It’s fun being the lone ray of sunshine in gloomy times

April 28, 2009

By Ryan Cain

Hall Monitor Ryan Cain Liberty High School

Hall Monitor Ryan Cain Liberty High School

The taste remained in my mouth well into my final class, reminding me of a lunch well spent. A Grand Slam had never tasted so good, proof to the adage that free food tastes best.

Everyone bemoans the economy’s downturn. I would like to be that infuriatingly persistent ray of sunshine, the one that taunts children mercilessly, no matter how hard it’s raining. Many major corporations have been doing their part to give back to their customers; and I’ll be the first to tell you as a high school student — I love it.

Subway led the charge by decreasing prices on many of their six-inch subs, making several $5 foot-longs a permanent fixture. Denny’s gave away free Grand Slams on Feb. 4. T-Mobile has been sending out coupons for free drinks at Starbucks. On Feb. 24, IHOP gave out a free stack of pancakes. 

Instead of exploiting a treasure trove of desperate consumers, businesses have grasped an opportunity to help out the consumer, to really give back to the people. On tax day, Cinnabon gave out free Cinnabon bites, and Taco Del Mar gave customers a free taco.

Chain businesses have been long thought of as greedy, faceless corporations that only see customers as wallets and purses to be emptied; I think we’ve collectively been too hard on them. The job of a corporation is to make money, and this requires adjusting prices to better fit the present economic climate.

While the problems in our economy are far-reaching and difficult to solve, much can be done at the individual level. Especially in a free-market capitalist system such as ours, consumer trust and confidence in the stock market and economy are vital to their success. Seems like a Catch-22, but I think these companies are onto something. 

Instead of raising prices and decreasing services to cut costs while increasing profits, they sacrifice profits to help the customer. In the process, a sense of community arises from the gathering of people looking to score a free taco.

This is the first step toward re-establishing customer trust in large businesses — something absolutely critical if there is hope for any of President Obama’s massive spending policies to be effective. No matter how progressive his policies or how much change he plans on making, it ultimately will fall upon the shoulders of the common citizen to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

There are many people who are having a tough time because of the recession, but for those in line waiting for their taste of a free stack of pancakes, life is good.

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