Tamara

    You really hit this right on the head. I can’t say that I run a small business or even work for a small business, because that isn’t true. But if something is going on with my family you can bet damn straight my store wouldn’t be opened and I surely wouldn’t be there. What you did is not wrong at all. You bust your ass to get a check that might not be worth it, and you deserve every minute with your family even if that means you have to leave shop. I’m praying for you and your family.

  41. Peanut Kahles

    BRAVO!! You have your priorities straight, and I can empathize with your choice. There may have been an unnintentinal inconvience for the potential customer but family comes first… all the time.

  42. Owning my own small business I completely relate to this. Prayers for your family my friend.

  43. Kristi

    ♡ & Prayers!

  44. Kevin Buckner

    It’s unfortunate that this happened to you, I’m very sorry to hear that news about your brother and I wish him the best, but, I think what bugs me the most about this is that whoever left you that note, as upset or whatever their general feeling towards this was, is that they actually wrote out a hashtag… I can’t be the only one this bothers…

  45. Kileigh

    wow people seriously you have every right to leave and go see your brother with out any explanation!!!! Life is too short to let petty things get in the way of the true things that matter in life. Does any amount of money or material thing really matter more than going and spending time with you brother who you may be spending your last time with. Seriously people if you son daughter brother mother father were on there death bed would you really be thinking about driving to your shop to go put a sign on the door!!! If you are than to me that is greedy and selfish on your part ! Family matters way more than a few bucks in your wallet and a customer buying a tshirt or some materialistic thing that they probably do not really need any way! What has happen to people in this world thinking everything is about money and pleasing everyone else. My son is 14 years old and his father was killed 3 years ago do you know what he would give to see his dad one more time do you know what he would give if he could of closed his doors and rushed out to go spend time just a second , or minute more with his dad before he died !!! no dollar or pleased customer is worth missing those last minutes with family sorry

    • Lori Fries

      To all those that are angry about shop not being open, and for this poor shop owner who made the rigt decision to close to be with a dying brother where is your compassion for your fellow human being? Don’t you have family? U more than likely work at a job where u can call in sick and someone else picks up the slack. But that’s not even the point. Even after they explained a family member is dying you still are heartless. The point is to show some compassion. It’s about showing some human decently. Show that your not as close minded as u sound. It’s about human decency. I bet the people saying to stay at work don’t value their family members as they should. I hope they do not make the mistake by putting their family second too late and are left with regrets.
      I am so sorry to hear of your tragic news and I send you and your family prayers…

  46. This was perfect. You shouldn’t have apologized, nor did you need to. Your brother and family will be in my utmost positive thoughts.

  47. Jim

    I know the feeling i am a 16 year cancer survivor & i am the only detail shop open 7 days a week in my area, Fighting that battle is tough no matter the age! I lost my uncle a month ago to stage 4 lymphoma, He thought he could beat it like i did at 19 but when god calls you home there is nothing anyone can do to stop it! My heartfelt prayers go out to you and your family & to all the others that have commented that have also lost a loved one. Cancer needs to be stopped & no one else needs to suffer going thru it! I had 7 different types of testicular cancer and it spread into my lymphnodes where it was stopped by surgery & chemo!

  48. I understand completely. My wife and I run a small sign shop. We have to leave in May for 4 days to attend my sister-in-law’s wedding in Baton Rouge. Stay strong. Best Wishes.

  49. Pamela Jones

    First and foremost I am very sorry to hear about your brother, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Second, while the comment of “business is business and personal is personal” is true, when you run your own business, especially a small one, personal leaks into the business and suddenly personal takes priority over business. Sadly businesses come and go, you only get one family. While on the customer side I can understand the disappointment to finding a business is closed when I have traveled a distance that I have started calling ahead to make sure a business would be open while on travel. The note was unnecessary and they could have called and left a message but instead chose to take a, and before I say this it is because they CHOSE to not leave a name or contact info and CHOSE to be mean, a cowardly approach. I see it all the time on social media sites. People make posts that is directly toward someone but they leave it so open instead of calling out the person it is intended for because they don’t have the courage. The writer of the note CHOSE to be mean and not identify themselves because they didn’t have the courage to put a name with the words. Yes a note could have helped but there are times when you won’t be able to or think of a note. If a parent died or if you were in a car accident on your way to the hospital, there will be times leaving a note will not be a thought or an option. Yes you could have had a back up person to open the store, but most times, especially with a family business, the back up person is a family member, and if a family emergency happens, guess what, there still won’t be a back up person. And think about it, the person that left that note, would you really want them as a returning customer when you have so many loyal, understanding customers? Yes you are in business to make money, but believe it or not there is just some peoples money you can do without. Best thing about being your own boss and running your own business, you can refuse service and refuse a dis-pleasant person’s money. While you are in business to make money and provide a service, customers do need to treat you as a person and show some respect, you’re not providing a service to be stepped on. In regards to “The Other Side, I believe she was being sarcastic and finding humor.

    Businesses go belly up everyday, there are jobs that you can apply for to put food on your table, but you have one family. The comments showing lack of compassion of putting family first show how money hungry some people are and plain just don’t care about other people, or maybe they don’t have a family. Maybe they are alone, maybe money has driven a wedge between a family, who is to say. You can’t take it with you, and no matter how much money you have, you are going to end up the same way alot of people are, being cared for by someone else because you can no longer take care of yourself. We all end up six feet under, or scattered.

    On a personal note, many paint a pretty picture when thinking that being your own boss and having your own business is a cake walk. It’s not. You sacrifice alot. You are more stressed than most people. You snap more than most people would in a lifetime and there are so many things that you miss with your kids, parents, spouse because you are at the shop during “normal business hours”. Your at the shop during normal business hours when most people are at home having dinner with their family or helping their kids with their homework. Your in the shop during normal business hours when a mother and daughter come into your shop spending some quality mother/daughter shopping time together while your missing your daughters school play. I know what it takes and I appreciate your hard work. Again my prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family. May your brother and family find peace. In regards to the rude person who wrote the note, I wouldn’t give them a second thought, you need to be with your brother right now. Apologizing means you’ve done something wrong that you are sorry for. Don’t apologize for doing something you should done, and that is being with family.

  50. Dawn Lester

    From one small business owner to another~ thank you!! People don’t understand and can be cruel. They don’t realize the times we are there and business isn’t.. Praying for your brother~ how heartbreaking.

  51. Evelyn

    For the next time…..leave a note on the door that says “Closed for Family Emergency”. That may lower the chances of a customer leaving an offending note. I am praying comfort and encouragement for your family during this tough time. Sounds like you have lots of great customers and friends to support you. That trumps any hurtful note…..

  52. Jen

    Reading some of these comments makes me really lose faith in humanity. Unless your shop sells some type of life saving device, NOTHING is more important than family. I highly doubt anyone else in the same situation would have done anything any differently. If they did, I would seriously question their morals, priorities and love for their family.
    Shame on some of you for thinking she did anything wrong what so ever. And shame on you even more by writing something negative to her while she is going through something so heartbreaking.
    Karma is real, people…

    • Kileigh

      Thank you Jen it is so true where is peoples hearts these days. i dont care what people think if I was in this situation the last thing on my mind would be remembering to put a family emergency sign on my door. The customer who wrote the note is not even my concern here because they did not no the circumstances , my concern is the heart less comments people have wrote you are right shame on them. There is some really negative people in this world I tell ya. Glad they are not my family because I know where there heart would be if I was on my death bed!!

  53. Kathi

    I’m so sorry about your brother. I pray for peace with him and your family. Life is precious and these reminders are never ever easy.

    I’m glad you posted this, and I’m more glad that someone shared it on FB so I could have an opportunity to see it. I wouldn’t have left a note, but I would have been the irritated customer in a hurry, and thought to myself, now this?? You are the heartbeat of what our capital market was built on and we easily forget that you are human too. I love the small business owner and I appreciate the reminder. Best wishes to you!

  54. Reblogged this on Vulcan Vacations and commented:
    Wow is all I can say. I to own a small business and most of the time am running it on my own. Emergencies and Family obligations do come up, and I to close the door early. Its true that the owner is the Last to get paid, because I want to make the experience in my office more appealing, or that I pay my VERY hard working agents so they will stay with me and provide the great service that we give our clients.
    So, please always remember that the person that closed their door early was gone for a good reason, and didn’t do it to “waste your time”. Thank you for this blog post. it says everything I have wanted to say!

  55. Jon

    Some of the heartless, ignorant comments that have been left on here really make me sad to be within the human race sometimes. There is nothing more important than your family and you were exactly where you needed to be.

  56. Chelsea

    Thinking of you and your family. Sending lots of love from victoria bc.

  57. Good for you. The world does not always deserve an explanation but you are kind to give one. Your business will thrive in the days ahead because you have your priorities straight. I’m proud of you and this will be my first thought the next time I pass your wonderful shop. I think I’ll stop in again rather than pass you by, spend a little money, and ask about your brother. For you, I will say my prayers for strength in the times to come. And for your brother to find his peace in a life well lived and a joyous journey when the angels call. And lastly, for your Father, who will reunite with all of his family in the most divine of all places. Hugs.

  58. Sue Smith

    Very well written, concise, and focused. You did well at keeping your emotions in check, too. I am very sorry to hear about your brother’ condition. You should have been by his side. I know how you feel, but I know how the note-writer felt, as well. I suffer from chronic illness that depletes me of my energy and everything I do, especially when it takes me out of my home, leaves me exhausted. In the same situation as the note-writer, I would have felt angry that I had made such a huge effort and been turned away by a locked door. However, I pray that I would have been cognizant of the fact that others have critical circumstances in their lives to deal with that often inconvenience others but at the moment, that is incon-sequential. The crisis/circumstance must be dealt with. And I am reminded that, in the end, it’s not all about me. We don’t live in a vacuum-we are a society of interdependent people who must respect each other without always demanding our way.

  59. Pat

    Sorry I left that note, I was frustrated and knew right from the start I should have gone to Walmart.

  60. Meaghan

    Very well said…you were exactly where you were supposed to be and no apology is necessary.
    That nasty note made me think about our society as a whole. We are so busy running around and most times so inwardly focused, that when something happens to inconvenience our day we immidiately jump to how it negatively effected us without thinking outside of our little bubble for 5 minutes to think that someone else has a family, or emergencies that spontaneously pop up in their life. We are a society that wants everything right now and it has been made that way for us, thanks to technology. That person who wrote the note, their day didn’t stop spinning because you weren’t there at the time that they needed you, they were inconvenienced and that happens and it’s supposed to happen…it’s called life. The lesson here…put yourself in someone else’s shoes before you decide to attack them. And for all of us as a whole, we all need to learn to switch off and slow down sometimes…it’s healthy for our mind, body, and soul to do so.
    Thanks for listening to my rant 🙂

  61. Praying for you and your family. For negative comments to show up on your blog is quite irritating to me. I understand how small business works and there is only so much you can do to please a customer. Even if there was a sign up there is a slight possibility a non-understanding consumer will show up and be mad. Some times society does not quite understand “No Shoes, No Shirt, No service.”

  62. Lori

    That was an insensitive note but on the other hand, had that customer known that there was a family emergency, they likely would have understood. God bless.

  63. Debby

    For the know it all’s that insist precious customer time trumps being with family – if their time is SOOOOOOO valuable, they should get in the habit of picking up the phone and calling to verify hours so they don’t waste time driving across town, down the street, etc.

    This day and age, the government is more driven to keep people out of business than in to the point they can’t afford to hire help, or maybe the help chose to not come into work.

    Sorry, I’m not sitting around a shop when my family NEEDS me…

    Hoping for the best possible outcome Trudy. Strength, blessings and peace.

  64. Nini

    Kudos to you for keeping calm during this terrible moment in life. Most people don’t think outside their “bubble” that nothing is more important then what is going on in their life at that second. 6 months ago my 25 year old boyfriend had a stroke and was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer that had metastisised to his lungs, brain and bone. Believe it or not most people wouldn’t know by looking at him, you’d never guess something was wrong. He has lost all feeling from mid chest down so he can’t even feel his feet when he walks. But he keeps going. We won’t be able to have children of our own but he’s gotten over that ” I haven’t quite yet but I’m getting there” the dr.s have told us there’s a chance they won’t be able to cure him since normal chemo didn’t work. He’s actually going through a stem cell transplant right now that we’re hoping does the trick since it is so hardcore. And I still get so mad when I see strangers jostle him or purposely bump into him cause he’s going to slow when he walks. People don’t recognize the lack of hair or the thin frame or that one of his feet drags just a little since he taught himself to walk without a cane. People don’t “get it” until they have to. I envy those people cause they haven’t gone through the battle that we have, they haven’t faced the horrors that we have. No one will ever get it until they go through hell like we do. Care givers see it all. We might not have the disease but believe it or not it is almost harder on us. So keep that chin up, keep driving to those places that you’d never even heard of cause that’s where the dr. Is. Keep looking strong on the outside while you crumble on the inside. Cause that’s what we care givers do. I hope you and your family make it through stronger then when you go in. Just remember Fuck Cancer.

  65. Jessica

    I am absolutely amazed at some of the critical responses some have left here! I do not know you, where your shop is located, what your business is,etc. I am a teacher, not a small business owner… but I do know that family comes first no matter what! For anyone to not understand that is unthinkable to me! I have shown up at a small business a few times during regular business hours (and it was a bit out of my way), only to find it closed. It was frustrating because my schedule is so jam packed that it was tough enough getting there within the limited hours he was open… HOWEVER, I would never have left a rude note like that! I did eventually find someone in the business closer to home for me, (because it happened quite a few times), but this is also a small business owner at the new shop because I think it is so important to support community businesses. This is where we get quality work/help/service, etc by people that really care about what they do. They keep the community running! For people to think that small business owners may not occasionally have emergencies is just crazy and a bit ignorant. Even if you could afford to have someone cover for you, an emergency situation might have prevented you from being able to wait for that person… you may have had to just close up shop and get to where you needed to be without worrying about anything else. I’m so sorry for the rudeness of some people, but most importantly I am sorry for your family and brother. My prayers to you!

  66. Christine.

    Wow. Just wow. As a former business owner for 14 years and as a consumer, I’m completely blown away at some of you people and your high and mighty attitudes and selfishness. She’s not there on a day she’s supposed to and that gives anyone anywhere the right to be rude? We choose our reactions – we are not forced to act or react in any manner whatsoever. More than 98 percent of the brides I worked with in all those years were more calm and decent than some of you on here with your hatefulness. Completely completely blown away by many of you and would just like to say now that I am just a mere consumer – I have shown up at two different stores this week and the businesses were run by mom and pop couples. no note. In fact, the sign on the door? It said “open” Did I freak? no, Did I leave a nasty note? no. Could I have, yes, I could have done like some of you and I could have been a nasty “I’m dependent on you being there” kind of bi— but I chose to wonder if they were ok, if there were a number (there was and I called and they got back to me and I revisited the store, no harm done) I only had to “gasp” – wait. Poor me, I had to wait. Hey, do everyone a favor and don’t go back – her business won’t suffer at the hands of a few nasty hateful hens. And the rest of us customers that realize everyone is human? We won’t have to shop elbow to elbow with the lowdown likes of you.

    • Christine.

      And by the way…. What I find most astonishing is the idea that many of you condone the notion that a person need only a closed door on a small business without a note as to when the business owner will be back – in order to validate such assuming, embarrassing and shameful behavior?

  67. I completely understand! I am a solo practitioner, massage therapist. And of the FIVE years I have been in business for myself, I have had to cancel a day ONCE! And I cried doing it! I didn’t want to let anyone down, including my father. (Who’s voice I hear in my head whenever I make any business decisions) But I had just had surgery on my back; removing a potential melanoma. The funny, or stupid thing is, I actually worked immediately after the surgery! I guess the 800 mg Tylenol my doc gave me was stronger than I realized. I didn’t think it would mask that much. But I think I just pissed it off, because the next day I could barely keeps my arms at desk height (at my morning job) it hurt so badly.

    All of the patients I had to move completely understood and were concerned for me, but it crushed me! So when I have patients cancel on me at the last minute, with no hope to recover that lost time/money, it really gets to me. People don’t think about this being my paycheck. But I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for anything! But all small business owners really put themselves out there and most people just don’t get it.

    I am so sorry you are having to go through all of this! I can’t imagine. Take care of yourself! Best wishes!

  68. Muneeza

    Honestly all reactions here whether rude or compassionate are more telling about the people writing them than about Trudy. Love, light and blessings!

  69. Carolyn

    I am a small business owner too. I am so sorry for your loss. =(

    I dont know what you sell, or do in your business, but I can guarantee you, that whatever it is, that these rude people are so indignant over, is not more important than your family.

    The hell with them if they dont understand that.

    You are not alone. =)

  70. Belle

    Four words: Note on the door.

  71. You said it so well Trudy! My husband and I own two small businesses and I totally empathise with you. My prayers for you and your family during this difficult time.

  72. Robert

    I personally find humor in the fact that this person bothered to use a hash tag on a handwritten note. The other funny part about this? My phone decided that I was trying to type hashish….

  73. Kelly Maddick

    I do not own a business although my mother in law does and she is lucky to have a friend who is also her business partner. We were lucky enough that she could be with us when we gave birth to her first grandchild and our first son. Although not an emergency or tragedy, it is a family moment you will never experience again. I admit I have been annoyed at other small businesses for being closed when they are normally open but it’s an instant passing moment as I understand no matter what’s going on with your business it is a way to support your family and if you don’t think about your family then what’s the point! I’m sorry to hear about your brother and you shouldn’t have to excuse it. You did the right thing for you and your family xx

  74. Alicia

    Brilliant! Thank you! Love and Light to you and your family during this difficult time. 💜

  75. Reblogged this on AMentalHealthHack and commented:
    This one goes out to all my small business owners who work so hard- everyday to stay alive. 💜💚
    LIVE.OUT.LOUD.

  76. Jennifer

    My heart goes out to you and your family …for my family is in the same boat my grandfather has sage 4 lung cancer and there are many time we have have to leave work and a lot of people not all dont seem to understand that the world doesn’t work around them again my heart goes out to your family and I will keep you in my prays

  77. Trisha S.

    I really don’t think that you owe this person, or any persons, an apology for something that you cannot control! Family comes first, PERIOD! Sorry to hear about your Brother! Going through this with my Father a few years ago, it is going to be a really tough journey, but he is lucky to have you, someone that will put her business on the line, right by his side. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  78. Amy B. Hardwick

    I don’t know you, your family, or your shop. I did read your article thoroughly, and I have just 2 things to say. 1- I am so sorry to hear about your brother. My prayers are with you and your whole family. 2- Please don’t EVER apologize to others for being with your family instead of at your shop. Family is the most important unit in this world, and family should always come first.
    Now, as someone who has experienced having family members with terminal cancer, I pretty much know what your family is about to face. Make sure you all stick together, and remember that not everyone grieves the same. Try to be understanding of each other. I wish you all the best.

  79. Mo

    Having seen you personally in action, I know you are one who is working around the clock. For those of you who want to criticize, don’t make assumptions in that she is “playing.”
    Having been through a pregnancy, childbirth, and passing of my brother-in-law from Stage 4 Gastric Cancer, and at that time an owner of a bar/restaurant….I did leave notes anytime I went to the doctor or had to leave town for a funeral. Before hiring staff just before having my little girl and even after, people would get pissy or upset if I was closed…even with a note. Or would get pissy because I wouldn’t hang out with them (customers) after having the baby. Living upstairs from your business, means little privacy and people wanting to see your newborn baby anytime you are visible, because they want to…regardless of what the Mother wishes. So I encourage all those who are extra critical, although a self-employed business, especially retail, you are relying on customers to stay in business. However, that does not mean the customer has the right to invade your privacy or dictate to the owner, who also has a life, what they think is appropriate. OR for that matter, not even allow an owner time for illness, doctors, or hell, even the ability to recover from childbirth. Do you have any idea what it is like to have someone barge in to your delivery room the night you had your new baby….uninvited, unannounced, and because you are a business owner..you still have to be nice even though you are exhausted from delivery? All I am saying is people are allowed to have personal space and time for their life and shouldn’t be penalized for not being at the beckon call for customers. And trust me, the person who wrote that note would have had some complaint even if you left a note on the door. Having been there myself, I have seen it first hand. There is a reason why I decided to get out of owning a bar because it ended up being too much of a headache dealing with everyone in a small town wanting to have everything their way.

  80. MyDarlin

    i sorta understand your point of view – and losing even one customer can hurt a small business, this i dont see any excuse for not leaving a note on the door. ‘Sorry – Closed till X due to Family Emergency’ – takes seconds to write and tape to a door and saves you from losing any customers. Besides idk what kind of buisness you may run but what abt the customer who may have wanted your goods as a gift for his dying mother? We ALL shld be considerate of each other and forgiving – then many problems are solved.

    • Marylou

      Well said totally agree with you. I think people in general must be very passionate about what they do. Owning a small business should be the same you must have a passion for it and part of that passion is serving all customers and making them happy. Word of mouth goes a long way too.

  81. Sue

    I am disgusted by some of these responses. My husband owns a mechanic shop. He works entirely alone. It’s not an option to get someone to fill in. He is in that shop every morning (except Sunday) before 5:00 a.m. If a customer cannot understand why he closes at 4:30, then to hell with them, they can go elsewhere! When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, he closed for a couple of hours, for a few days, to drive and be with me simply for support, and I was in a blur at the time. I would not have expected him to be anywhere else but by my side through my surgery. Family comes first, ALWAYS. When your sick, or aging and dying, they are there for you. Not those customers.
    I commend you for writing this, and would like to add how truly sorry I am about your brother. Cherish every second. God Bless You and Your Family.
    As far as Carla H., Laura Rodriguez, Barbara Pyatt, and possibly more (I stopped reading because I was getting angry), I just pray they or their family never have to deal with a major illness, but if they did, maybe then they would truly understand the other side.
    I feel when I meet my maker, I will be judged on how I lived my life and the way I supported my loved ones, NOT if we had our business doors open every minute.

    • Marylou

      Sorry for your health issues. With your attitude I’m surprised your husband is still in business. Your exactly right the average customer will go elsewhere. When you open a business what’s your goal, serve customers so you can make money. Without them you would not have a business. People need to stop mixing their personal business And Or problems in with their small business. Read up on small business success stories. Those people cared about their customers and or potential customers they never said they can go elsewhere.

      • Sue

        For your information, Marylou, I have no part in my husband’s business. I work full time so we can have health insurance. My husband has never closed his business for anything except an hour here and there TWICE and a whole day for my surgery and two days when he threw his back out and couldn’t even pee or walk! Period. In 30 years, he missed all of our children’s events which he regrets to this day. We were never able to take family vacations because people needed their cars repaired plus it would hurt us too much to do without a paycheck. I’ve had to put up with inconsiderate asses that have called my house on Christmas Day, called after 9 at night or called or shown up at my house on Sundays. (They looked up our address & home number!) There are some people out there (you’re probably one), that seem to forget that we are human and deserve lives outside of work. My husband has never been unkind or turned them away. That’s why he’s had the same customers for 30+ years now. And just for the record, the ones that I have explained the rules to, (here is his shop #, please call him Mon – Fri 7-4:30, & Sat. 7-12), they understand. He’s never lost one yet. The fools that walk in off the street with an attitude, THEY can go elsewhere.

  82. ed

    I’ve been in your shoes. Same size shoes. My mom battled stage 4 lung cancer for months, went into remission, then came out of remission & she went back into treatment and the cancer metastasized to her brain. I’m self-employed and worked throughout her illness. I don’t regret a minute I spent with her and now I wish I’d spent more time with her. Work is work and there will always be some kind of work. You have just the one family. No do-overs. You were where you should have been that day. I can tell you from personal experience that some people will be completely empathetic and understanding and others are bottomless pits of whining carping impossible to please. Let them go. You won’t regret the time you spend looking after your folks and your brother and the rest of your family. Make peace with the fact that you can’t do everything. It’s especially important to care for yourself. I went & went til the wheels fell off and that was no good. Don’t do that. Just care for your loved ones and care for yourself. Money isn’t everything.

  83. Jay Eakin

    As an artist in a small little shop and a husband and father, I understand you and the letter was so well written. And my thoughts and prayers are with your family. I just wanted you to know.

  84. Nice response. I think I took a pleasure day off about 5 years ago. A hip replacement kept me down for a couple of weeks but my wife, with me on the phone, kept things going. Our dedication & hard work has made the last depot repair station for typewriters in the country. Don’t believe it – find somebody to repair yours. Now, at 74 years old, I’m starting to wind it down. That may take a year but it’s in process.

  85. Melanee Wilson

    I promise you…. I am going through this right now….. a situation with my family member has kept me from working for almost three weeks now…. and even the clients that know my situation only call to find out when I will be back…. not how is my family …. NOTHING!…. It is so sad

  86. We live in this “Walmart” centered world where everything must be open 24 hours a day, even on the most sacred and traditional holidays. Good for you for stepping away from your business to spend time doing what really matters. I agree that leaving a note would have been best, and I worked for a boss than constantly closed so I know that can be frustrating. But if that is not a consistent issue with your business, then this person that left a note must not be a regular customer. Who wants business from someone who hides behind a hateful not anyway? People need to realize that relationships are more important than materialism-which we are now so focused on with the need to constantly buy. My prayers go out to your family. Remember, with God, anything is possible.
    Claire

  87. I would never expect you to explain yourself. And I’m sorry for this, but I also want to thank you for your bravery in sharing this message. So many people *don’t get it*.
    Once we were closed not only for inventory but for construction for an addition. It would have been an insurance liability to let anyone beyond owners into the place. Aside from all those things, we were trying to prepare for a grand re-opening party once we (finally) finished the construction. Every bolt of fabric (over 4000) was on the floor to be counted creating a maize that only we knew how to walk through.
    A couple pulled up (after hours) wanting to be let in. Under normal circumstances yeah! Welcome! But these circumstances, that were finely detailed to them, caused a hissy fit.
    Don’t ever let people make you feel guilty. You deserved that time with your family regardless of your business status. People just so rarely “get it”.

  88. when you don’t appreciate a small business owner i hope you learn to appreciate the robots and call centers that we are getting replaced with. I am sure you will love that customer service.
    So keep your guaranteed paycheque, ignorant notes and piss off.

  89. So sorry to hear about your brother. What a terrible time for your family. I live in a small town, and am surrounded by many small towns. We usually make it a habit to call a store first if it is a privately owned business to make sure they are opened before heading out. Saves time and gas. Good luck to you and your family and business.

  90. Carla Harris———–hope you are PERFECT IN YOU WHOLE LIFE AND NEVER MAKE A MISTAKE!!!

  91. Sorry about your brother.. and yes, some people really are insensitive and self-centered.

  92. by reading this article I can add insight as a reader …
    thank you for the information and thanks for the share

  93. John Gallardo

    I have been involved in retail and small business for almost 40 years. I read the initial message here with interest, and identified with it. A lot of pertinent and wise things have been said here. And I am shocked by the small-minded and hateful things said here. A few more smiles and a lot more understanding is in order for us all to have a better life.

  94. cassanora

    I am a bit shocked at the negative comments you are receiving – and I am sorry you have to read them. Some (I like to think MOST) people live with compassion and empathy for others – and after reading your post, vow to give more thought before assuming one’s intentions. Sadly, too many carry themselves with entitlement and self-absorption….just sad.

    Wishing you peace of mind and strength as you support your brother and family through this painful time, as well as success and personal satisfaction from your small business.

  95. sandy johnson

    Wow can I realate…I have a small business also.Several months ago my dog of 9 years got sick….i held him for 3 days before he passed. I would not trade that time for anything..even with a note on the door..I still got the nasty notes left also….some moments you cant get back.I am closed always on Tuesday’s..so I tell all my cutomers after ringing them up…remember…dont come onTuesday…we are closed.even though its on the door..this has really helped. Love that you wrote about this.O the note I left I also said if I missed someone next time they were in to mention it and I gave them a discount

  96. Reblogged this on Work With Kathy and commented:
    Wow… This is a great article and definitely worth the Read..

  97. Bless you. Our Family had a small business for 50 years and I had my own for 8. No one understands until you have been in “those shoes”. Family has to come first. Blessings to your brother and all the family

  98. When my father-in-law passed away, my boss tried to tell me that wasn’t reason enough to leave work. I told him that I was going and if he didn’t like it, he could fire me. Family always comes first. I am so sorry to hear about your brother and I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. I think that you handled the situation with a lot more poise and grace than I may have been able to.

  99. I am so very sorry to hear about your brothers’ illness, thoughts and prayers to your family. My husband and I own a small business and recently celebrated the birth of our first son. While in the hospital (and after an emergency c-section) for four days my husband received numerous voicemails and emails asking why product had not shipped or why responses were not being given, irate and angry seemed to be the general tone. After returning home we sent out a promotional blast via email, social media and text about the birth and offered a minor discount for those inconvenienced by our situation. Not only did we receive multiple apologies, but an outpouring of love, support and appreciation of what we had gone through. I hope the situation you’re in resolves itself quickly and with generosity. Best wishes.

  100. Reblogged this on scubamouse studios and commented:
    Couldn’t help but share this blog.

  101. David Y. Shipman

    I just ran across this blog from a Facebook post and found it interesting. First, I wish you the best in dealing with your life situations as well as your business (I am not ever “sorry”; We all have a life that takes unexpected turns, and negotiating these turns is basically the essence of what life is. Rather than be sorry, I rejoice in the opportunity to overcome!). As for the NOTE… I ran a successful small business for just under 20 years and never lost sight of the fact that it was MY business to run. I closed if it was absolutely unavoidable and if I lost customers because of it, they were MY customers to loose and I, and only I had to weigh that out every time. Here is an actual interaction in MY business (with some unimportant details omitted)…
    Unsatisfied Customer: I don’t think I should pay full price because I’m not happy with the “product”. (Note: the product was completely up to our quality standards)
    Me: Well, I’m sorry but we did the work and need the full payment.
    UC: Don’t you know the customer is ALWAYS right?
    Me: Not here, it’s my business and I’M always right.
    UC: Well I’m going to tell all of my friends no to do business here!
    Me: Great!, if they are anything like you, I’d prefer not to have them come in here. Your total is $27.45.
    While this may offend some people, again I’ll say…It was MY business to run, and while I wanted it to be successful, I had no intention of sacrificing my own values and peace of mind to try and please EVERY customer (It can’t be done). Live your life and run your business the way that YOU feel good about and apologize to no one unnecessarily.

  102. Maria B

    Tell me where your shop is and when you need a little extra help. I’ve got your back! Signed, #nopaychequeneeded

  103. Laura

    Never apologize for doing the right thing and being with your family is the right thing. This was very well written and I hope and pray for the best for you and your family.

  104. Im a small business owner with three employees and a 3 1/2 year old daughter. Last summer I was feeling so tired and worn out, working 60 plus hours a week. I knew I was about to burn up, but still wasn’t making enough to hire someone full time to cover my shifts. I went into the emergency room, one night in last August, and was diagnosed with Hoshimotos Disease and Lupus. They think I
    had been suffering for over two years. I just
    thought a small business owner was supposed to feel like death. The next few
    weeks were filled with specialist appointments crammed into ASAP spaces like cancelled appointments, lunch hours for the hemologist, etc. I put notes on my FBpage
    and the door of my store stating nothing to specific, (people can smell the blood in the
    water of a fragile small business. Letting
    them see you sweat is the kiss of death). Point is… I dont take mybusiness to heart the way I used to. I dont take people that seriously anymore. I know I am very good and dedicated at what I do. And, suprisingly, synthroid is a wonder drug, sales are up, and my new counter person is amazing.

  105. brandi

    I too am a small business person. I worked 12 hour days 5 days a week for the better part of 15 years. 2 years ago I choose to cut back my hours to spend added time with my husband and daughter. I personally feel like God was telling me to put my family first and when Idid great things began to happen for my family. Many of my clients were upset and rather mean when I told them my decision to cut back hours. I knew that this was going to bare problems for some of my clients due to their schedules. I offered alternative choices to them as to come on weekends or possibly try another stylist. Again many were very mad about my choice. I have never been so hurt. I made a personal choice and it affected others however I refuse to apologize to those that mistreated and disagreed with my decision . I am sorry that you feel the need to apologize for putting you family first. God sees that you chose exactly what was top on the list of priorities when you choose your brother over your business and he will provide for you abundantly. And if the people that are angered or rude cannot or do not understand…their business is not worth having. Please do not allow them to make you second guess your decisions or apologize. Be proud you know exactly what order your priorities go in.

  106. I love this response- right up until you apologized to this horribly rude person. You owe no apology. You did what any decent human would do- you were there when your family needed you. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  107. KM

    I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. I lost a brother when he was 25 and my dad when he was 60. My dad’s dad lived until 88 — longer than his son and grandson combined. I so understand the double grief you feel. Losing my dad and brother was hard. Watching my grandfather live through both losses added to the pain.

    I recently had an appointment with a small business owner. I and three others had a difficult time scheduling the appointment because all of us (including the small business owner) had packed schedules. When we arrived, she wasn’t there — just a note stating family emergency. A couple of my friends were ticked because she didn’t call me (they were focusing on our difficult schedules and the fact that we walked there on a particular cold windy night). I think I might have been if I didn’t understand what “family emergency” could mean. In her instance, it was a sudden death in the family and she didn’t have her contact info on her when she found out. Your post is another reminder that we should give the benefit of the doubt. I would rather be inconvenienced than experience the reason you (and my own small business owner) weren’t there. Blessings to you and your family.

  108. That’s terrible news about your brother and it’s unfortunate that that nasty note on your door was some added salt to the wound. People really do need to consider the other side of a situation. It’s really too bad that the note writer didn’t take your side into consideration.

  109. EZ

    Thank you for this post! I will send positive healing thoughts to you and your family. I live in a small town and have many friends that run small business. If they ever closed for this reason I would support them and applaud them. Our lives are very short and today people tend to work so much and forget their family and friends…yes it is a very expensive time and we all have bills but we also need to remember time ends….if you feel you made the right decision for you then great…if others don’t then to bad…we all have to do what we think is right…your post made me think how much many of my friends and local towns people give up to serve us….I will remember to leave a note that says let me know your ok when you get back to the shop if I ever find it closed during business hours….just maybe this will let them know we care too.

  110. Good for you for writing this piece! I fully understand how you feel as I not only grew up as the child of small business owners but also ran the business for years and can completely empathize with how you feel. As my father (my parents opened their business together) suffered 7 1/2 years before dying there were often times we would have to close on short notice to take him to the hospital for one emergency after another. And while many people don’t understand what that means because big box stores are able to replace staff so that the customer never feels the bump in the road, those same stores can never compare to the kind of customer service you get when the owner is on hand to serve you directly in a small business. I’m praying for you, your father and your brother and his family. I know how hard this is all around. Even if one customer doesn’t give you support, you have it virtually from others whose heart goes out to you on so many levels.

  111. Kelsey Lynne

    I can’t believe some of the comments on here. If I had a business (and I don’t) and received devastating news like you did, I would be surprised if I even remembered to lock the door, let alone leave a note! It’s absolutely disgusting that some of these people on here are shaming you for wanting to be by your brothers side at his time of need! Let me tell you something: 10 years ago when my aunt was at work, she received an urgent call from her brother saying that their mom was in the hospital.
    My grandma called the ambulance when she started feeling odd; she was getting dizzy, she had a hard time breathing, couldn’t stand without almost falling, and her vision kept going blurry. She thought she was just having “a bad day”… After tests were done, the doctors found out that the tumours grew back inside her brain, which was affecting her motor skills and vision. She was to undergo emergency surgery that evening at 6pm. My aunt was done work at 5pm that night and told her brother she would go to the hospital after she was done. At 3:46pm her mom (my grandma) ended up having a seizure and once stabilized, she fell into a coma. A week later, she died from heart failure.
    My aunt couldn’t forgive herself. She kept saying how she should have just left work when they called, atleast then she would have seen her mother alive one last time. To this day, it’s still her biggest regret.

    Anything could happen. When there’s an emergency, whatever it may be, don’t get all pissy when someone isn’t available for your needs. I’m sure whoever wrote that note could have went by next day, or went to a different business to get what they needed. There was no need for that childish note.

    Family comes first in my books, because at the end of the day, there is no amount of money worth more than a loved one. I’m sorry not all of you think that way.

    I’m sorry for your bother, I’ll he praying for your family,

  112. I have a small business, a hair salon. When my Father was diagnosed with cancer, I warned all my clients that at some point, I’d be called away to deal with it, as the cancer was terminal. 95% of clients were fine with that! but a few told me I wasn’t allowed to cancel their hair! unless I could give lots of advance warning.
    When the final week came, I was carving a groove between the hospice and my salon, trying to spend as much time with my family, and run my business. My staff used the opportunity to play up, as my mind wasn’t on it. They bickered, fell out, one refused to work with the other. It was horrendous.
    I got the call on the Wednesday to get to the hospice, as he had reached the last few hours. Without a thought, I jumped in the car and got there, the only thing on my mind being getting there before he left us.
    My staff decided that they wouldn’t tell clients what was going on, as they didn’t want to infringe my ‘privacy’, even though a plan was in place, and they had clear instruction.
    I got so many irate calls when I was in the hospice, complaining that I should’ve stopped and called them, to save them being inconvenienced.
    You know what? At that moment, with my beloved Dad on his deathbed, I didn’t give a toss about those clients. I only cared about getting there.
    When one asked me to skip Dads funeral because she wanted her hair done, and didn’t want anyone else to do it, I nearly punched her. I stared at her incredulously, “I don’t think you heard me, it’s my Dad’s funeral Friday. I won’t be working that day.”
    “I wouldn’t normally ask, but I’m going out, and you know I only like you doing my hair.” I sacked her as a client.
    So, yes, I get it. Clients will rule your life if you let them, they will take every ounce of work you can physically do, and more besides.
    Shrug off that note, and some of the comments on here, and keep on doing your own thing.

    • Dawn, thank you for sharing your story and I’m so sorry forthe loss of your father. As parents get older my sister and I find ourselves talking about that. Everyone in our family, both sides, have always lived well into their 80s and this has really given us a new perspective.

  113. This is so true of people with small businesses. I run a small business and find – public holidays. Christmas especially, extremely difficult. I get emails on Christmas Eve ‘why will my order be delayed?’ ‘why won’t my order be posted until after the new year?’ ….my suppliers/couriers don’t work over christmas…and guess what! I actually like to have 1 day off each year too!!

    People can get nasty if you don’t reply to an email they sent at 9pm at night just because sometimes i may respond to them at some ungodly hour they think i’m available 24/7 and they really do think they are your only customer – if that were true, i wouldn’t actually have a business!

    That is the only part of running my own buisness that really gets to me. That and of course the fact that there are only 24 hours in each day!! It seems like far too little to me!

    xx

  114. This is something so close to me as I do run my own business.. no safety net, no back up plan. My family comes first even though I put myself last. For months I received 6 hour medical treatments early in the morning so I could go and work my 10 hour days for myself. I met wonderful people who understood how tired I was, but I met selfish and hateful people who had the nerve to say they wanted my services before I died.

    The moments that a customer “gets it” and has some understanding helps to cancel out those selfish people who are the center of their own universe. I must say that over the past few years I have become more bitter and less forgiving to those customers who waste my time, although I would go to the end of the earth for those who get it.

    So tired of hearing “must be nice to work for yourself, you can take time anytime you want”. Those comments infuriate me because of the persons complete ignorance of small businesses. We aren’t rich, we are doing what we love and believe in.

  115. Wow… im sorry your family is going through pain..but well done for speaking out..I too run a small shop by myself ..people think we are the same as the large companies and we try so much harder for trade than they do..but it seems your still not open enough hours.i hope your brother isnt in too much pain x ..

  116. My god, some people are just plain mean! I just can’t understand why someone would want to deliberately make you feel worse! I’m so sorry about your news. I’d just like to say that we all only have one life to live and you should always be there for the moments that matter, no matter what the cost is. It’s important. No one goes to their death bed remembering all the hours they worked and all the customers they served. They think about the moments that counted. And at the end of the day, whether it is an emergency or not, it is your shop, your business and your life and who is anyone else to say what hours you should work! I hope there is good news for your brother soon x

  117. Rae

    It does not matter who the loved one is, when they matter, are a significant part of your life and mean the world to you, you drop everything to be with them. They need love and support to know they are not alone. We all know someone dear to us who has been diagnosed with cancer or some other illness……we don’t turn our backs, we surround them with positivity and abounding LOVE!
    It is unbelievable that you, EMMA JOY, could be so absolutely ignorant to the love and support Trudy wanted for her brother! Shame on you for your judgement……and YES, I am judging you, Emma Joy for your stupidity! Whether you chose to sit with your mother, is your choice….this was Trudy’s!
    Every one of my grandparents past away from Cancer, but I on’y remember my maternal grandmothers dying process. She died at home, in her own bed while my mom and her 3 sisters took care of her around the clock for months. It was not easy to watch, but I would not have it any other way……she knew we loved her and she was not afraid as her family surrounded her. Both of my parents were also diagnosed with cancer…..and I dropped everything to support them! My mom was not given a good prognosis with Ovarian cancer at age 33, and she was also diagnosed with skin cancer 3 weeks ago……but is doing well today…..SHE KICKED CANCERS ASS TWICE! My dad was diagnosed 3 years ago with Bladder Cancer and he is doing amazingly well…… Now this is not really about my families history with cancer, but that family blanketed them with love and support and other than a cure….that is what they needed most!
    When you love someone, you support them and when you support them, they can take all their energy into healing, rather than anxiety, worry and depression……
    I am so sorry to hear of your brother’s diagnosis, Trudy, will be thinking of you all!

  118. Stephanie in Iowa

    I send prayers to you and your family as the road you are traveling with your brother will be rough. Lean on your friends and family for comfort. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your shop during this time as your family will need you and as a self employed business owner, you have the right and the privilege to run your shop as you please. If your small town community is anything like ours, I am positive you have people who would be there to help out. As far as the note leaver, I am sure they were upset that u were not open. So be it, move on. You don’t need customers who do not appreciate others situations so let them buy from the large, no compassion filled big boxed stores. If I were u, I wouldn’t want their business…..plain and simple. Stay strong and God Bless.

  119. Wonderfully well written, as a small business owner myself I commend you on your restraint. The person who wrote that note would not be missed at all by me. I would not want to deal with someone so selfish. Even if it was something small that you closed your business for that afternoon. Its still your business and you owe no one an explanation. So sorry to hear about your brother, sending healing positive energies to you and yours. Wishing you More. 😀

  120. Lisa in California

    Rarely do I read “all” the responses to a blog post. I might read a few and skip over the rest but in this case, I read every-single-one. Why? Because it reinforces my decision to close my shop after my Mom had her stroke. Let me back up. I opened a cute little antique shop in the antique district in town. Within 3 months, it had been voted as one of the Top 3 in the area. (Number 1 and Number 3 were quite established). Then 3 months after that, it was voted in the top 3 in another voter poll. Why? Because I was open 6 days a week from 10 am – 7 pm and frequently didn’t come home until 2 in the morning. (I knew it was time to go home when I heard the drunk kids leaving the local bars!) I worked hard to keep the shop full of interesting things and changed the entire layout every month! In the 11th month of my 12 month lease, my Mom had a stroke and I rushed 100 miles away to be by her side. She has always acted younger than her 80+ years and I was surprised by this and really scared for her. After hearing comments from clients that they had stopped by to find my shop closed (YES, I left a note on the door and on my voicemail) and were disappointed that I wasn’t there for them, I decided that after breaking my back for the store and providing A #1 service, that I just wasn’t willing to continue to do that for people who were so ungrateful. I didn’t renew my lease and have been SO happy selling antiques at street fairs and such on MY terms. It’s nice to run into my former customers and have them tell me that they miss me and my store but I don’t miss the bitchy ones!

    Bottom line, I think some of the negative comments were made by trolls who were just trying to get a reaction from your readers (I guess it worked! Ha!) but there are certainly people out there who feel they are ENTITLED and you exist to serve them. WRONG! They need to get off their high horse and develop some compassion for those who are going through something because if you don’t, karma will be a bitch. AND, if people don’t start supporting small business in their hometowns, they will cease to exist and we will only have homogeneous cookie-cutter box stores to shop at. I am a very strong supporter of small business. In fact, don’t be surprised if I contact you to order things from yours!

    Best wishes to you and your family as they face this unfortunate diagnosis.

  121. You were nice enough to give an explanation. Screw that person. Some people are just selfish, self-centered and inconsiderate. I remember when I worked in social services and I client was upset because she didn’t get timely benefits. I explained to her that my spouse and I both have a chronic illness; thus, our health comes before any job. I am going to put my family before yours because I am responsible for them, as you are for yours. I have empathy; but, I don’t have sympathy for ignorance.

  122. I can not believe how heartless some people can be. Emma Joy….I just feel plain sorry for you. And please let us know what company you work for? I would like to know what sort of operation would fire someone for taking off when a loved one is dying. There is such a thing called FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) – It a federal law, not local. It guards your right to retain your job for castestrophic illness/injuries – not just to you, but to immediate family members. I think I would be looking for a new place to work.
    Designs On You – prayers for you and your entire family and please…keep putting them first. I guarantee YOUR headstone will not say “kept her doors open during regular business hours”.

  123. Thank you! As a small business owner myself, I get comments like this as well. If they only left their number I could reply. But I do not apologize, nor should you, for being there for your family. True friends and good customers will understand. REAL people will understand. You go girl! 🙂

  124. Lisa

    Trudy~ I am still in shock after reading some of the nasty comments to you. I don’t know you but I would never, ever in a million years utter some of the snarky and inconsiderate comments left for you, by supposed “business” people. I think you have a wonderful positive attitude and your family is quite lucky to have you in their lives. I wish you and your brother quality time together. I wish you both the strength and love to get through the next phase of his illness. Best wishes~ Lisa

  125. All I can say is well done for your clear & concise reply, you really hit the nail on the head! I have such great respect for anyone trying to run a small business but especially in these trying times. I really hope that the ones with the tendency to jump in & comment before thinking it through will read your post and learn something. Thank you for opening MY eyes, although I would not leave a note like that.

    On a personal note I am so sorry to hear the news regarding your brother. That is an awfully difficult thing to be told & situation to be dealing with. I am truly sad for you & all your family.

    As my dad always says to me, keep your chin up 🙂

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  127. beth

    Hoping you find comfort and strength in the many positive replies here. There are lots of people you will never meet who are supporting you in their thoughts and prayers. Take the time you need and can spare for your family. Loyal customers will remain loyal.

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  129. Robin

    Thank you for your article. Life does get in the way of work sometimes… Oh boy, imagine that! I am so sad to hear that for you it was for such tragic reasons. The fact is, all small business owners have work ethic. That is how they came to the conclusion that working 80 hours a week for something that belongs to them is always better than working 40 for someone else. Here’s what I noticed; a handwritten note with a hash tag in it. What this means to me is that it was a self serving, entitled little brat from the generation of instant gratification. Not even aware that his or her stupid hastag doesn’t link to any trending stream of thoughts compiled by the other self serving entitled brats because its on paper and not online! I feel for you, and hope that you can hang onto the thought of those folks who found it in their hearts to be concerned for you rather than themselves.

  130. Whether you work for yourself or for someone else if you have an emergency or feel the need to tend to a relative in sickness or distress you must go. Our children are only children for a short time. You only get to see a first time once. Embrace it. Store owners are human too. And sometimes employing staff is not an option. In the end it will by your true friends and family that will be there for you and not customers. Although some of my customers have become lovely friends. A loyal customer will be concerned for you and not angry that you were not there. I am sure this was difficult to write and I am very glad you did. When my father passed away I closed for a few days. Even though I run an online store not one customer felt the need to be annoyed by this. For which I am thankful. Stay true to your values. We need more people in the world like you.

  131. Kay

    I guess I would be upset at first also. But, there are always circumstances that we aren’t going to be aware of. So, I wouldn’t leave a nasty note.

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