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Friday, December 30, 2011


there i was in my local coffee shop (street coffee in brick lane - just to give it a plug) reading 'the sun', i know i shouldn't do it but every now and then doesn't hurt. one of the small 'news' pieces was of shoppers who were moaning that the shelves in shops were empty - that sales items had been sold before they had gotten to them.
oh my heart bleeds.
we all like a bargain.
but a little like bonuses there is no gaurantee that you are going to get what you want (unless you happen to work in the financial services for a company that has had to be bailed out by the government - then you can pretty much be certain you are getting lots of wonga). surely that is part of the fun of the sales going somewhere and hoping that they have something you want at a price that you are prepared to pay for it.
and if they don't: oh well.

the piece reminded me of one of the retailers i used to deal with.
for the sake of modesty we'll call him 'h': he dealt mainly in sports cards. this was a time when we did an ok trade in sports cards, but the vagaries of business meant that we would sometimes be left with too much stock. periodically we would take this extra stock and put it on sale.
a list of sale items would go out.
retailers would get back to us and place their orders.
if we were lucky we got rid of everything, without losing too much money on it all.
we didn't like doing it, but we liked having dead stock stinking up the place even less.

naturally a few retailers would not get what they wanted because someone had beaten them to it.
a day came when h decided that enough was enough - he wasn't getting enough of the cards he wanted at the price he was prepared to pay for them.
brrrriiing brrrriiing went the phone.
i picked it up and there was h on the other end of the phone. we did a few pleasantries (probably fewer from me)and then he got on with the nub of his complaints. sinmply put we were not putting enough sports cards on sale.
but h, i said to him, we are putting on sale what we have left that hasn't sold, that is all we have to put on sale.
he thought about this for a little bit, not long to be fair, and replied: then you should order more.

i couldn't fault his logic.
i could fault his business sense.
in order for him to have what he wanted - we had to lose money.

he was never very successful.

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