"It's Not Personal. It's Business" and what I learned from 'You've Got Mail'

Just for the record- the first part of this blog's title makes me shutter. That is why I am writing about it- just to get it out in the open.

One of my favourite movies is 'You've Got Mail'- not because of the romantic relationship between Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, but because of Meg Ryan's character and business. Secretly, I always wanted to be the 'Shoppe Around the Corner' bookstore; a place where people would go and their lives would change for the better because it nurtured them.

I am a nurturer. Everything I do is with my heart and soul- and that philosophy, in business, simply does not always work. I am constantly shocked by the lack of integrity shown in business dealings and 'cut-throat' manoeuvres to succeed over someone else.

For instance, in 'You've Got Mail', Tom Hanks's cut-throat, high-powered mega-book store takes out the small, quaint, family-run business that was passed down to Meg Ryan's character from her mother. Yet, despite putting her out of business- she falls in love with him. Granted she didn't know it was him throughout most of the movie- but she does become friends with the 'bad guy' who essentially leaves her jobless.

This fact has me wondering about many things: One: Why do I love this movie so much? Two: Why does the 'bad guy' win in business? Three: Why is a business being personal such a bad thing anyway?

The answer to question one is that I love the twinkly lights in the window of her shop, her 'reading time' with the children in her store and the fact that she admits to 'twirling' with her mother. How could I not absolutely love this character?

The answer to number two is that, in the case of the movie at least, they both win in love- and that's what matters for the movie to end and audiences to sigh 'awwwww.' In real life- it is just a fact: The one with the biggest bank account usually wins, leaving the underdog to carry on making pretty displays in the windows of the big stores that put them out of business (they're dreamers anyway). Perhaps this is a cynical outlook-but it's the truth.

The answer to number three is this: When things become personal, it's easy to become emotionally charged when making decisions that cannot be made rationally in that state. I get it. I really do. My point is that the beginning of most things, at least in my case, is a personal passion. If the desire to start a little children's book store (or, in my case, a Vintage Clothing Store) is purely money-driven, I think the desire to get up for work each day would end pretty quick.

The Vintage Clothing business is a passion for me, and would have to be. It is endless hours of work sourcing, cleaning, mending and steaming to make sure the pieces are in perfect shape for my customers. It's constantly wondering and worrying over numbers and reputation etc, etc....but I do it because I love it.

I have written before about the clothing and how it all has a story- and that in itself is what makes it personal for me. My amazing customers who come in all the time and email me and the new clients who come in to 'see what vintage is all about' is what drives me every day. So- it is personal- very much so- and for that, I won't apologize.

Secretly, I always wondered how 'You've Got Mail' would have carried out after the cameras stopped rolling. Perhaps she dumped him, opened her own shop again in a place that suited her dream and was a success because she lived out her passion. I really hope so. Life is too short.
Rachel Behling
Rachel Behling


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