Generally going to pot

I do like a nice play on words, like “smart phone” (when we rarely use it as a phone, and more like a small computer in our pocket). “Generally going to Pot” as a title is a play on Dollar General and the various cannabis dispensaries across the state. To be fair, this observation isn’t going to be negative, well not all negative. As an organizational psychologist my main focus is on human motivation, as how to get the most out of someone often with using the least; as in you can’t just throw money at people to motivate them as eventually it becomes an expectation verses a reward. So how do these two business types fall into my field of interest; it’s because they are doing the most with the least.

In October I had a conference in Traverse City and afterwards drove to Kalamazoo to visit my daughter. What I noticed along the way were Dollar Generals and a variety of cannabis establishments; me being me, I started to count them and mark them down on a piece of paper I had on my passenger seat. This was not unlike one road trip with Briana where we counted the number of McDonalds from Ypsilanti to Houghton. Dollar General came out on top, but not by much. So why are these types of stores popping up? The organizational development side of my education found this interesting.

The cannabis shops I feel is simply due to marijuana being legal recreationally in the state. Think of your favorite beer, it’s in every store that carries beer, pot can only be sold in pot stores. I don’t have any great statistics on the revenues being generated but I have seen the lines and have heard a lot about the sales being popular. I do feel that over time sales will start to level out and as local communities run out of empty storefronts or desire to host these businesses they will, like Shopko, we’ll have fancy empty buildings. My last comment on this is that recreational use, like alcohol, means you use it when not working but from stories from people it’s hard to determine how long the effects last and to me that’s scary and truly no different then going to work with beer buzz still from the night before. So, what’s my beef with Dollar General; I’ll share.

Did you know there’s one being built near Mohawk? These stores to me are like a mini-Walmart and those that have been around for awhile may remember that many local businesses went out of business when Walmart rolled into town. By putting these stores in small communities that have relied on the local grocery store or gas station for their small necessities, may see those businesses suffer. Now the business mind side of me sees the point, total saturation. The more you see the signs, know the layout of the stores and what they sell, the more you’ll go as even today, Thanksgiving, they were open when many businesses were closed, (ironically Walmart was closed), the more they will be the place you rely on being open.

In conclusion, the positives of both types of businesses are they are providing jobs, and in the case of the cannabis stores, often a higher wage. The negatives aside from potentially killing off small business, is that there’s not enough people to fill all the positions. I could argue with the “want to work” folks’ verses those who don’t want to, but do you really want to work on Thanksgiving; but if you need to you will as I had many times in my life. I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving and enjoy the month to Christmas.

Brian Foreman has written Family Matters for the Gazette since 2006, lives in Hancock, is a father to three daughters, and is an Organizational Psychologist. He can be reached at foremanbrian4@gmail.com.


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