I am a rational person, usually. I try not to take things too personal. Unpleasant happenstance and coincidences are not some form of punishment bestowed upon me by some benevolent being. However, it does seem there is a conspiracy against consumers by the product pushers. It seems whenever you find something you really like, it gets discontinued. One could argue… that I am just sooooooooooooo unique, everything I like is oddball and doesn’t sell well but this is not the case.
Take for example my favorite handsoap (and I don’t say this lightly as I am a chronic-handwashing-germaphobe), Deep Cleansing Pearberry Antibacterial Handsoap from Bath and Body Works. They have it in stores only twice a year and it sells out almost immediately. The salespeople explain they just cannot keep the pearberry on the shelf, it is simply too popular. However, when you ask why they don’t carry it all year round; they respond, “because it is being discontinued.” Why then is a product that is so popular, you cannot keep it on the shelves, being discontinued? Why must I wait for the two sales a year it is available, hope to get to the store in time to buy a load of them just to have enough to last me until the next sale? Yes, this is what I am reduced to doing, buying in bulk. This is from my latest internet shopping trip:
and this is not even the entire order!!! I hope it will last me until the next ‘sale’ comes along. I didn’t even make it to the store in time. Every local store in an hours driving distance was out by the first day. I had to order these on the internet.
Now, I am by no means a marketing genius. Nor do I have a degree in Business. Can someone explain to me how it makes any sense for a business to discontinue such a popular product? Popular products = sales. Simples simple to me. I mean, I get the old ‘bait-and-switch’ but come on… do you really think we are this stupid? Do they really think if we pay $3-$5 for an 8oz bottle of fancy handsoap because we enjoy the way it cleans our hands and smells…that we will just buy a different fragrance, if they don’t sell the one we like? Do they really think if they make 742 other smells that do not sell, they can force us into buying them because they limit the one we like? It is not likely. It is more likely we will take our business elsewhere.
JUST GIVE US OUR PEARBERRY ALL YEAR ROUND AND EVERYONE WILL BE HAPPY. You will make money, we will have clean, excellent smelling hands… it is a no-brainer. And how about this crazy idea… if you can’t shove Wild HoneySuckle into our baskets or coerce us to buy SweetPea because you aren’t currently selling the scent we want, why not discontinue the new and unmovable scents and make more of what does sell? It is not rocket-science here.
We, the consumer, are not as fickle as we are made out to be. The majority of us would stick with a company, if it would stick with us. We like something, don’t change and don’t discontinue it. Marketing departments spend billions of dollars every year trying to get their finger on the pulse of the consumer. Well, let me save you some money and tell you… we like what we like and we aren’t falling for the bait-and-switch. Make something we like, we’ll buy it. Then, the next part is simple: keep making it and we’ll keep buying it. Stop making it or change it and we’ll stop buying it. It is really that simple.
Ask Coca-Cola. Coke has been around a long time and when they changed their product… how happy were their consumers? Yes, well, back to the old formula it went. Coca Cola was intelligent in this way. They tried something new, it didn’t work out, they realized their mistake and went back to what the consumer wanted. And they make money hand-over-fist. Logic dictates this successful business plan. Who is dictating the corporations today?