Smiling Hurts My Face!
Perhaps you’ve noticed little foxes eating at the vine? The key to profits in marketing these days is no longer to have a great product that everyone clamors to purchase. The key is to make people think what they are buying is of a quality worth their money!
A few years back, retired with time on my hands, my wife suggested I go get a part-time job somewhere. After making several applications to big box chain stores in the area, I settled on the closest. The chain catered to bulk purchasers, and bends over backwards to cull their business. With an advertised 100% satisfaction guarantee, how could anybody lose, right?
I worked the Customer Service counter. We did a lot of returns. Many patrons didn’t know or care that a preponderance of the merchandise could not be res-shelved, or that in most cases, the product manufacturer or supplier would eat the cost of such goods returned, not the store. I was grieved that adults would bring their children during such return events, and show untoward disregard, or even outright lie to me in front of them about their return.
For instance, a representative from a local school district came in to return a pallet of overbought food items; buns, hot dogs, various meats, condiments, etc. that were left over from the district pick-nick over the weekend. On more than one occasion I mentioned to individuals like this that most of the items they were returning would go to the dipsy-dumpster! Folks who purchased consumables willie-nelly, without thinking or giving foresight consideration were only interested in that selfish bottom line, give me back the money!
Needless to say, I didn’t stay with that job long because I had positive proof that the company, through its pervasive feel-good satisfaction guarantee policy no matter what, was in part, corrupting the moral fiber of Americans, and by customer participation, was breading bad examples of the next generation! Consumers cared little that the ‘chain’ had a reputation for putting suppliers out of business to make a profit themselves.
Foxes, little foxes. It used to be we’d buy a pound of bacon for a good price. Juices and packaged drinks a full gallon or a half gallon. We’d shop for good product with seemingly good value for the money. Then, slowly, as the price remained constant, the quantity got cut. Most bacons are 12 oz. now, hot dogs less that 16 oz. Drinks have a few oz. shaved off, and on and on it goes. We pay the same price but receive less. And then slowly, the price does inch up !
My wife too, likes to buy consumables at the big chain store. If you shop at Sam’s Club or Costco, or Aldi’s, they have branded products, too. She bought bulk toilet paper. Nice fluffy, soft but strong stuff. Great it was 4.5” wide. Another time, she picked up a bulk of the same branded TP, only to have me find out the hard way they had shaved off ¼ inch in width, giving less wipe surface for the same money! Monkey with the bacon all you like, but don’t monkey with my wipes!
How could anyone smile at that? My natural, relaxed facial expression is rather bland. My lips have a slight downward turn at the corners. Overall, if I’m contemplating something, I’m not smiling. This pensive expression might give the impression that I’m mad or angry. I’m not, though. Yet for me to smile, the muscles in my face scrinch up shoving all the facial tissues into my eye sockets! Then I’m squinting, and that’s not a good thing for my mug, either.
As a singer/musician I just can’t replicate a smiley, bubbly effervescent persona and have it genuine, that doesn’t come naturally for me. But I am open to trying. Perhaps the open-mouth technique some notable musicians (Vaughn, Clapton) demonstrate, would take the edge off, eh? I’m not even going to think about the last resort as portrayed by ‘the Joker’ with that big, phony tattoo grin from ear to ear! Nope! I’ll just have to educate the masses that smiling hurts my face, I could be deep in contemplation, yah know. Maybe a song title: It Hurts When I Think of You, or Your Cheatin’ Heart, My Hurting Face, or It Hurts Me to Have The Last Laugh, or something like that.