The escape clause

EscapeEverywhere you look, advertisers seem to be bending over backwards to remind consumers how bad the economy is. “We understand times are tough,” they tell us, “so we’re cutting prices…”

As dive retailers, there are a number of ways we can profit by following the example of large, successful retailers. Folks, this ain’t one of them.

You undoubtedly have a few customers who have lost jobs or suffered severe cutbacks in income. Guess what? There is no discount you can give, no incentives you can offer that will enable these people to spend money with you when they just don’t have it.

In fact, all you may accomplish by jumping on the “We feel your pain…” bandwagon is to suggest to your fully employed customers (which is to say, most of them) that, perhaps, they should curtail spending, too. This is called shooting yourself in the foot.

At times such as these, we need to remember one important thing about diving: It ain’t about the money. Diving is simply not something people budget for when they’re busy trying to figure out how to pay the rent. Fortunately, the vast majority of your customers still have jobs and aren’t at risk of losing them.

Diving is, at its heart, about escape. It’s about freedom from worry and all the other pressures of everyday life. It’s about adventure and excitement — perfect antidotes to a world consumed with doom and gloom. This is the message we need to be focusing on right now.

Trust us: Many of your customers are fed up with being told how bad things are. This doesn’t make them insensitive to the plight of those who are having a bad time. They’d just like a week’s respite from the prophets of doom. They want to go diving.

Let them know you’re ready when they are.

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