Small Business Saturday has been a beloved consumer tradition since 2010 with its origin spanning to its very first existence as a hashtag (#) on Twitter. Originally created to supplement the already thriving existence of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday has gone on to take a much more “community- oriented” presence with its overall message of spreading success and patronage to those businesses that compose a community’s character.
With its humble beginnings, it has quickly become one of the most recognized American consumer phenomenons of our time. 2013 was not only the year of one of the most fiscally successful Small Business Saturdays ever, but it was also the year that the once “underground” movement was the most advertised. American Express showed a series of promotions endorsing the beloved event while advertising their policy of offering American Express cardholders $10 back when they spent $10 at a qualified merchant. While some rejoiced and indulged in the offer, there were those that scoffed at the “hypocrisy” being committed.
In an article by Patrick Clark of Businessweek.com written pre- Small Business Saturday, he stated that there were many who felt that American Express was being hypocritical in their message of supporting small businesses while also charging the highest swipe fees and corporate tax strategies in the industry. One such organization known as the Main Street Alliance proposed a counter action to promotions stating that all those who chose to shop on Small Business Saturday were better off leaving their American Express cards at home.
In light of all the controversy, one question does come to mind: Does it really matter how people spend their money on Small Business Saturday? The bottom line is that consumers are continuing to invest in not only small businesses but the very idea of the American dream. Where should the line be drawn?
To read the article discussed, feel free to view it here: How Much Does Small Business Saturday Boost Main Street?
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