Give the Lady What She Wants (Revisited)
That was the motto of Marshall Fields. The defunct department store lived by that creed. If something didn’t wear right for whatever reason or the person just didn’t like it. It could be returned without any argument. It was put out of business as the world moved toward a big box mentality. You paid more at Fields. You could ‘save’ at the discounters.
I bought my business wear at Jack Fox and Sons from Cliff Larue. I’d get chalked up and if the alterations weren’t right, Cliff would beat me in sending it back. Not cost effective but there was never a lump between the shoulder blades and it draped to enhance or conceal — take your pick. They are long gone too.
Now when someone returned something to Fields or Cliff sent my suit back for more alterations that affected the short term profits. But Fox and Field were in it for the long haul. As closely held entities, they succeeded over decades depending on repeat business.
Waffles – the last angry man – visited Best Buy recently. Best Buy is the typical big box. Recently, I was looking for a new range. I decided I wanted fancy. You know; one with a convection oven; a variety of 5 different size burners; features smarter than me. I looked at Best Buy (via the net) and then looked at a locally owned site. It was a bit more there but I was in their free delivery area and BB would charged for delivery and installation. Abt had online chat and I had questions and negotiated a small added fee out of the deal. All of a sudden they were cheaper and the chat showed me that if I had problems they were ready to talk reasonably.
There is a Lowes and a Menards across the street from each other. I’ve shopped in both. They are home improvement stores. Lowes is listed on the exchange and is controlled by the short term requirements that listing brings about. Menards is owned by one guy. He is a miserable SOB but my kind of such. There are things I don’t like about their business plan. But, when I go to Lowes and ask where the framitz is I get a response like “Try isle 23.” and at Menards the employee drops what they are doing and leads me across the store to show me the framitz and answer any questions I might have. And framitzs may go for a buck-twenty-nine.
I come from a different time. Then, you expected service and had a multitude of choices. While that seems to be gone, it is just more hidden. I’m sure there is an Abt type of business that survived the big box onslaught in Waffle’s area. He just hasn’t bothered to seek them out. They aren’t listed companies. Their ads aren’t as glossy. But, they depend on doing repeat business instead of next week’s circular. And, they end up far more cost effective.
So, I have only a little sympathy for Waffles. In a way, he got what he deserved. He took the route of least resistance and got bit in the ass. He didn’t look for the Abt or Menards. He looked at a glossy ad that screamed uncaring. So, don’t be shocked when they don’t care.
I am no saint in this regard. I let Walmart screw me over. I detailed that. It was a $630 mistake which trumps Waffles mistake. I also haven’t been in a Walmart in over two years and passed on some nice deals that carried the Toshiba label. It isn’t terribly cost effect in the short term but I’ve been around too long to only worry about the short term.