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A To Do List To Make Retailers Even Crazier

May 3, 2011
As if retail isn’t hard enough, I am requesting that manufacturers drive retailers even crazier by doing the following ten things to us:


  1. Please nest lots of pieces in a carton and leave off all that pesky protective wrap. That way the pieces will scratch each other during shipping and we will have to touch them all up before we can show or deliver them.
  2. As a corollary to the above, please stack so many chairs in a box that they weight more than the carton is rated for. That way, when they are transferred from trailer to terminal four or five time during the shipping process, the boxes will fall apart and the contents can get scratched or bent during shipping.
  3. Please use a carrier that has a reputation among your reps for losing shipments. It’s a gosh darn treat to hear a carrier representative tell us, “We know the shipment is on one of our docks, we just don’t know which one.”
  4. Please offer a frame color, especially on commercial merchandise, for which you have no touch up paint. You see, if I can’t touch it up, the chances are you’re going to have to replace the piece if it comes in scratched. Wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin said something about being Pound wise and penny foolish?
  5. Make sure your swatch book index is in order by page number rather than something meaningful like stock number or color way name. I like how unprofessional my sales staff looks as they frantically search through your swatches to find a particular fabric sample for a hurried client.
  6. If you can, please send out furniture that has a known manufacturing defect. It might be as simple as swivel bases falling off of swivel mechanisms because the clips on the plastic insert are broken. Or, for you more adventurous souls, make sure the holes in your table tops are drilled about 1/2” off so that we can’t mount bases to them.
  7. For goodness sake, don’t include packing lists. It’s fun wasting time guessing what we got or whom it is for.
  8. Be sure to keep valuable information such as stock levels of imported items to yourself. Or better yet, send out printed inventory status lists on a Monday so that by the time Saturday rolls around they are out of date. That way when we have to stop in the middle of a sales transaction to call for an inventory check, your offices will be closed for the weekend. As a plus to that, the lack of information gives the customer a reason to walk out without making a purchase.
  9. Please make sure the photos in your catalog differ from what you are shipping. It gives us a toasty warm feeling all over when we have to take back a custom order because it looks nothing like the picture in your catalog. Who would have thought that consumers would pay so much attention to detail?!
  10. Be sure your web site works only with Microsoft Web Browsers and PC’s. That way, retailers who use Mac’s or iPads will be cut off from web provided dealer support.


Yours in confused retailing, Bruce