Tuesday, December 30

Dear retailers...

This has to stop. Frankly, it's getting embarrassing for everyone involved.

Look, you know, deep in your hearts, that the relationship is over. That you and consumers haven't really been in sync for awhile now. They're pulling away, cutting back. You barely see them anymore. And when they are there, they don't stay long or spend much.

I can only imagine how scary that must be for you, watching them grow more distant with each passing day (and industry collapse).

And in your fear, you try to lure them in with tawdry promises of discounts and sales. But, stores, even if these ploys do work, you know it's just staving off the inevitable. The consumers are using you. They're buying, yeah, but it's mostly sale items. And it's so obvious that everyone is just going through the motions. They come in only because they know you'll give them what they want: cheap stuff. After they got what they came for, they leave and go find another store all too willing to lower its prices for them.

You're deluding yourselves that you can go on like this. Yes, you're maintaining a relationship, but only in the most superficial of senses. I know it, the consumers know it, and it's time you know it.

Meanwhile, how long do you really think you can keep going like this? You know you paid a certain price for that inventory you're flagrantly discounting. How much lower can you go? How many losses can you afford when the consumers aren't sticking around for the regularly priced merchandise?

We all know that, eventually, you have to hit a stopping point. That's becoming increasingly obvious as your cheap come-ons get more and more transparent. Macy's, you know you do this: You sent out an "After Christmas" sale catalog (four days before Christmas, mind you) that was almost identical to your "Last Days Before Christmas" catalog. Same coupons, same morning discounts, same everything.

How long do you think you can keep fooling the consumers into coming back? Eventually, you won't be able to do anything more for them. They'll realize that they've already gotten the best you have to offer. And then they'll move on.

You think you can't survive without these sales-vultures? You were fine before everyone got so power-drunk with credit cards. You'll be okay again. It won't always be pleasant. You will probably have to cut staff. But you can't expect people in foreclosure to go deeper into debt. You'd just be fooling yourself.

I know it's far from your ideal scenario. I know it's not what you want to hear. But it's the truth. And the more you play this degrading charade, the faster consumers will see through it. So stop now, while you still have some dignity left. Don't be that cloying ex who calls every hour of the day, hoping to get back together. No one wants to encourage that kind of behavior. It's annoying and a little creepy.

No, retailers, you're better than that! Play it cool. Let them know you have sale prices sometimes. But they don't have to come. Ya know, whatever. You'll be around, and, hey, if they stop by, great. But you know what you're worth. You know eventually they'll want to come back for some new clothes or the latest shoes they've saved up for. They need you. It's just a matter of keeping your cool. Of not panicking.

And if none of this letter convinced you, then at the very least STOP CLOGGING MY MAILBOX WITH NEW SALES CATALOGS.


A sales-vulture before sales-vulturing was cool,

Abigail Perry

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't have written a better letter myself :)

December 31, 2008 at 6:01 AM

Blogger Meg said...


To which I add...

Dear manufacturers,

Stop making crap that never works like advertised and breaks down the day after the warranty expires!

While I don't buy a lot of stuff, I don't mind paying more for quality. I just can't find much of it these days.

December 31, 2008 at 11:12 AM

Blogger Rebecca said...

Retail really does annoy me. Read my letter to Target

January 11, 2009 at 4:05 PM


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