Nothing is the way it used to be.
A couple of weeks ago, I needed some new nightwear. Nothing fancy. Not interested in lingerie. That’s for display, not sleeping. I’m talking about the ubiquitous sleep tee.
For years, I bought them from L.L. Bean. They were comfortable, loose, soft. Lightweight in summer, heavier, long-sleeved for winter. Then, L.L.Bean stopped making them. They decided we all want heavy flannel or pajama mix and match. In ugly colors.
I don’t want elastic while I sleep. I want soft, loose, breathable, comfortable. Priced so I can buy more than one. Colors other than flaccid pink and dainty floral on white.
When L.L. Bean stopped making what I want, I switched to Land’s End. I’ve been wearing their sleep tees for more than a decade. But with each passing year, the fabric has gotten less refined, rougher, and the cut skimpier. The neckline has gotten tighter to the point where it’s hard to get your head through it. The price keeps going up.
I gave up. While the price has risen, the quality has dropped to completely unacceptable. I found quality sleep tees on Amazon.
Did “new Coke” bring new customers to Coca Cola? Or did they give Pepsi a huge boost? Did Windows 8 improve business at Microsoft … or Apple?
Do corporations think we are stupid? Do they think we won’t notice when they sell us junk, reduce quality, raise prices?
I keep hearing that consumers are shopping online instead of at brick and mortar shops and it will drive them out of business. Has anyone in corporate America considered whether or not their products and stores serve the needs of the people they want as customers?
Did you know that Barnes & Noble booksellers — their brick and mortar stores — charge 30% more than Barnes & Noble online? For identical merchandise. If you want a discount card, that will cost you even more. Even with the “discount,” their stuff still costs more than it would online.
When asked why I should buy at the store, I was told the online and “real” stores aren’t run by the same organization and have different price structures. Which isn’t an answer.
Original Coke came back. Windows 8 will pass into history in a couple of weeks. DiGiorno’s is selling pizza with “original” sauce. Eventually, if we “vote” with our shopping carts, “they” get the message. How long will it take? Will it matter?
The thing is, you can never get back the faith of customers you screw. The relationship is broken. Trust is ruined.
Is there a price tag on trust? How much are we — your customers — worth?