Absurdly Driven usually looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Right now, you want the revenue. Any revenue. All revenue. Every little bit of revenue that might not even be the sort of revenue you ever wanted.
That, at least, will be the attitude of many a small business.
It's understandable. Instincts are geared toward survival, not selectivity. Small businesses want to find any way through this.
Yet a small Mississippi locksmith company looked around at the effects of the Covid-19 crisis and decided to turn some business away.
We will not be providing locksmith service for evictions until further notice.
That was it. The locksmith company with a couple of thousand Twitter followers -- and the slogan Yes We Make Keys -- didn't expect the reaction.
More than 200,000 likes and 20,000 retweets rained down upon it. Not to mention thousands upon thousands of heartfelt messages.
I think I should lock myself out of my house just to support your company!
SE Lock and Key -- and co-owner Jason Meeks -- received so many enquiries that Meeks posted a YouTube video to explain his decision.
Meeks said he wasn't refusing to do evictions that involved a risk to public safety.
He's more interested in families and individuals who have been poleaxed by the crisis:
If the sole reason that you're kicking somebody out is because they're five days late on their rent then you're just going to have to, you know as a landlord, you're just going to have to figure it out yourself.
Meeks admitted evictions aren't necessarily the main part of his company's business. It does, though, do quite some work for realtors, property managers and landlords.
However, he said:
This is a global pandemic. There's plenty of people who are out of work, obviously, who are concerned about making their rent, their mortgage payment. And with evictions, there's a big difference between kicking somebody out because they're five days late on the rent versus a public threat.
Not all evictions are the same. Most of the time, Meeks says he goes into vacant houses after tenants have left. He says he always follows the law.
He knows that people don't think he should do evictions at all. Several hundred Twitterers told him so with sometimes graphic wording.
This, though, is about basic humanity. He had messages from people who were being instantly intimidated by landlords because they hadn't paid rent on time.
So he expanded on his statement like this:
For the time being, until further notice, until people start getting back to work and being able to collect a paycheck and being able to pay, I can only hope that all of the people who rent to people and the renters themselves, I hope that you can work together as a team and try to come up with a solution. Maybe partial, maybe reduced, to try to help.
He believes his regular landlord customers will take a reasonable stance. However, he admitted:
I may have pissed off some of my own customers. It may affect our bottom line. I may lose a customer I've had for decades because of this.
Some states have already announced there'll be a freeze on evictions while the crisis continues. Meeks says he's not aware that's the case in his state. "In Mississippi we're always behind on everything," he said. In fact, in Mississippi individual cities and towns can create their own regulations.
Meanwhile, as ProPublica reported, some landlords around the country are behaving very badly.
For Meeks, his company's sudden, temporary fame may even be good for business. His attitude likely is too. If you can show a heightened awareness of the business climate, customers will surely be moved -- at least those with a heart.
Recently, I wrote about the Toronto landlord who told tenants they shouldn't pay rent -- even if they could afford it -- and that he'd even help them buy essentials, if they couldn't afford those. That hasn't been a universal attitude.
For Meeks, the whole thing carries a very simple sentiment:
I just want people helping each other at this time.