What A Wonderful Life


It was the day before Thanksgiving and I was in my store completing my CDC order on the GOTT. A customer walked in and wished me a happy Thanksgiving. We talked about how thankful we should be to have our families, our health and a job or a business in this economy. He asked me how business was, and I answered with the usual, “Business is great, thank you for asking.”

This got me thinking about all the things I should be thankful for right now:

I am thankful for my income as a franchisee, which grew tremendously in the past few years.

I am thankful that my credit card fees are still covered by SEI, helping me grow my income.

I am thankful that gasoline is such a positive influence in our stores, that SEI is allowing us a good profit per gallon, and the retail is so competitively low our volume has increased, bringing along many new customers.

I am thankful SEI concentrates on making 80 percent of company income from inside sales instead of from gasoline.

I am thankful for a CDC that is an absolute winner in my store. It helps me get so many items on a daily basis that I had difficulty getting previously, like dairy, hot dogs, Taquitos, snuff, packaged dairy, etc., and at such low prices and an amazing cost of distribution. All this, and the CDC still has a great return procedure for damaged and short-coded items.

I am thankful that SEI is investing big dollars in my store to make it look fresh-food friendly and attractive to young customers, with a newly paved parking lot, a completely remodeled storefront, matching floor tiles throughout the store, and state-of-the-art equipment.

I am thankful SEI is performing monthly and weekly cleanliness surveys in my store to make sure every aspect of their responsibility is met without any consideration to budget or financial worries. This helps the image of our stores, which compels me to spend extra labor to keep up with the cleanliness program and reach a 95 score on a monthly basis.

I am thankful for an ordering system so easy and friendly to use my employees and I look forward to using the GOTT, and a BT system that makes it easy for me to add or order any item from any vendor at any time, and apply retailer initiative.

I am thankful for the many tasks SEI does for franchisees, like placing accurate POP, performing gasoline surveys, cleaning the gasoline island, and changing our gas prices.

I am thankful for our maintenance department, which is about to start controlling our store temperatures remotely from Dallas instead of burdening me with the task of making sure my customers and employees are comfortable in my store.

I am thankful that SEI has brought maintenance back in-house, saving franchisees big money.

I am thankful for a new and improved accounting process that keeps adding employees in company accounting centers to help us run our stores so smoothly and efficiently we can concentrate on serving our customers.

I am thankful for Operation E, which added many layers of management to make sure that every promotion is implemented with complete success, without any glitches.

I am thankful SEI has been decreasing our Franchise Fee so we can maximize our goodwill sale and that we don’t have any renewal fee upon signing a new contract.

I am thankful that SEI extended the life of our agreement to 15 years from ten years.

I am thankful that we are nothing like some competitors who are required to have six order writers per store and are required to order all their products according to a specific, rigid timetable that increases their labor and deprives them of their independent contractor status.

I am thankful for “Business Transformation,” which saved us from a crumbling and disastrously failing DSD distribution system. BT presented itself at the perfect moment when DSD vendors could not deliver to our stores anymore.

I am thankful SEI has decided to involve franchisee leadership in the Holistic review promised last February, and the result of the review was shared at the last NBLC roundtable.

Finally, I am thankful my independent contractor status is so meticulously protected and respected by SEI I can order whenever I want from whomever I want without penalties.

At this point I felt someone poking me, and I realized I was dreaming. What a nightmare! Shaken, I got up to dress for work.

I welcome your thoughts and any Freudian analysis of my dream.