Opinion: Daddy Warbucks

Gift card magic for retailers; some count ’em twice

Daddy W. has often said a gift card is indeed the perfect gift. It provides the giver with a gift that the recipient will enjoy, since he or she will be choosing their own gift. The retailer enjoys the quick and painless sale much more than any item which would be plucked off the shelves, taxed with sales tax and then possibly have to be gift wrapped by the retailer (again another cost).

But the gift card, now a $35 billion dollar phenomenon at Christmas time (some say that is a low estimate), is indeed a welcome gift that rings the cash registers twice. Not once, but twice, each time is it given again when it’s used.

The gift card recipient may not use the card right away. We humans often like to squirrel that gift card away for later. Unless, of course, the giver of the gift card, just can’t leave the gift card alone and keeps asking what we got with the card. Sheesh, but it’s mostly family, so what are you gonna do?
The merchant, on the other hand, has his money up front. And should the gift card be lost or misplaced, in most cases the merchant will win again.

As all merchants will point out, the real sale occurs when the merchandise is pulled off the shelves, placed in our hands in the store bag and trotted out the front door. The cards allow merchants to better manage their inventory and in most cases, earn or an extra sale or up-sale when the gift card is redeemed
Like Daddy W. says, a gift card gives twice. For the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, heck for any old occasion, it’s a nice little gift.

That’s the amount that at least three of the four Wal-Mart stores in Northwest Arkansas were knocking down during the days before Christmas. The sales were up, way up. Maybe that “Save more,  live better” campaign is working.

Looks like the Benton County condo lords (those who were wanting to block folks’ vistas of Beaver Lake) have scaled back. Now they say they just want to build a four or five story hotel near the water’s edge, not the 20-plus story condo towers.

Rumors are rife that NWA Naturals ticket sales have been lagging, just a bit of late. The big push for the April opening has been mostly by some print stories and a little word of mouth. Ticket agents have visited big businesses in the area like Wal-Mart, J.B. Hunt and Tyson, but they are going to have to step it up.

Another item concerning the Naturals that hasn’t been announced by the two local daily papers is: Who will be the Naturals beat writers aka the guy or gal who covers the local team here and on the road? That is a big hire that might make more of a newspaper war than it is. Let’s watch and see.

The influx of storefront tax preparation offices is on. The manger of one of those businesses says he’s been besieged. Seems like the economic slowdown is causing lots of folks to want their taxes done pronto.

The newspapers were (and are) busy with page, after page, after page of legal ads for foreclosures. Yikes.

The Northwest Arkansas Symphony has some good ideas…better ideas for their TV ads. After Daddy W. chastised the organization for the music being too loud in the earlier ads, the conductor is now featured in the new ads and is piquing Daddy W’s interest. And that is what advertising is all about. Good luck to the symphony in 2008. It’s a real underrated treasure here in the Ozarks.

Look what a splash of paint can do for a drab old storefront. Check out a new clothing store called Maude’s on North College near the old Panda. A new color did dress up that old girl. Good luck.

Penguin Ed’s BBQ was a no-show in the top numbers of the city’s Advertising and Promotion tax listings for October. Daddy sure did miss seeing Ed’s name. The top ten: Chartwell’s UA Food Service, Chick-Fil-A, Golden Corral, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Red Robin, Logan’s Roadhouse, McDonald’s (Sixth Street), and Chili’s. A new kid opening in October, Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits, came in at No. 21.

The folks at May Construction have puffed out their chests and rightly so, over honors from South Central Construction magazine. The publication awarded May two prestigious awards. The Best Private Building of 2007 went to May’s for the Legacy National Bank HQ in Springdale and they earned best educational building with the UA Chemistry Building. Good job.

The up and down stock price of AERT, the recyclable building material concern in Springdale and Lowell has finally been de-listed by the NASDQ. The stock has dipped below the $1 price mark for more than 30 days. AERT has been down before. Its lowest low watermark was from April 1994 to May 1995. Watch for it to go up again, but not soon in this economy.

The Chick-Fil-A on Sixth Street in Fayetteville will be open by the time this hits the newsstands. The Zaxby’s farther down the block and on the opposite side of the street won’t make the Jan. 1 opening deadline that its owners had first hoped.

There seems to be some stutter stepping on whether or not to rebuild the Taco Bell that burned on Sixth Street. It was a tight fit into the lot as it was.

The folks at XNA were busy scribbling down numbers as the post-Christmas rush to get back out of town was on. Looks like the numbers will be above those of a couple of years ago. Good for XNA.

The WAC folks are scurrying to make sure that the upcoming five-day run of ANNIE plays to full houses. They are crossing their fingers for the weather to hold off. One good snowstorm and they will be moaning and groaning. But, heck it is North West Arkansas.

The old Roberta Fulbright Building (once the modern home of the Fayetteville Public Library) will get a brokerage house among its tenants. A.G. Edward’s will make the move to the newly remodeled digs in
February. This is one of John Nock and Richard Alexander’s latest successful re-dos.

Categories: Legacy Archive