Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics – To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together
This is this one of the most difficult of all the Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles). In the 21st century. How do we do this? There are very few corner stores; and frankly, in today’s economy, very few small shops can compete with the big stores.
So, how do we help each other?
Stop devaluing artisans. Your cousin who fixes cars worked hard for the knowledge and skill. Don’t question his prices. If you can find a better price, tell him; but requesting a “family discount” is insulting. Because you’re related, his work is not as valuable to you? Really?
Understand the true cost of what you want. The person who fixes computers at Best Buy every day is paid $12 per hour, but the company charges you $50. That means the true value of fixing your computer is $50….not $12. Don’t offer your neice only $12 for fix your computer.
Tip. For real. The federal minimum wage for servers is $2.13. In Illinois it’s $4.95. If your restaurant bill is $40, the gov’t assumes that the server receives a $3.20 tip. So whether you tip or not, the servers taxable income for the hour is $8.15.
Compliment good service as often as you complain about bad service; and make sure the person in charge gets the message. Many retail and service employees receive bonus pay for compliments.
And finally, give second and even third chances. I’m not saying accept chronically bad service, but do check back for changes in management and look for signs of improvement.
Let Cooperative Economics be about more than entrepreneurship. Helping each other succeed financially makes the whole community better.