The stock market has been quite the roller coaster lately, and in my amateur-investor opinion, the drop isn’t over yet. So in the meantime, where should you put your money?

If your company has a brick and mortar location, my suggestion is… cupcakes.

Here’s why. I lived in an apartment building in Austin, Texas for a time. It was quite the behemoth, a labyrinth of hundreds of units covering an entire block. The management was corporate but very friendly and helpful. In fact, it was the best rental experience I’ve ever had.

And here’s where cupcakes come in. On the second Tuesday of every month, the building held a “Resident Appreciation Day” – announced starting about a week ahead of time with flyers in the elevators and mailroom – and put out a tray of cupcakes in the main lobby. They weren’t run-of-the-mill cupcakes, either! They were deluxe and often cheerily matched the season or closest holiday. As you can probably guess, I often gleefully partook!

This simple monthly gesture went a long way in conveying the company’s kindness:

  1. Even if residents didn’t actually get a cupcake (the tray never seemed to get much action, maybe because it was actually a pretty long walk to the lobby for most units!), they still undoubtedly saw the flyers about it, which accomplishes the same goal of spreading warm fuzzies.
  2. And if residents feel more warm fuzzies, they are less likely to write a negative review for the apartment building online.
  3. And if there are fewer negative reviews and more positive reviews about the apartment building, it would be more likely to attract future residents.

Here’s an actual 5-star Yelp review for the apartment building:

Moved in July 2014. This is hands down once of the nicest complexes I’ve lived in. The front office is always super nice and always willing to help. The [company] is constantly doing events like giving away tacos or donuts at the gate in the morning or giving away cupcakes in the office in the afternoon. Any maintenance request I’ve submitted has been addressed with in 24 hrs unless it has been an emergency (something happened with the lock on my front door) and that was addressed immediately.

Okay, so maybe you could substitute donuts or tacos (or something else) for cupcakes. But the point is, people like being appreciated, and people like free food. So for about $60 per month, the company made a big stride in managing both its relationship with current customers as well as its image for prospects. And that is a pretty sweet move.

Should You Invest in Cupcakes?
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