organizational management: HOW SMALL BUSINESSES LOSE BUSINESS: It’s time to talk some basics for small businesses management.  I’m frequently critiquing, from an organizational management perspective, when I’m in LOSE BUSINESS and shops. A situation arose last week that bears repeating, for the lessons resident therein.

I had dropped by a local, privately-held coffee shop; was in a rush as usual, and when the clerk rang up the amount.

I presented her with the dollar amount of purchase and also the change amount (so that I wouldn’t have to wait for her to agonize over making change).  Among the coins presented in payment was a Canadian quarter – who knew and who cared -I had apparently received the coin in change that same day and thrown it in my wallet without looking.  The coins look almost identical, and the redemption value difference has to be 2 cents or less.  So, as I say – who would care?   Welllll – that wasn’t the case with both the clerk and the woman I took to be the manager who was then serving as the barista.  Both were horrified at the possibility of receiving foreign currency – and proceeded to go on and on about the fact that the coin (let me remind you that it was 25 cents!) was Canadian, not American.  I happen to be as patriotic as the next person, but I’ve lived in Canada and I know that there’s no taint to their money.  In fact, depending on the day, the Canadian coin can be worth 2 cents more, or 2 cents less.  We’ve talking BIG revenue streaming here!  My reason for telling this rather inconsequential story (except for the reactions of the two in the store, who tried hard to make me feel both embarrassed and a crook – I rarely feel embarrassed and saw nothing wrong with the coin transaction, so they struck out on both counts).  They did, however, succeed in one thing:  I will never return to that store. And, if anyone asks for a recommendation of whether they should try it, I will simply tell them this story and let them be the judge of whether they want to trade in a place that tries to make their customers feel small.  The point of the story is that small businesses so often get wrapped up in their emotions that they lose sight of the reason they are open for business – that is, TO DO BUSINESS.  Hopping with emotion onto the immaterial coin situation pretty-well signifies to me (a specialist in how organizations should work: Recall, ALL THE MOVING PARTS: ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT) that they haven’t a clue about how to remain in business.



  1. I expect that over priced, mediocre cup of coffee was not quite worth the morning frustration. Customer service 101, don’t belittle people before their first cup of coffee. I prefer my simple cup of coffee black so I have no need for a Barista to mix up my fancy concoction.

    Believe me I get it, I do like my double double “animal style”, Oh yeaaa, when I order this off menu item, I feel so superior, when my Burgerista gives me that wink, as to say “you get it, your cool, your one of us”… I feel the endorphins racing through my body as I stroll away from the counter with my head held high. Yep, I get it.

    I wonder if a peso would have been received in the same manner. I expect you may have received a free cookie.

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