Two-for-ones serve up good karma for Summit County |

Two-for-ones serve up good karma for Summit County

I heard my favorite obnoxious customer story back in the days when my wife and I owned a store in Breckenridge. Another store owner who, if I remember correctly, lasted about as long as we did in the Summit County retail market, told it to me.

I don’t remember exactly what this other store owner sold – I think it was possibly birdhouses or some other crafty crafts – but like us, not a week went by in this man’s life without some moron disguised as a customer walking into his store to complain.

The visitor would look around, check out a few price tags and then usually announce at the top of his or her lungs, “Hell, I could make one of those in my basement for 50 cents.”

The moron/customer would then proceed to insult the quality of the product in an attempt to drive down the price to something resembling the cost of a cheap plastic knockoff produced exclusively for Wal-Mart by slaves in a sweatshop somewhere.

Then one day, the shop owner was sitting behind his cash register when a man walked through the door.

“I was in here last year,” the customer said. “I told you that I could make one of those bird houses you sell for a whole lot cheaper.”

The owner didn’t remember the man, but hey, with so many customers coming through the door during tourist season, a run-of-the-mill jerk just didn’t garnish that much attention.

“Well,” said the man, “I’d like to tell you that I was wrong about being able to make a bird house at home.”

Without warning, the visitor lifted up his right hand, and lo and behold, he was missing four fingers.

“If I’d just bought one of those birdhouses instead of trying to make one, I would have saved myself a lot of time, pain and money.”

Now that’s what I call karma.

So it is with some amusement that I’ve read the debate on the pros and cons of the benefits of Summit County’s legendary two-for-one specials, of which I’m personally a huge fan.

It’s during the offseason that I can finally afford to go out to lunch, maybe try a new restaurant or two and frequent my favorite establishments numerous times without having to worry about that little piece of paper that comes hidden under a mint after the meal.

It is the time of year when I can treat friends and family to dinner and know that I just might be able to pick up the tab and still make my mortgage payment.

As far as I’m concerned, a restaurant that participates in the two-for-one season is very much like Santa Claus.

I do, however, view restaurant owners’ generosity as a gift, not something I deserve simply because I live in Summit County or hang around during the offseason hoping to leech a few cheap meals.

Having once been a small business owner myself, I know the hardships these people face, and I’m sure that two for ones aren’t really terrific moneymaking scams. I can also say with a certain degree of knowledge that at no time does the electric company, phone company or water company ever give anyone, anywhere, two-for-one discounts on their bills.

Suppliers don’t care if offseason customers demand a discount, and I’ve never heard of one of our local governments cutting back the tax rate just because a business decided to give locals a break.

Since I believe that life should be pretty much coupon-free, I guess I’m what is known as a full-price person living in a Wal-Mart world. Yes, it’s true. I believe I should pay a fair price for a good product, and I’ll even spend an extra few bucks at a local small business before I’ll go to one of the big chain stores to save a penny. I believe that money spent in a neighbor’s store helps a community thrive.

So the next time you’re enjoying a meal at your favorite restaurant and you pull out that two-for-one coupon, think about the guys that made that freebee possible.

And remember that just because a meal is half price, it doesn’t mean a waiter or waitress should suffer. Add back in what you saved before you figure that 20 percent tip. If you don’t, you might just lose a few fingers to bad karma.

Columnist Andrew Gmerek writes in this space on Fridays. He is not offering his readers two columns for the price of one, we noticed.

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