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Tennessee retailer keeps it lighthearted during dark time

Published April 6, 2020
Would you trade a tube for hand sanitizer?

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (BRAIN) — Mac McCabe won't complain.

"I have a really good time doing what I do," said the owner of Mac's Harpeth Bikes for the past 11 years. "I'm not going to bitch and gripe about how shitty our margins are or any of that nonsense."

So it only makes sense he's not complaining now during the COVID-19 pandemic that's created turmoil in the industry. In fact, he's making the best of it while adding a little humor during a serious time.

Like trading a tube for hand sanitizer.

Last week, a woman who wasn't a regular customer called his shop to ask if he was open for business.

"I say, 'Absolutely. Bring money.' And I say it in a very charming way and people laugh," McCabe said.

"She says, 'Well, I have a credit card.'

"And I said, 'That's fine. We're not using toilet paper for cash just yet.'

"She said, 'I have some. Do you need some toilet paper?'

"Again, we're both laughing as this conversation is unfolding. So I said we're pretty good, 'But, if you have some hand sanitizer, I could use that.'

'Oh, well let me see. ...'

"And we're laughing as this whole thing is unfolding. Then she shows up 15 minutes later with her hand sanitizer. I can't believe this, so we laugh some more."

McCabe retrieved the tube, and the customer attempted to pay the $10 for it.

"I said, 'No, no, no. Then it won't be as funny. At Christmas time, this (pandemic) is going to be all over, and you're going to be at a Christmas party and someone is going to come start up a conversation about how the pandemic ruined our spring break, and you're going to tell this story. And everybody's going to laugh. You bought an inner tube with Purell.'"

McCabe — primarily working outside his front door with a "Feedback stand on top of my Astroturf, folding workbench with my tool bag, box of Park Nitrile gloves and an air hose" — said repair business is up as are sales for kids' bikes.

"I have not been negatively impacted," he said.

As for the future, "I am at peace. All of my friends and all the guys who know me, they will know that was a quote from Mac."

Mac McCabe is adjusting to difficult times with a sense of humor.
Topics associated with this article: Coronavirus

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