Home > Uncategorized > The One That Got Away: You Don’t Win Every Supplier Fight

The One That Got Away: You Don’t Win Every Supplier Fight

Forgive and forget.

Let bygones be bygones.

Accept the things you cannot change.

Several years ago we lost a fight with one of our suppliers. We were dealing with a number of personal and family issues, and when the shipment arrived, I didn’t even realize something was wrong until days later. See if you can figure out what went wrong here:

Old CMC DealThose of you who have been around for awhile will remember this as a deal from a supplier that today has been absorbed by another company. The offer was made in the summer of 2006.

Did you spot the problem?

Yes, I forgot to check the little box requesting the actual application of the $4-off coupons to the product. The CDs and DVDs shipped at list price with no further discount to the customer and were put on display that way.

I was dealing with a number of other more-important problems at the time, so I sent an email requesting the stickers be sent with the next order.

Days later, I discovered an email response that they had “run out” of the coupons in question, and we would not be receiving them.

Tough break, Mr. Retailer.  Maybe you’ll be more careful next time you’re faxing forms.

We never won this battle.

…Years later we are down to one store. All the stock from three stores has been consolidated and the surplus this creates is in storage. While going through that storage over the winter, guess what we discovered? Hillsong CDs and DVDs. Especially DVDs. Far too many. Too many for a major dealer in a megacity, much less our little company. I remembered there had been an incident involving a particular purchase, but didn’t give it much thought.

We shouldn’t dwell in the past, right? Time to move on.

…And then, on the weekend, the order form showed up in a stack of papers and the memory whole thing came flooding back.

This was 2006. I can’t tell you the number of deals that company offered that we simply passed on after that. To this very day, we pass on many of the “backlist specials” that are offered because somewhere, in the recesses of my mind, there is an incident where the supplier simply didn’t fulfill their promise.

As a company policy, we don’t do returns. We get extra consideration from several of our suppliers for buying one way or sales final. The ones that don’t give us that get fewer orders. So we pride ourselves in getting it right the first time.

The mistake was ours. We didn’t check the little box.

Would an extra $4 off have moved these CDs and DVDs to a greater degree?

I think so. Especially after prices started following. The coupons had no expiry; the deal could have existed in perpetuity. 

But we never got to find out. I should also say that we already had a good quantity of existing stock on these items, we bought aggressively back then and we bought for three stores. We currently have about 60 DVDs too many and untold numbers of CDs.

Much of our surplus stock from the closing of the other stores will eventually be given away to missions, but the DVDs don’t work outside of North America. We might eventually use them for skeet shooting next time we’re out on the yacht.

This is also a good example of a customer relations blunder by the supplier in question. Eventually, they shuttered their doors and any hope of settlement vanished.

Anyone want some Hillsong DVDs??


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