This Saturday, November 26th is the 2nd Annual American Express Small Business Saturday. Most likely you have seen advertising and promotions for the event. Possibly you’ve seen the event’s Facebook page that has over 2.3 million LIKES. If you spend as much time online as I have you, then you have definitely seen promo after promo mentioning the event.
Well, franchising, supposedly the cornerstone of small business and as many claim, the driving force behind economic recovery in America, has been excluded from the event. Here’s the AMEX notice…
ELIGIBILITY: The Program is only available to independently owned businesses. Small business cannot promote any of the following: pharmaceuticals, drugs, politics, pornography or sexual aids, diet aids, gambling, liquor, tobacco, firearms/weapons, or any sensitive topic with respect to current events, and any such small businesses are not eligible for this Program. Franchisees, national chains and government agencies are not eligible. By participating in this Program, you represent and warrant that (i) your business complies with the requirements set forth herein and (ii) you are the owner of the business and have the right to participate in this Program.
Yet, American Express heavily solicits franchise brands and franchisees to accept the American Express Card. And, as we all know, at a higher rate than that of Visa and MasterCard. Not to mention the fact that American Express typically exhibits at franchise conferences and trade shows where they promote AMEX Merchant Services. Besides, aren’t franchise locations independently owned and operated?
At the very least, franchisees should be able to participate locally even if franchise brands are prohibited from participating at the national level!
So, do you believe American Express was correct in excluding franchise brands and franchisees from Small Business Saturday? What are your thoughts?