Thursday, May 9, 2013

Great Product: Bad Management

Morning Coffee 

In a quiet corner of the supermarket.

I'm having coffee this morning in a supermarket. It is early. There is almost no one around. It is quiet. I am writing in my notebook. (Marble Composition®: Open the cover--paper, lines, write with a retractable ballpoint stylus.) This I do while waiting for the Library to open.

I see the Entenmann® Man

I see the Entenmann man checking a rack of snack-sized products.  I have to ask:

"Whatever happened to that cake, two layers, mocha filled, powdered sugar?  He vaguely remembers it.  How could he?"  He probably never saw it on the shelf.


The company delivers 3 to the supermarket. I grab one.  I say to my wife, 

"Look! Do you want me to get one for your Mother?" 

I go back. I grab one.  I know I won't see them again for a few weeks.  Well, maybe in another store.  I know it won't be long before the company does away with the product. How do I know?

For years I shopped the European style.  I was in a supermarket everyday.  Sometimes twice a day.  But what I know is not limited to Supermarkets.  What do I know?  I know that no matter what you sell, I guarantee I can tell you two products that do not sell.

  • The stuff on the shelf.  How do I know?  Because it is sitting on the shelf.
  • The stuff not on the shelf.  How do I know? Because you can't sell something that's not on the shelf!


When we moved out West, we could not find Pizza!  There was one place, Riccobono's, that was a ride. The owners moved there from Queens. Or the Bronx. The point? That, and a place downtown, were the only two places to buy Pizza! in the entire state. 

Plan B  We could always go to one of those PizzaMatics: The result of a corporate strategy to manufacture, assemble, and purvey an ersatz, pizza, substitute by-product.  If you have to go that way, I can recommend a good one.  Well, the good one, actually.  Peter Piper® Pizza.

Plan C   Frozen Pizza.  We buy frozen pizza for the nights we don't want to go to Peter Piper.  We try Red Baron®.  There are four: Plain, Pepperoni, Deluxe, Supreme Deluxe.  I grab, literally, a Plain.  It's great.  I go back for another.  Three left.  I buy two. Next day, none.  I ask the kid in frozen foods if he has more in the back. "No,  but we have more coming in." (Lyin' sack of crap. There won't be more until the next shipment.) When the new shipment comes in, "repeat process."  They stopped selling it. What do they sell now?  Four Cheese Pizza.  Nothing says Pizza like the taste of American Cheese.  Kind of like, a grilled cheese sandwich with ketchup on it. Great Product: Management?

Soft Drinks

Irony: now that I've reached the age where I need the caffeine and sugar to keep me going, I drink Caffeine-Free, Diet-Pepsi®.  Almost a 2-litre bottle a day.  What is the first thing to sell out on the grocers' shelf?  The Caffeine-Free, Diet-Pepsi.  Great Product. Management? 

Ice Cream Bars 

I like chocolate. So does my wife.  Now, that does not mean everyone shares our preference.  Still, have you ever heard a woman say, "I'm so excited. Last night my husband brought me a great-big, heart-shaped box of vanillas? And not for any occasion. Just because he loves me and he was thinking about me."   Probably not.  But Chocolate? 

So, it is no surprise that we cannot find Klondike® Chocolate Bars.  Not chocolate coated, not mint, not chip, not bars that taste like candy bars, but CHOCOLATE. 

I go into the local market.  Floyd is the dairy manager.  I ask him if he could ask the delivery guy to stock some chocolate.  When he comes in later that day, he does. The guy must be new.  He actually puts chocolate in the freezer.  I buy the package of six.  Two days later, I'm back. I buy another pack.  The chocolate is half goneI make a bet with myself.  "The next time I come back, there will be no chocolate. I will never see it again."  A few days later, I return to the store. The guy must definitely be new.  The Freezer is restocked with chocolate.  Yes. A Winner!  Not to worry. Management will put a stop to that.  After all, management put a stop to it in every other supermarket, why not the one downtown?  Great Product. Management?

Potato Chips

No matter how you spell it, Lay's Classic Potato Chips® routinely sell out.  Not that I don't like variety.  I started cooking Mexican Food when I was 12 years old.  I like the Nachos, the Doritos® , the Cool Ranch® ....but Lay's Classic are the Chip of Choice!  What always sells out? The Lay's Classic.  What do I always hear?  We are going to order more.

Order More? No.

What?  That's right.  Don't order more.  ORDER MORE HIGH BIG NUMBERS.

Great Products:

  • Red Baron® Cheese Pizza
  • Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi®
  • Klondike® CHOCOLATE Ice Cream Bars
  • Lay's Classic® Potato Chips
  • That Entenmann's® ® layer cake with the mocha filling and powdered sugar on top.


Management?  Not so much.

I figured out the problem.  A consultant named Odious Dungnoodle. (Hey, if Dickens can do it with Ebeneezer Scrooge, Uriah Heep, and Mr. Fezziwig, I can too.)

Mr. Dungnoodle, a Marketing Consultant, looked at the sales figures and recommended that the products be removed from the product line.  

When the boss was asked why he agreed  to go along with this, he replied, "Mr. Dungnoodle is a consultant.  He had sales figures. He said words like, revenue enhancement, optimisation, and roi. Did you know that that means return on investment?  Mr. Dungnoodle is an expert. 

We found a new frozen pizza, we hoard Lay's Potato Chips and caffeine-free, diet Pepsi, and we have made alternative acquisition decisions. (We buy other stuff.)

Sincerest regards,



If you find anything here to be helpful, please do not hesitate to send me a really tricked-out laptop and to put a few dollars into the envelope along with the thank you note. Slim

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great Management ?

There is a bus company that changes and reprints their schedules almost twice a year. And no matter what is not changed, the same mistakes are included time and time again. It may be physically impossible for a bus to travel 12 miles in 3 minutes, but is on the schedule for no less than 5 reprints. When asked of the management how can this be, the answer is that at least a bus is shown going to this stop! BRILLIANT !!