Everyone knows that car dealers play a few dirty tricks from time to time. They advertise a terrific deal and when you get to the lot they try to sell you one with much better features for more. Most of us are resigned to deal with that sort of advertising. But when a fabric stores tries the tactics of a used car lot, it doesn’t turn out very well for the store – or the customers.
A fabric and craft store was holding a big anniversary sale. The store printed up thousands of fliers and sent coupons out to all of their faithful customers. The customers diligently clipped their coupons, circled their favorite sewing items in the flyer and planned to be there early to snatch up all the great deals.
The morning of the sale rolled around, and faithful customers all over the country flocked to the store to buy the advertised bargains. But the bargains were already gone! It happened in Wisconsin, New Mexico, California and Tennessee – this was certainly not an isolated event.
One woman picked up her mother and the two of them drove more than hour to reach the store on the day of the special. The store opened at 9am, and they arrived shortly thereafter with coupons and printed flyer in hand. As the pair of shoppers made their way to the sewing section of the craft store, they noticed a few other individuals muttering and looking frustrated around them.
When they arrived in the sewing section, the two shoppers looked around for the items on their list, but they didn’t see them anywhere. The two women assumed that perhaps the big sale items were somewhere else in the store, perhaps on a special display, and that asking an associate would be the simplest way to find them.
The associate working in the sewing section was already visiting with another customer. The customer was obviously complaining about something, so the two shoppers settled back to wait – until they overheard what the complaints were about. It would seem the complaining customer was looking for the same sewing kit and dress form as these two shoppers. And there were none at all in the store.
How – the flabbergasted shoppers wondered – is it possible to not have a single one of the sale items from the flyer in the store? The representative from the fabric store explained that they had only received a handful of the item from the warehouse, but that there were several other sewing kits available to purchase instead.
The two shoppers and the frustrated complainer looked at the sewing kits the employee was encouraging. These kits were twice the price of the advertised special, and they came with fewer features and looked flimsy as well.
Disgusted, the three women walked away and kept on walking until they were in the parking lot. Seething with frustration, the women hopped back into their cars to drive more than hour back home again – empty handed.
When car lots advertise a low-ball special, they have the decency to list a model number so that customers know it is a limited selection. Then, the available models the salesmen try to substitute cost more, but have more to offer as well.
When a fabric store advertises a huge special but fails to provide more than just a handful of items, without alerting customers to the short supply, those customers get angry. And when the same store tries to substitute a more expensive item of inferior quality, the store loses business. In a big way.