My journey as a NaBloPoMo-Ho continues into its second day…
November 2, 2007
Dear Retailers (and in particular, Big Box Retailers, but specifically, Walmart):
It has been noted that you have begun to show concern with respect to your sales projections for the upcoming holiday season, and as a result, have begun to slash prices. Evidently, your thinking can be encapsulated in this concept: If the price is low enough, the consumer will want what you want them to want because you want them to and your attorneys always get what you want them to get. Simple.
I do have some consternation about this kind of thinking. It doesn’t exactly keep me awake at night, because not much does other than my relentless hot flashing, but still, I do think about where your narrow minded economics will end. At some point, someone has to lose. With any luck at all, it will be you, and not the consumer.
The average consumer is tired of being the poster child for your faulty thinking. Well, except for the consumers who have figured out that they can purchase until they are bankrupt, and then have all their debts excused in bankruptcy court so that someone else has to pay for it. Okay, so the IDEAL consumer, not the average consumer. You know. Honest ones. Where was I? Oh yes…
However, other considerations force me to acknowledge that if you lose, then you will claim that you will be forced to lay off employees (when all the while your CEOs will reel in massive bonuses even after the Board of Directors gives them a vote of no confidence and asks for their resignation), who are ultimately consumers, who then have no funds to consume consumables in a comfortable fashion. A different perspective could be that if you claim to have high losses, you’ll have fewer resources (minions) to convince consumers (suckers) that they can’t live without a 50″ flat panel plasma television for $998.00 and wouldn’t it make so much sense to get your Christmas shopping done now instead of waiting because wouldn’t you like to impress your holiday guests with this new purchase? Poor, poor unsuspecting consumers will then have to find out that in order to actually see High Def on their newly purchased and initially cheap television, they will have to subscribe for HDTV service and that the industry is sort of dragging in getting more than the basic channels up and running with High Def. Oh, and that warranty? And what about those cables and energy cleaners? Not so cheap. But still. $998.00 does sound good, doesn’t it?
I’d just like to let you know that I am one of the new “increasingly resistant” consumers that you fear. I’m not coerced by sales or advertising. I don’t make impulsive purchases because you expect me to. I have no trouble at all in resisting any remote urge to “keep up with the Joneses.” No sweat. I will not be in line at your heavily advertised 8 AM sales events with the purple kool-aid drinking lemmings who seem to live for the fighting opportunity to get their hands on a limited number of sales items, and then when they fail, shop because they’re now in your clutches, and spend money on other items. Just like you planned. And you will sigh with relief because they are not spending their money on The Dreaded Gift Card that is such a detriment to your reported earnings.
I will be content to shop when I feel like it, purchase what I want and continue to hope that the whole point of giving is just that. And that looking for the “just right gift” isn’t because of a sale, or cutting edge, or newest of the new. It’s just the right match for the person I have in mind.
I won’t be using my home equity like an ATM to fund Christmas, nor do I expect to charge anything that won’t be immediately paid off. I could. But I won’t.
So just a word of advice.
Resist upper management when they tell you they have pro-rated product coming your way. Take a stand. Let them choke on it for buying it without consideration for how much inventory you currently have. It’s really not a big deal because they guy who will get screwed in the proposition is the one who okayed the initial purchase.
Somebody has to be big enough to stop the nonsense. Just say no! Or maybe at least think about it?
Besides. I’ll be forever indebted to you for not having to watch all the ridiculous advertising that is sure to come this year, acting as if it can tempt me to get out my wallet.
Good luck to you and your bottom line in the rapidly approaching season. Perhaps you’ll soon come to realize that the projected 4% increase in sales over last year is really just fine. Just practice what The Ideal Consumer has to practice: restraint.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my thoughts on this matter. I’m off to IKEA.
An Increasingly Resistant Consumer in Paradise