Sunday, January 27, 2008

Broken Merchandise Strategy

I don’t usually write about consumer items, but I just had an interesting experience. I bought a scanner from a well-known chain store. When I opened the box, it contained a note from the last sucker who bought this scanner with an explanation of what is wrong with it.

The note came with actual pictures of scans gone wrong. I’m grateful to this anonymous person who took the time to help out the next sucker to buy this scanner (me in this case).

The two pages of explanation were not exactly hidden. They were the first thing that I took out of the box. Obviously the store employees never even looked inside. They just put it back on the shelf to sell it to someone else. Nice.

I don’t see much point in naming the product or the store. But, I do like the consumer strategy of including a note any time you are forced to take a defective product back to a store. For your altruistic side, you are helping out other people.

For fun, you could even include an email address with your note if you would like to hear from the next purchaser. More advanced strategies could involve leaving more than one copy of the note: one that is very obvious to find, and the other a little more hidden. This way if a store employee opens the box and removes the easily found note, the other note will still be there to be found by the next purchaser.

In the event that the store actually fixes the product, presumably they would find and remove both copies of the note.

I am always annoyed when I have to waste time returning defective products. Playing games with notes takes a little more time, but makes my day a little brighter.

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