Monday, April 27, 2020

4581 Abandoned at the Altar

People who know the company will know what this means. But the story stands even if you don’t know the name or locations.

This is a story about a regional chain of furniture stores that went broke. Twice. Both recently. They were best known for giving you “the business” when you gave them yours, for screaming at you from print and television ads and for co-inventing the most meaningless phrase in retailing, “the reference price.”

Just what is a reference price? Read this conversation:

Customer: What does the reference price refer to?
Salesman: Well, um… err, it’s kinda like what we think it should sell for.
Customer: Did you ever sell this dining room table or that recliner at the reference price?
Salesman: well, um err.
Customer: silence
Salesman: “No, we never have.”

This phrase is the love child of two older phrases, “comparable value” and “MSRP.” Also meaningless.
The family that owned the chain of stores sold it to a larger company which continued to operate them separately, but later decided to close down.

Then came the Covfefe Virus.  So the sale was called off. You ordered something?  You paid for it -- or at least made a down payment?  Tough. You lose.

You ordered something and it was already on the truck ready for delivery?  Tough. You lose.

The new new owners are trying to salvage their purchase but for some reason can’t.  So there are all those buildings and all that merchandise and all those employees now homeless or jobless or both.

Fortunately for some people a smaller competitor, also family-owned has offered to fill unfilled orders at the actual price, not the reference price.  Some restrictions apply. Well… many restrictions apply. 

Is the story over?  Probably not.  But the only people who will benefit will be lawyers on all three sides of this mess.  And that’ll have to wait until the courts that handle this kind of mess reopen.  Which could be… midway through trump’s second term.


(ALL OVER) -- Friends from all over have left voicemail pretending to have ingested Clorox or Drano and have developed symptoms.  They’re kidding, of course, but one may have legitimately been sick because he ate some canned corn with a best-before date from 1994.

(EAST MEADOW NY) -- The Mexican fast food place, Moe’s Southwest, is ready to re-open its Long Island branches. Fortunately, one of them is right near the county hospital.

(OTTOWA) -- When trump said he’s ready to re-open the Canadian border, Canada says “not so fast, turnip-for-brains.  It’s our border too.

(PIGEON FORGE TN) -- Businesses in this mule holler say they’re going to reopen for business on May 1.  That is if they can find the 600 or so Dollywood workers furloughed with the Virus of Northern Aggression hit the place.

(TUCSON, AZ) -- Arizona is expecting triple digit temperatures this week.  But it’s a dry heat.

(PYONG YANG) -- North Korea’s strong-boy dictator is either dead or not.  Or sick or not. Or living in his 800-foot-long private train that’s sidetracked near the east coast, or not.  Or conducting “normal” business (like threatening South Korea and the US with nuclear annihilation or killing close relative) or not.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions?
© WJR 2020

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