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A little thing you can do to help businesses struggling due to the quarantine

You could pay now for a session with a business such as a hairdresser, gym or restaurant that has been forced to shut during the quarantine, the voucher to be redeemed whenever the establishment re-opens. The appointment could be for your own use, or as a gift for someone else. It might be a way that someone who has been in isolation can thank whoever did their shopping, while helping the proprietors of the business get some cash coming in when they need it most.

11 comments to A little thing you can do to help businesses struggling due to the quarantine

  • Rudolph Hucker

    As most of those businesses (such as a hairdresser, gym or restaurant) are self-employed or sole traders, that would be very welcome. These people are deemed to not be employees, so not getting the guaranteed 80% handout.

  • John B

    Everyone with a computer and printer will be making vouchers.

    On the other hand the loonies in ‘government’ could look at the evidence, almost 100% of population not affected by a supposedly highly contagious, dangerous virus which has been in circulation for two to three months, longer maybe in Italy.

    Infections and mortality considerably below seasonal ‘flu epidemics.

    Then that cruise ship where 83% didn’t get it; 48% who did had no symptoms; handful of deaths among the elderly only.

  • John B

    ‘ You could pay now for a session with a business such as a hairdresser, gym or restaurant that has been forced to shut during the quarantine, the voucher to be redeemed whenever the establishment re-opens.‘

    All this does is move the period when they get no income, down the line.

    The get money but no customers for a few weeks, then they get customers after those few weeks but no money.

  • Mr Ecks

    John B–They could work longer /faster–unless they are commission taking artists or summat. A barber or such could stay open 3 hrs longer to deal with post dated customers so to speak.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    John B writes,

    All this does is move the period when they get no income, down the line.

    That in itself would help. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, as the saying goes. Plenty of jobs are paid for in advance in the normal way of things. Also the situation won’t be so absolute; after they re-open they are likely to have a mix of pre-paid appointments and a surge of people who want to celebrate their regained freedom by having a manicure or whatever.

    In fact there are many practical problems. One I met with myself on my attempt to do this was that the phones of the establishment were not manned and the website didn’t offer a means of doing it. Then there’s a risk that the shop will go bust in the next few weeks whatever you do, in which case you’ll lose your money.

    But an option doesn’t have to work all the time to be worth considering.

  • Mr Ed

    And you will find that your voucher could be worth about as much as a Woolworths gift voucher is in the UK what with our insane concept of limited liability and the legal personality of the ‘corporation’, if you deal with the ludicrous fiction of a certificate of incorporation being a legal person, whilst the recipient of the money trousers it as pay for nothing in return.

    If bodies corporate were real, they would have real bodies.

    I fully expect a triple broadside from my good friend the Sage of Kettering, to which I say ‘long-established fraudulent and fanciful practice is still fraudulent and fanciful’, the only point in favour of this scheme is ‘volenti non fit injuria’, no harm is done to the willing.

  • John B (March 25, 2020 at 1:43 pm, echoing Natalie’s reply, money’s value is time-dependent. People charge interest because a pound now is worth more than a pound in 3 months time. It is also cash-flow-dependant. The minimum amount of money required to survive now is worth more than none now and it plus more later. You are making an interest-free loan to the small business. (If they are clued-up enough to have any chance of being around in a few months then they will only offer some limited number for sale.)

    Mr Ed (March 25, 2020 at 4:49 pm), the gift-token purchaser is making an interest-free unsecured loan to the small business – which may indeed not be there when this is over. If – like the lady who cuts my hair when it needs it – the business is a one-woman shop who lives locally, then even if the business goes bust and its stock is sold, you will probably be able to redeem some value, even if you just visit her house bringing your own scissors and shampoo. But the point of Natalie’s suggestion is that you pick a business you’d like still to be there in times to come and invest a tiny amount in upping that probability. The risk, that you correctly note, is what you are consciously spending to buy that upped probability.

    (BTW Instapundit has made the same suggestion.)

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Niall Kilmartin,

    Yes, an interest-free unsecured loan to a small business describes what I meant. I was thinking of businesses where the lender knows the proprietor/s personally to some extent and wants to help them in their hour of need and is willing to bear a risk of losing some money to that end. The transaction would be partly commercial and partly charitable.

  • Chris in texas

    The only person I know in this situation is my barber.
    My plan is to leave a really big tip when she reopens.
    I’m thinking something in the neighborhood of $200.

  • DP

    Dear Miss Solent

    A brilliant idea.

    Any business man or woman worth his salt can calculate what he needs to survive 3 weeks (or more) of national imprisonment, apply a discount and offer n vouchers redeemable when our beloved government allows (if ever).

    The logistics? How to let the loyal customers know and how to effect the transaction.

    A sign in the shop window, a notice on the website, emails to their customers.

    Payment via internet banking, reference is the item bought. Redemption in person – I paid £x on y date for one z. Proprietor checks printout of his bank statement listing payers of transfers in and their choice, and adds on date of redemption. Telephone version, using card payment. Cash/cheque version, envelope through the door, quarantine the envelope for 72 hours before opening.

    As you say, works best for personal services with established customers/suppliers, probably already on first name terms.


  • Alsadius

    I’d rather just buy things when/if I’m able – I made a point of grabbing a board game from my favourite shop when things started to shut down, for example. I liked the idea at first blush, but extending unsecured credit isn’t my favourite way to help firms I like.

    Mr. Ed: Imagine how a stock market would work without limited liability. You buy a mutual fund, XYZ corp gets sued for eleventy trillion dollars, and a bailiff comes along to clean out your bank account because you owned a few shares. Is that how you would want the system to work? If no, how do you prevent it without limited liability?

    DP: Three weeks? My working estimate is six months. Possibly longer, but there’s not much point planning for any more than that right now. No businessman can calculate what he needs, because none of them know how many months it’ll be. The last epidemic this size (albeit more virulent) lasted about a year and a half, and there were a couple parts of the world that spent the whole time quarantined. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Martin_Poyer, for example.