I spent 2 hours on Monday afternoon unsuccessfully looking for a space heater. 2 hours trying to spend money, and unable to do so. Ready and willing to make a purchase, with no takers.
In a tough economy, is this an acceptable way to do business? Let’s talk about the why for a minute, because it’s critical.
A space heater is a seasonal item. In Florida, where the temperature dips below 50 for about one month out of the typical year, they are not exactly a hot commodity. But during a year where nighttime temperatures have been below 40 for weeks at a time, I don’t see any of the companies I visited today practicing reactionary business.
Big names, too–Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Costco. Companies that are apparently too big and slow for their own good. Unable to react to a simple need to keep one room in my house warmer (the A/C heats our apartment unevenly).
The customer service desk answer? You guessed it…“Sorry, it’s a seasonal item.” My response? “It’s 40 outside, are you sure you’re in the right season??”
Seriously…they have grills and patio furniture out. Plenty of brand new portable A/C units on the shelves. And the funny thing is…there’s no one is in there buying this stuff! Because it’s 40 outside!!
In all seriousness, you can’t expect to do the same thing year after year and get the same results. Circumstances, like the weather, change the game. Even on a geographical/regional level, what works in Orlando may not work in Miami. It’s a long state, people–we’re all dealing with different conditions.
Do these huge, monster companies really have that kind of a grip micromanagement over their stores that local leadership can’t make the decision about what products to sell? Because let me tell you–the cold weather is all anyone’s talked about for the last 3 months down here. Non stop. Anyone with a brain and a bit of autonomy who runs a home improvement store would be stocking firewood, blankets, and…space heaters.
Not so, my friends. Not so. So thanks, Home Depot, Lowes, and the other seven stores I visited. I guess I’ll have to order online from someone who does carry what I want. And by the time it gets here…it’ll probably be warm.
Photo by Tobyotter.