What Would Fudgie (the Whale) Do?

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Faced with the “adapt or die” scenario, one would assume business people would understand the need to change. Yet each day there are numerous examples of those who still cling to the thinking of the past, even at the expense of their future. Here’s one example:

My daughter really likes those crunchy, chocolate things that are often between layers of an ice cream cake. With today being her birthday, I decided (with a little prodding from mini-me) to get some extra “crunchies” to go with the cake mom and sister had baked. Happy to overpay for a small container as a birthday treat, I’m told at my local ice cream shop that they won’t sell them to me unless I first buy a cake from them (the least expensive was $10). No exceptions, they say, we’ve never sold them separately (even though they do get requests to do so).

While I’m no expert on the cost of producing crunchies, if that’s even their name, or the potential scarcity should people be allowed to eat them outside of cake, I am confident there was profit to be made if they charged me, say $4, for a small cup. It might even have been the best margin they recorded all day.

Still, the manager refused to even consider the sale, since the preservation of the store’s decades-old business philosophy was apparently the top priority. Forget trying to survive a bad economy (somewhat prophetically there was an abandoned mall, 350,000 sq. ft. of retail space, directly across the street), making an obscene profit on a special request, or satisfying customers so they’ll come back/tell their friends, the store didn’t sell crunchies outside the cake 30 years ago and they weren’t about to start now.

Is your company doing things the way it always has even though the business arena and customer (service) expectations have evolved? While the resistance to change may provide some short-term comfort for those who enjoy the non-thinking zone, it’s also the fastest way to insure the number of birthdays your business enjoys is limited.

One Response to “What Would Fudgie (the Whale) Do?”

  1. Alan Williamson

    This makes as much business sense as Home Depot refusing to sell you nails unless you also purchase a hammer. The good news is that bad customer service attitudes and policies are exposed much quicker these days and the offending companies eventually pay the price in lost business and bad PR.

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