30 Days Has September,

April, June, and November.  C’mon.  Admit it.  You still have to go through the rhyme in your head to remember how many days are in the month. 

Today is the last day of April, 2008.  In a few hours, the year will be 1/3 complete.  According to today’s news, we’re still not officially in a recession, much to the new media’s dismay.  There was growth in the first quarter.  Not much growth, but growth never the less.  The official definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth.  Darn the luck.  It’s going to be at least sixty days before the pundits can proudly declare that they were right.  That is, if the economy actually does stop growing.

I thought about the economy as I was reading Doug Fleener’s Retail Experience newsletter for Tuesday.  His topic was "blamers" and "learners".  To summarize Doug’s comments, he compares two retailers who bought the same new product.  There wasn’t enough support from the manufacturer to move the product off the shelf.  (That never happens, does it?)

Retailer number one, the blamer, ends up marking down the product and taking a loss to get rid of it.  Retailer number two, the learner, sees that the vendor support isn’t going to make the product sell and experiments with various things until she finds the one that works.  Sales boom, including sales she gains from competitors who gave up on the product.

The point is, whether it’s a soft economy, a lack of support from a vendor, a torn up highway in front of your store, hot weather, cold weather, $4.00 gas, or whatever, you have two choices.  You can play the blame game, while your sales go down the porcelain convenience, or you can accept the situation and do something about it.

The good news is that many of your competitors are taking door number one.  Like the wiCheckered_flagnner of a NASCAR race, the time to pour on the speed is when the competition pauses.  While they’re in the pits, you can keep flying around the track. Keep your foot on the gas and you’ll take the checkered flag.  (Thanks, Mr. Cliche)

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