Standing Out in the Cold…

If you want the customers, cater to them… After the Break…

Standing Out in the Cold…

Whenever I get angry over a situation, I tend to wait a few days before I write about it. I don’t want to write something rash that I’ll later regret. Calm down, let cooler heads prevail. Think about all of the angles to the story.

Yet there are times when a comment has to be made sooner rather than later, especially when the health of people are involved.

Suppose that you are an organization that is not normally a business. You want to raise money, though, and so you organize some sort of sale in order to raise money. You advertise this sale and you advertise the day and hour for which this sale will begin.

A few days before the sale, the organization learns that it will likely be cold on the day of the sale. Really cold. “Below freezing” cold… As in, “regardless if you use Fahrenheit or centigrade, you’re still in the negative numbers” cold.

Does your organization have a legal obligation to provide some way of keeping people who arrive early to your sale a safe means of waiting for that sale in an environment that is not frigid? No, it doesn’t.

What your organization SHOULDN’T do, though, especially if you do not provide those people who arrive early to your sale is to sternly remind them that there is a local ordinance that you can’t run your car idle for a certain amount of time. Let me clarify: The options for the people who arrive early to your sale is either (A). Stand out in a bitter cold that is so cold that the hairs inside of your nostrils freeze (yes, this happens) or (B). Go inside of their cars and warm up.

Depriving them of (B) at your organization is not good public relations. You are not a business. These people do not have to be at your organization at all. It is your initiative to hold this sale; They are not demanding that you hold a sale.

Yes, the organization can do what it wants. Yet you can not expect people to freeze and to freeze willingly. Those actions are not safe. It is not good policy to hold a sale in freezing temperatures, knowingly hold a sale in freezing temperatures and expect people to not stay warm in spite of some ordinance about idling cars.

Here is what your organization could have done in that unusual circumstance: Open up the portion of your organization’s space not devoted to the sale to allow people to be indoors. Yes, it is an extra layer of inconvenience for your organization but the amount of goodwill would have been enormous.

Forcing people to stand out in the cold when a better option was available is unacceptable. More importantly, it’s unsafe and it’s unhealthy.

People didn’t have to go to your sale. That much is true. Yet you held the sale and you held it knowing that the weather was going to be “nostril-hair-freezing” cold outside. You had ample indoor space not devoted towards the sale that you could have shuttled people into while they waited for your sale to begin.

Try harder next time.  That’s all. Try harder.

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