Home > Uncategorized > Apology Twenty Four Years Later

Apology Twenty Four Years Later

While I’ve never done work for Mitchell, Cook, Foundation, or Augsburg-Fortress, I have been privileged to do contract work for wholesale suppliers on six occasions, while at the same time owning a retail business of my own. One of these was a music marketing position with a distributor that was based in Burlington.

My job was to basically create product awareness and have input into the wholesale buying at a time when Christian music was going through some rapid changes. But eventually, all the marketing in the world is useless without the follow-through of sales.

I was asked to take a physical survey of what wasn’t moving in the warehouse and then create a few packages that could be sold to unsuspecting dupes retail store owners. Reluctantly, I agreed and I spend all my credibility capital selling the packages which quickly cleared the warehouse shelves.

Problem was, I was good at this. Too good. I was next told to sell the package — the same package — again, and again, and again, even though it was no longer clearing the warehouse shelves but creating a giant backorder nightmare, and causing some stores to cancel once they saw the shape of what they were getting.  Eventually, product arrived to fill the packages, but I’m sure that 90 days down the road, when the returns started, the warehouse was worse off than before.

This was mostly “C” list cassettes and CDs, and in slower moving categories at that. A few items with black-and-white packaging, and a couple of music items that nobody even bothered to shrinkwrap.

Sixteen weeks into the job, I quit. And no sooner did I quit than another music company offered me a position with them.

But I never apologized.

So, if any of you that have been in the business a long time are finding this story registers with something in your memory, all I can say is, I’m sorry. I didn’t know how to say, “This product is a mixture of some very hot upcoming titles and a very large amount of what is mostly crap that these same dealers, when confronted with these products individually, have already passed on.” (Now I need to apologize to the artists we represented; oh well…)

I wasn’t assertive enough back then to say, “This is completely self-serving; all we’re doing is looking out for our wholesale operations, we’re not doing any service to the stores that are taking this product in good faith; we’re not helping them grow their businesses.”

Funny what a paycheque makes you do.

So, if you’re out there; I am truly sorry.

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  1. November 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    I guess I just called the people I apologized to “unsuspecting dupes.” I’ll come back in a few years and apologize for that.

  2. November 14, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    It’s amazing the people who said ‘yes’ to this package sight unseen. I think the company I was working for had built up a little bit of trust to that point, though with this move they surely lost a lot of that.

    It truly was a different era.

    Today’s retail store owners would never tolerate this; most would never take the package in the first place without seeing line-by-line detail.

  3. November 24, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Every one of us, from time to time, thinks of something we’ve done that we later realize we were misguided or ‘mis’motivated’ to do. Your apology comes straight from the heart and reminds us that grace is what we have received and so grace is what we pass on. Bless you for modeling for us all. By God’s grace you won’t have backlash. Blessings!

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