A couple of weeks ago I wrote this letter to the President. Not surprisingly, I have yet to receive a response. Here’s hoping I’m surprised soon! Days after I sent it the man received a Nobel Peace Prize, which, by all accounts, he was not expecting. I’ve heard such an honor is accompanied by a rather tidy sum. I mean, gosh, I even included an order form. What more could he ask for?
Dear Mr. President:
As a small business owner in Pittsburgh, I was excited to learn that you had selected my city to host the G-20 Summit. I took the time to personally invite you and your delightful wife Michelle to visit my restaurant, Franktuary. Sadly, you declined. Hey, I understand, you’re a busy man!
It’s just that at the time you chose Pittsburgh to host the Summit I was naïve enough to believe that you were doing something to benefit the businesses of this city’s downtown. I thought that security and protesters would need to eat somewhere, and that somewhere might be my place. As the event approached it became clear this was only wishful thinking.
The frustrating reality is this. The hype and limited access to downtown generated by the presence of your international peers kept approximately 90% of my regular clientele away on Thursday September 24 and Friday September 25. The law enforcement officials stationed downtown, although pleasant and professional, were not permitted to take a lunch break and eat at the establishment of their choosing. The presence of protesters, tourists, and adventurous locals in the Golden Triangle failed to replace even a tiny fraction of downtown Pittsburgh’s regular daytime population. Ironically, while trying to fix the global economy with pomp, circumstance, and a Friday morning meeting, those who attended the G-20 Summit managed to kill many facets of a local economy for approximately 72 hours.
At a minimum, my business lost $500 in sales as a direct result of the entirety of downtown Pittsburgh being turned into a high-security international society club. Admittedly, from a global perspective the amount of money to which I am referring is not very much. However, to a business such as my own it is a staggering loss.
Look, Mr. President, my business is not “too big to fail.” The last thing I’m interested in doing is requesting a bailout. I am, however, a pragmatic and solutions oriented person. The marketers of your Presidential campaign would have me believe that you are as well. This gives me reason to HOPE this letter doesn’t fall on deaf ears.
So, here’s what can be done to remedy a piece of the collateral damage caused by your event:
~20 world leaders each spending $25 at Franktuary equals $500
~$500 approaches the amount of sales world leaders have caused Franktuary to lose
~$25 equals the cost of one Franktuary hooded sweatshirt
Logically, we can deduce (YES WE CAN!) that if 20 world leaders each purchase one hoodie from Franktuary, they will have eliminated a piece of the damage they incidentally inflicted on the micro-economy of downtown Pittsburgh.
As the host of this global convergence, perhaps it is appropriate for you to supply each of your guests with a Franktuary hoodie as a gift. In doing so you have the opportunity to take personal responsibility for helping a grass-roots business that strives to benefit its community (see previous letter), as opposed to being remembered as a high-rolling bigwig who chose to trample over it on his romp through town.
You once stated, “to every American running a small business or hoping to run a small business one day: You deserve a chance. America needs you to have that chance. And as President, I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that you have the opportunity to contribute to your community, to our economy, and to the future of the United States of America.” Mr. President, if this is how you feel, surely you are interested in making up for one restaurant’s lost chance to do two days worth of business as a result of an event you coordinated. I challenge you to put your money where your mouth is! Clearly, a purchase of 20 hoodies is well within your “power.”
Conveniently, the Franktuary hoodie displays the phrase “Pittsburgh, PA” beneath the company logo and along the right breast of the garment. It will make a treasured keepsake for each of its recipients.
As I said, Mr. President, this is no bailout. It’s better. This is the opportunity to support a real business that has been anything but wasteful in its spending over the course of its five year history. For your convenience an order form picturing the Frankuary hoodie has been enclosed. We can work out the shipping details later.
Peace, Love, and Capitalism,
PS: Franktuary hoodies will look great under Sasha and Malia’s tree!