News platforms have been bursting over the last week with stories about the recession Australia is now in. There are the headline stories based on the numbers and the personal stories of people losing their businesses and homes, dreadful stories, sad stories.
It is easy to get drawn into the doom and gloom news cycle. Unfortunately, news outlets think bad news drives clicks, and, so, they run the stories. The stories feed into themselves and can make matters worse.
In local communities and in local retail businesses, we think it is helpful that we act against feeding the doom and gloom stories. It is helpful that we do nothing to negatively impact consumer confidence. In fact, we think it is valuable to do the opposite, to encourage happiness and optimism.
Our suggestion is: focus on what has been working for you in 2020, present as business as usual, bring in new product, change displays, host in-store events, be active on social media, play happy music, run competitions, be a good local retailer.
It is these types of activities that distance your business from negative perceptions relating to the recession.
Yes, this is a tough time. Worrying about it being a tough time will not help you move through it.
You can’t control that there is a recession.
You can control what your business does. That has to be the focus.
As a business, we have been through two recessions. Each was different. This time around it is expected to be worse because of the global Covid situation. The reality is that for many small business retailers, there are elements of Covid that help your businesses. In many retail businesses we see, revenue is up in 2020 so far. This is good news. Indeed, there is plenty of good news out there.
Be attuned to opportunity. Also, keep a low profile as no one likes a bragger during times of adversity.
Sure, the economy is in recession. Our businesses, while part of the economy, are not the economy. Many of us are doing well, many of us have plenty to be optimistic about.
Let’s be positive. Let’s manage for optimism. Happiness feeds stronger and more appreciated businesses.
Offshore web development is cheap, that is for sure.
Buyer beware, though. You get what you pay for in this world. That is especially true when it comes to website development.
Offshore website development is cheap because people are paid little. A web developer in some overseas countries get in a month what some web developers get in a day in Australia.
Money is not always the best guide as to who is best. No, there are other reasons to NOT have your retail; business website developed offshore.
If you want a website for your retail business, especially if you want your POS software connected to the website for your retail business, go local, go expert, go with the tech business that itself is supporting the local community in which you live and operate.
We are grateful for the business we have won replacing an offshore developed website with a website we have created ourselves. This is good business, which is helpful for local retailers.
While we understand the importance of offshore revenue for some countries, the revenue has to be for good products and services that are genuinely useful for businesses. This is problematic in the website space given that a website is a deep reflection of a local business and getting this, encoding this and reflecting this is a website is a challenge, something that is best done through local and genuine understanding of the business.
We develop websites for local retail businesses in Australia and New Zealand, websites that are usually connected to our POS software, websites that help local businesses serve local communities and folks further afield. Our portfolio is strong and growing. We are grateful for terrific support from local retailers.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, there is always a catch, always a way you pay.
Businesses that offer free POS software are paid in other ways, they have to be – otherwise, how do they pay their software designers, software developers, support people, sales people and more?
People like to be paid. It puts food on their table. A business offering you free POS software has to find another way to pay for its people because free POS software has a cost to develop, maintain and support, making free POS software not free once you work out who is actually paying.
Software development is expensive, this is especially true for good POS software. It requires specialist services, experts, working hard to make beautiful, fast, secure and stable software. This software, this specialist software is not something you want to be free.
So, when you see free POS software promoted, think carefully about value because it would be hard to find value in something that cost nothing to make and nothing to support.
It’s not free. Follow the money because it will be there. Someone, at some point, will be paying so that those developing, selling, supporting and promoting the software get paid so they can eat and have a roof over their heads. Yes, follow the money and see why free POS software is not really free. Once you follow the money, you can make an informed decision.
Tower Systems does not offer free POS software. We make and sell awesome specialty POS software for a range of retail niches. We are good at what we do and have a long track record of success in service of independent retail business channels.
Our focus is on delivering commercially valuable software to businesses that understand business and the importance of being paid for good business services. We pay our people well because they are good what what they do. We expect people to pay for our software so we can do this. This is at the core of all businesses that respect themselves and their people.
We get that free POS software is desired. However, as we said at the beginning, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
We created this social media banner a couple of weeks ago to speak to the hope and opportunity each day brings.
We love the optimism it reflects, the hope and opportunity, the joy of what the new day can bring. This is core to our goal of helping small business retailers nurture and curate opportunities for their businesses.
While we are a POS software company, we see our mission as beyond the POS software itself.
Tower Systems is grateful to be able to continue to help Australian and New Zealand small business retailers through COVID-19.
For us, it has been business as usual with no interruption to software development, support and POS software user training.
We continue to offer a full service POS software help desk service, releasing POS software updates and delivering our much-loves free one-on-one training to our retail business owners and their staff.
In offering business as usual, our customers have continuity of service. This helps them have what they need to work on their businesses … as that is what plenty of small business retailers have been doing through COVID-19, working on their businesses, re-calibrating, adjusting and, for some, pivoting. Indeed, we have helped some exciting pivots and we are grateful to have seen this and been part of it.
We are grateful to our own team of software developers, help desk experts, POS software trainers and our back office infrastructure support in that it is this group of people that has delivered for your customers through COVID-19 every day.
With small business retail at the forefront of community support through COVID-19, helloing them serve and grow is important to our customers and to us.
Our customers continue to haver access to a range of opportunities and benefits to help them best run their businesses in this situation.
So, here at Tower Systems, it is business as usual and, through this, we are helping our POS software customers achieve a business as usual experience. We know this is comforting to our customers, helpful for their business planning and operations.
But back to the pivot opportunity. We see plenty of this in a range of retail channels. By see we mean in business data. data show pivot opportunities and we can help our retail partners to explore these and consider whether they are useful. 2020 is a terrific year for a pivot and having the right software with flexibility can be helpful.
We hope your 2020 is going well too.
As a core business software partner of retailers designated by government as being essential, Tower Systems is proud to be of service to these retailers, ensuring uptime for their POS software and other software we have provided for business management use.
In addition to our POS software, we offer other infrastructure opportunities and services in service of essential small business retailers. This includes cloud hosting, C2B and B2B online transactions, theft mitigation, food chain inventory management and more.
Our POS and other software are at the core of the operations of plenty of specialty retailers classed by governments as essential. Our role in their essential operations is important, something of which we are sincerely proud.
While most of our operation is remote and has been for months through 2020, some services, from time to time, we are office based as needed for infrastructure support and use.
Essential retailers are providing vital and essential services for communities and that is where we play a role as many essential services rely on core infrastructure providers to ensure that their essential services businesses can continue to trade through.
2020 is an odd year with plenty off challenges confronted already and plenty more to come. Here at Tower Systems we have rolled with the challenges, embracing those we can and managing our response as needed to help our customers and help others who rely on us.
Being flexible has been key in the first 7 months of this year and most recent challenges in Australia especially have been complex to confront.
Having customers across all Australian states and territories has helped as has having customers in New Zealand. This along with our placement of Tower Systems team members working across Australia and New Zealand has helped us be balanced in our work and service, especially of essential businesses.
Being a broad-based business that serves locally owned and run independent specialty retail; businesses helps us serve in 2020 in ways that matter not only to these businesses but to those served by these businesses. This is especially true in local and regional communities.
Serving essential businesses is a responsibility we take seriously and with sincere appreciation.
This week has been particularly challenging in this 2020 time of COVID-19, especially in small business retail where impacts have been considerable. From the challenges of masks in some locations to supply chain issues elsewhere, COVID-19 is imp-acting everyday retail.
We have shared with our customers some thoughts, revisiting past comments and advice…
With the second wave in Victoria now 3 weeks old and problematic infections in NSW and SE Queensland, and with restrictions being tightened as a result, retailers are noticing a fall in foot traffic, with Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory the exceptions.
With foot traffic down, it can be disheartening. You can push back on this by having projects in the business on the go, working on the business. We are reminded on earlier advice on day to day operations:
In our own business, our approach is to look at corona being with us for the long term. The moves we made re working from home, remote training, remote installs were all for the long term. In our own retail shops our focus has very much been about being online with a terrific surge in sales being experienced.
2020 is a tough year, on the back of plenty of tough years for small business retailers.
Drought, bushfires, corona, these and other factors have been impacting communities and small businesses serving those communities.
Small business retailers, their employees and their customers are on the front line, impacted often all to regularly by the mental health challenge.
We think it is timely to pause for a moment in any business and consider how it approaches the issue of mental health, to ensure it has up to date information and leverages the appropriate practices in the business and with all team members.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reinforce why mental health is a 365 day a year challenge:
The stat for suicide among young people is horrifying.
While we are not mental health professionals, we have been in the software and retail businesses for many years and have had experiences working with and supporting people.
We share here today a revised version of information we have shared here before on this.
There are wonderful resources from government departments available. For example, The Victorian Government has a page online on this topic, which includes good practical advice, advice we remind our own team members of regularly:
This government website also lists indicators that are helpful for business owners and managers to be across:
There are links to some excellent resources too:
Our approach to mental health as business owners has to be continuous, on-going. It can’t be a one day of the year focus or a stunt. It has to be part of how we run our businesses, everyday.
In our experience, talking is key – offering an environment where people can talk, where they know it is safe to talk, where they are encouraged to talk and where active listening happens. While it is not always perfect and does not always achieve what is hoped for, it is documented as being valuable.
The headline is that it is business as usual at Tower Systems, as it has been all through Covid.
Since March 2020, most of our team members have been working from home. Our head office is open with a skeleton staff covering essential services.
The commitments we made at the start of Covid continue to be held: our support fees have not increased, the free software licence offer for folks working from home is still in place, the no credit card fee policy is still in place, our hardware discount offer is still in place and our specific retail channel support packages are still in place.
Our goal from early March was to provide our customers with a regular year regardless of what Covid brought. We think this focus has been appreciated by small business retailers who, themselves, have sought as normal as possible a year.
Stay safe and well everyone.
Retailers are loving that they can record customer mobile phone numbers in our POS software at the sales counter as well as easily track shopper postcodes in the POS screen.
With the obligation for accurate tracking of critical data that can help with contact tracing, having these and other tools in our POS software is good for business’s good for the community and good for suppression.
We are grateful to have these tools in our POS software for years and for them to now have a public health benefit in this ear of corona.
This is engaging and smart POS software serving community health needs, doing good for the community and those who shop in each shop using our software.
In Victoria recently we have seen the value of the data capture and tracking tools, to enable easier management for the retailers needing to control those who are shop[ping in the shops where our POS software is in use.
Recording a mobile phone number at the time of sale is easy. recording shopper postcode is easy too. This can be particularly helpful is law enforcement are tasked with checking the data, that it is available, accurate and able to show if there is an issue with people accessing a business who should not because of corona lockdown restrictions.
Outside of the corona need / benefit, these tracking tools provide wonderful business insights for small business retailers using our POS software. They can demonstrate the reach of the business as well as provide post-visit marketing opportunities based on purchase items and more. This is clever and valuable all in one.
The postcode data has helped retailers realise that their shopper base is less immediately local than they imagined and through this they have re-cast their inventory mix to help even further broaden the appeal of the business. This is what happens once you know how far someone will travel for what you sell. Data is gold, as they say.
Tower Systems is proud to serve local small business retailers with locally made and supported POS software,. helping these businesses compete with online, get online themselves and compete with big businesses.
It can be challenging for any retailer to receive advice that a shopper who visited their shop has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The protocols in such a situation will depend on your location as each state and territory has different approaches. If you are formally notified of such contact, ask the notifying authority for recommended actions. They should have protocols for you to follow regarding cleaning and staff management.
Here is a list of state and territory helplines. This is from the the Safe Work Australia website:
Here is what Safe Work Australia says about cleaning following advice that someone diagnosed was in your workplace:
There is no automatic requirement to close an entire workplace following a suspect or confirmed case of COVID-19. It may be unnecessary if the person has only visited parts of your workplace or if government health officials advise you the risk of others being exposed are low.
Whether you need to suspend operations in your workplace will depend on factors such as the size of the workplace, nature of work, number of people and suspected areas of contamination in your workplace.
Click here to access the cleaning advice for any workplace where someone has been diagnosed.
Our advice re cleaning is as follows, this is the advice for our own shops too:
Here is what Safe Work Australia says about routine cleaning:
Workplaces should clean surfaces at least daily. Special attention should be given to frequently touched surfaces (e.g. tabletops, door handles, light switches, desks, toilets, taps, TV remotes, kitchen surfaces and cupboard handles). Ideally, once clean, surfaces should also be disinfected regularly. Alternatively, you may be able to do a 2-in-1 clean and disinfection by using a combined detergent and disinfectant.
Surfaces and fittings should be cleaned more frequently when:
- visibly soiled
- used repeatedly by a number of people (e.g. trolleys, checkouts, EFTPOS machines), and
- after any spillage.
For routine cleaning, disinfectants are usually only necessary if a surface has been contaminated with potentially infectious material. For this reason, when and how often a workplace should undertake disinfection as part of routine cleaning will depend on the likelihood of contaminated material being present at the workplace. For example, in a busy retail environment with many customers and others entering a workplace each day, more frequent disinfection is recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. By contrast, for a small work crew operating the same item of plant each day with little interaction with other people, routine disinfection in addition to daily cleaning may not be reasonably practicable.
We have shared this here not as experts. rather as retailers ourselves, supporting other retailers.
Aussie newsagents have been critical in local towns and cities through COVID-19. While plenty of businesses have closed or gone into hibernation, the local newsagency, or newsagents as many call them, has been open, trading and supporting the local community.
The thing is, the newsagents is not what it used to be. News has taken a back seat in these evolving retail businesses as other products have come to the fore, making the local newsagents more valuable and useful to people in local communities, especially regional communities.
Sure, newspapers and magazines still play a role and they are the news part of the name, the reality is that in terms of overall business contribution and value, they lie outside of news, our side of that part of the newsagents name.
Many newsagency businesses have evolved deeply, into gifts, homewares, home office solutions, games, toys, jigsaws, nesting products, comfort products, art supplies and more. The local newsagency is less about the news and the agency and more about helping people enjoy themselves, helping them relax, helping them create and helping them find their voice.
The newsagents of yesterday is the place of happiness, joy and communication today.
Whether it is a greeting card, journal, art supplies, a candle, a thro rug, a scarf or local Aussie essential oils, a newsagency is a fresh and innovative business delivering local town access to a diverse range of products in service of local community needs.
Tower Systems is proud to serve more than 1,700 newsagents with its newsagency software, software used by more newsagents than all other software companies combined. We take that leadership role seriously and respectfully, helping newsagents to reach the potential of their local area opportunities.
Whether it is in-store or online, our newsagency POS software is helping newsagents to transact where there need to and when they need to, accurately, efficiently. It is also helping them to find new shoppers as new shoppers are the lifeblood of any business. Indeed, we are grateful to smart newsagents for walking this path of innovation and opportunity with us.
The 2020 of corona is challenging. For newsagents it has been a year of opportunity and it is a thrill to see so many step up to that opportunity in service of their local communities.
There is a scam in the software business space where software companies are invited to pay to be put on lists of the top software.
Some lists are application specific like POS software while others are retail channel specific like gift shops, jewellers and similar. There is another list going around for top inventory management software and another for top retail software linking to accounting software.
Tower Systems has been approached five times in recent months to pay to be listed on such lists. In one case, the amount you paid determined your position on the list. The fee sought to be on such a faux list of the best has ranged from $2,500 to $15,000. With between 8 and 15 companies on such a list and the promoters often creating 10+ lists every few months you can get a sense of the financial value, to them, of the scam.
In each case the invitation said they had assessed us and our POS software as being worthy. We checked them out and there had been no assessment whatsoever. Each approach was, in our view, a scam, a commercial operation designed to drive revenue for the business in control of the like by providing a fake ranking that the software companies listed could point to in their marketing – further promoting the fake.
We have never participated in these scams at Tower Systems. We have not and will not pay to have our POS software listed in a list that says we are one of the best.
The only assessment we trust is that of each of our POS software user small business retail customers. The toy shop owners, farm supply business owners, jewellers, garden centre owners, landscapers, pool repairers, newsagents, bike shop owners … these small business owners matter to us.
Paying to be on a list reflects poorly on the software companies on the list in our view. It demonstrates that the software and services provided by any company on such a list were not a factor in determining place.
The next time you see a software company promoting that they are on a list, ask them how they got there, ask them if they paid anything to the creators or promoters of the list. You will not see our Tower Systems POS software there, and for that we are grateful.
What a thrill it is when a retailer calls and says I got my first online sale … when your POS software co created the POS software connected website just for them.
This is happening here at Tower Systems with more and more small retailers embracing our covid pivot encouragement, attracting new shoppers from out of state and even sometimes overseas as they expand their shopper reach and, in some cases, expand their product offering reach.
The covid pivot is about making a move in your business to find new customers and to do this using smart POS software usually connected to a beautiful Shopify website.
The covid pivot is not reactionary. No, it is thoughtful, opportunistic, leveraging existing infrastructure, doing it with the least investment possible, chasing a brighter and more valuable future for the business.
The covid pivot is smart small business retail.
Our web development team is busy developing Shopify and Magento websites for our POS software customers. Building them, fashioning them to attract new shoppers in local, out of state and other areas. Through our research we understand keyword and SEO opportunities that can leverage data sent from the POS software to the online Shopify or other site and to do this in a labour effective way.
Having an in-house web development team as well as a POS software development team as well as retail businesses with websites of our own – we are conditioned and positioned to be able to help our customers to embrace this opportunity, to embrace what we call the covid pivot opportunity.
The covid pivot is something we first discussed here back in March this year, once were understand what corona was and games out how this could play out for small business retail. We worked it into our own business strategy, to help small business retailers to make the most of the opportunity in their businesses.
We did not want to wallow and think oh, poor us with all this stuff going on. In our marketplaces, bike shops, produce businesses, farm supply businesses, toy shops, newsagents and more have bene growing through corona and in plenty of cases this is because of covid pivot engagement, being opportunistic themselves in making the most of today not knowing what tomorrow may bring.
Every day we are engaging with new opportunities to embrace the covid pivot opportunity with small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand.
The covid pivot is where a business embraces a change outside of what has been usual for the business – new products, new services, new business methods – in pursuit of new shoppers and that it does this in response to the covid challenge and opportunity of 2020. Hence, the term the covid pivot. It is real.
It is important to understand what the covid pivot it not. It is not made out of fear or desperation. It is not a last stand. It is not a retreat. No, the covid pivot is a confident move a business makes to pursue new opportunities, new customers, to expand the reach of the business. This is the pivot part. the covid part is that the virus provides opportunity, encouragement and cover, if necessary.
We are grateful to serve more than 3,000 small business retailers in our POS software community, and to be growing this daily as more join with us. Within our current community and without we are helping retailers in their covid pivot journey to find new shoppers, to expand their reach and to being new life and opportunity to their businesses.
While we get that 2020 is challenging, early on, back in march tis year, we decided to focus on walking forward, turning here and there, expanding the business and the businesses of our customers. We think it is too easy to get caught up ion the doom and gloom of some in the media, the negativity. That’s not for us. It’s a mug’s game. That’s not us.
Opportunities abound for finding new customers in retail as well as in our space of being a small business POS software company.
In our focus on the covid pivot opportunity we are doing this here ourselves, in retail businesses we own and with plenty of our partner retailers. This is a 2020 good new story. We call it the covid pivot as something to celebrate, while not forgetting the health and personal harm and suffering that covid itself ha=s brought to so many.
This is an up to date (as at July 13, 2020) list of state and territory government Covid related grants. There are some new opportunities in this mix. Click on the state / territory name for their landing page. Then, where possible, I have links to specific current grants.
Do your research as to eligibility. If you are eligible, do it now as waiting could see you miss out and there will be no point complaining then.
These are all valid questions. The answers are subjective. That is, the answers depend first on your business needs. Choosing the right POS system for your business is all about your business. It starts with you and your business needs because the best POS system for your business is the one that best serves your business needs.
No one can tell you this but you.
All POS software company sales people can do is to show you what their software does, to answer your questions, to listen to your needs and to use their POS software to show you how their software serves your needs.
The best POS software for your business is the software you consider to be the best based on your experience seeing the software and assessing it for yourself.
It’s a journey, challenging, hard work. But it is worth it. It is worth you actively choosing a POS system based on your needs. The key is being clear about your business needs and pursuing them as this is what really matters about the business, what really matters about achieving what is best for your business.
Tower Systems will work with you. Our people will demonstrate our POS software as much as you want, as often as you want and in as much detail as you want. It is important to us that you make an informed business decision. We are there to help you do this, at your pace and at your preferred level of technical engagement.
So, what is the best POS system for your business? It is up to us. It could be Tower Systems or it could be another POS software product. What we hope is that you do find what you are looking for. We will respect your decisions and encourage you to be independent in making these.
Things change and over time, the decision you make may need to be revised. We will be here when you need us, when you think we could be the best POS software for your business.
As Victoria heads into lockdown, again, tonight, here at Tower Systems it will be business as usual.
While our head office is in Melbourne and most of our team live in Victoria, we have been operating remotely since March this year. So, in short, no change for us from the start of lockdown.
At our office we have a skeleton team because there are some things that can only be done at the office in a business like ours. Those here all live close to the office.
The office itself is safe and secure. We have not accepted visitors since March.
Our new VoIP phone system has been terrific. It has given is seamless flexibility. Our commercial Zoom account has been terrific too as it offers secure access for video calls. Our regular customer Zoom meetings are working a treat.
Internally, Microsoft Teams helps us keep connected with each other as well as other platforms we are using in different parts of the business for specialty needs.
From a business perspective, we have a full schedule of new customers to bring on as plenty of business are joining our user community, for which we are sincerely grateful. Our installation specialists started doing remote installations, installations where they work from home and customer businesses could be in another state or country, over a year ago. The process has been finessed and is working well.
In lockdown, retailers seek to pivot. We are well placed to help with this – by helping businesses get online, helping them to make data based decisions into allied product categories, by stopping doing what is not working and by backing more certain winners.
At the start of Covid we told our customers that some things that had a charge previously would now be free, that a any price increases planned for 2020 would not proceed and that some products would be free – to help people have a more flexible approach to doing business.
We are energised and well-resourced to help small business retailers in this unusual 2020. While a second lockdown is frustrating and disappointing, it is what it is and we are help to help small business retailers take steps forward … a step at a time, a day at a time.
Australian small business retailers have served their Australian communities well through COVID-19. They have provided certainty in challenging situations, helping to keep people fed, clothed, entertained and encouraged. Many Aussie small businesses have kept local people employed.
Small business retailers were quick to adopt safe shopping protocols so locals could shop locally with certainty around cleanliness, health and safety. For example, the installation of perspex screens at the counter, encouraging tap and go and providing social distancing guidance are all moves that we saw early in small business retail.
Since they are locally owned and run and they employ local people, local small business retailers are closely connected with their local communities. What we have seen is that local communities have turned to their local small businesses through COVID-19.
We know of small business retailers who have adjusted their business offerings to bring to local shoppers products in demand. For example, the local newsagent offering cost-effective work from home furniture, the toy shop offering in-home fitness products, the gift shop offering calming and personally nourishing products, the pet shop offering dog training online, the garden centre offering advice and help to people creating their own veggie patches and produce businesses offering drop off.
Then, there are the new services for many small business retailers, to provide safer shopping options, services like click and collect, curbside pickup, ready to go shopping packages and home delivery in situations where none of these were offered previously.
Small business retailers have served Australians well through COVID-19. While hospitality businesses have been challenged because of the regulations, small businesses permitted to be open have been open, delivering shopping opportunities to their local communities.
Without wanting to sound inappropriate, COVID-19 has provided plenty of small business retailers an opportunity to demonstrate the value they offer their local communities, and they have shined through this.
While, for sure, some big businesses have been serving Australians through COVID-19. Plenty of big businesses, however, closed early and stayed closed for a long time, leaving small businesses to step in.
The other trend through COVID-19 has been people fleeing shopping malls for shopping on the high street. This is good for small business retailers in that on the high street you are more likely to find small business retailers.
The last four months have demonstrated to Australians the importance of small business retail as a core offering for local communities. Well done small business retailers!
We are a POS software company that owns and runs shops. We bought our first retail business in February 1996. Every day, the experience is valuable and appreciated.
Recently on social media, we have been sharing stories from our own experiences. These stories for a local Aussie shop have resonated. Here are some of them:
Storytime. Joe is 89 years old. He lives in a nursing home. When he moved there, he was limited as to what he could bring. The old shoebox with the collection of cards he’d received was the first thing he chose.
In that box are cards from his time as a local community Aussie rules coach. Parents and players had written cards over the years and Joe had kept them. “Each card is a memory”, he says with a smile, looking through his collection.
The oldest card Joe has is from 40 years ago from a player grateful for Joe’s help. Here it is so many years on, making Joe’s day.
Greeting cards hold the most wonderful memories.
Storytime. Not long after Jeff, Deidre’s husband of 35 years, passed away, she received a card in her letterbox. It was from a Sam. It told the story of gratitude for the time Jeff helped Sam when he was down on his luck, by giving him a job. Sam explained that Jeff created the job for hem, to help him out. He told Deidre how that gesture from Jeff changed his life, that he owes his life to Jeff.
While Jeff passed away 10 years ago, Deidre has the card on her bedside table and looks at it every night. She is grateful for Sam and the card he sent.
Greeting cards give us the most wonderful memories.
Storytime. Olivia turned 10 years old last month. The big birthday party planned could not happen, of course. With her family living in a flat, a drive-by honking or horns was not practical. The mum of a friend organised for everyone to send Olivia a birthday card.
Olivia received more than 50 cards, more than for any other birthday. The cards meant the world to her, especially those from her friends. The notes they wrote to her warmed her heart more than any gift. She wrote back to everyone. It took 2 days.
Olivia still has the cards on a shelf in her bedroom. She looks at them every day as each card is a friend or loved-one.
Greeting cards give us the most wonderful memories.
Storytime. When Nick’s dad died, he didn’t know what to say to his mum. They were not close, Nick had not seen the family for many years since he walked out at 17 years old. Now 32, on hearing of the passing of his father, Nick wanted to reach out to his mum, but he was too scared to call or visit. He chose a gentle and respectful sympathy card. He shared a happy memory of his dad and explained how he had, finally, sorted out his life. He mentioned that even though he left, and that he never forgot and that his dad’s patience is something he eventually learned for himself.
The card opened a door and Nick and his family are reuniting.
Storytime. “Sorry, it’s just a card, no money for a gift this year.” That’s how Chris signed off the card to Jules, her friend of more than 20 years, since they were in high school together. Swapping birthday gifts with a card and a note were a tradition. Since they lived on opposite sides of the country, they’d usually include a note with the card and gift each year.
Jules wrote back: “your card and note mean the world to me, every year. While I may have, possibly but please don’t judge me, re-gifted the odd gift from you, I have kept every card, every single card from you. I have 23. They the story of us. They are a perfect gift. Thank you.”
The card we send today can provide heart-warming memories for many years to come.
Storytime. Jack opened the plain envelope that came in the post with the morning’s mail and was surprised to find an old card he vaguely recognised from years ago. The handwritten note on the back of the card was from Pattie, who used to be the receptionist at Jack’s work. Many years ago Pattie was going through a rough patch with her health and Jack had written her a card of encouragement.
Jack, Pattie wrote on the back of the card, I heard you have sold the business and are retiring. I am returning this card you gave me as a reminder of the difference you made. The card was the right message at the right time for me. It made a difference. It told me I was not alone. I kept it all these years as a reminder of the importance of simple kindness. I hope you treasure it as much as I have Jack.
Jack sat there and shook his head that a simple card could have meant to much.
Storytime. Ethan’s school assignment asked that he write about his earliest memory. That’s easy, he said, it was the first letter I ever received. It was a birthday card from grandma. I was 4 and she posted me a birthday card with a tiger on it and it came in the mail. That’s the first memory I have. I still have card, and the envelope. Mum got them framed for me.
The card created in Ethan an interest in mail and letters more specifically. Now, 6 years on, every couple of weeks Ethan will write to a relative in the hope of receiving a response in the mail. And it all started with that birthday card, which remains his first memory.
Cards give us memories and stories long after they are received.