This is a guest post from my dad. I hope you enjoy it!
After speaking with some co-workers I have decided that I am in a small minority of people who have been at the same bank for 20+ years. I opened my checking & savings accounts at a new bank that was coming in from a neighboring state. In fact not long ago this bank informed me that they would have to change my account numbers because I was one of their oldest customers in the state and the computers were being updated and that they were purging all the old account numbers to match the new system. This got me thinking about long term business relationships and how they have evolved in my financial life.
Not long ago my wife decided to change milk delivery service and I called to cancel our old drop off. The lady answering the phone seemed genuinely upset that I would drop them. She indicated that we had been with them over 20 years and she would be sad to see us close our account. She offered to keep the account open in case I ever needed anything the other service did not provide. I felt bad so I told her that would be fine, knowing I would never use them and now the milk box sits sadly empty on the front porch. Although we rarely saw our milk man, we always left Christmas gifts for him and the service was fantastic.
My grown daughter & son recently each bought their first new cars and these were the first vehicles in years that we did not buy from our local dealer and the same salesman sold us 3 cars. This was unusual for a big city dealership that changes salesman like dirty diapers. When we bought our last car there he was gone so we still bought a car and then later he called wondering why we did not buy it from him. He had changed sales areas and we did not know it and felt bad about it when we found out. We have bought the same brand of cars for the last 15 years anyway. We stayed with them when people told us that domestic cars were junk and that imports were the only way to go. We felt like they made a good product and we had had great luck with them. I even bought stock in the company when it was teetering on brink of bankruptcy to show support for them (Jeff’s note: I almost bought stock in them as well, but after consulting with my dad he told me “dont risk what you cant afford to lose”, so I didnt buy it). I did not really think too much about making money, but I did sell when they did not take government money and doubled my money. Of course I could have hung on to it and made 9x killing on the stock.
My wife has had the same hair dresser for 15 years or more, we have had the same VISA card for longer than the company we got it from stayed in business, we have been season ticket holders for the local pro football team since 1967 (handed down by my father in law).
Without ever giving it much thought we had helped provide a living for the people that worked at these companies and helped them survive the ups and downs of the economy. Even though some of them you never meet, I always felt I had a relationship with them and the company they worked for that was beneficial to both parties. They provided us with good service and we continued to spend our money with them. We could have gone to other companies for less money but felt like we should stay with them if the cost was close.
Jeff’s note: I’d have to agree with this – if the people im purchasing a product from have a good product and treat me well, I see no reason to switch, even if the cost is a little more. I’ll gladly pay a bit extra for service any day of the week. I’d rather get it from the person/company that I know has it for a reasonable price than try and find something new and jack around with it for 2 weeks. (This is probably where I get it from)
Readers: Does the business of relationships extend into your financial life as well? If so, how and with which products? Are there some products that you’d change at the drop of a hat regardless of your relationship?