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Stupid Execution Actions

October 24, 2017

Some companies spend profusely to get customers and then blow it with inadequate or stupid execution. Here are some illustrations I have been subjected to:

  • A company that sends me beautifully elaborate and well written catalogues at least once every three weeks telling me they want me back as a customer (and for which I have spent about $1,000 a year for the last seven or eight years) lost me as a customer because they overcharged me $12.00 on my last purchase. I wrote to them three times (over a six months period) about this and I never received any reply whatsoever. Stupid execution! Or lack of execution!
  • I opened a credit card with a retail chain because I was told I would get a $40 gift certificate to spend on my next purchase. The credit card took three weeks to arrive and the certificate three months. There was another item I wanted to purchase but figured I would wait until I received the credit card and certificate. Now, who remembers what I wanted, and it’s been so long that I guess I really did not need it. I will get around to using the certificate, but the store missed a few visits and purchases I am sure I would have made had I got the certificate right away, or at least with the card. Stupid execution!
  • I had a brokerage account for a partnership that we terminated. This was 12 years ago. I wrote to the broker to sell all the securities and issue checks to me and my partner to close the account. They did this well and sent us the checks. However, the next month there was a $1.78 balance for a dividend received after they sent us the checks. I asked for a check for the $1.78 and was told there would be a $10.00 charge for a third party check. I have been getting quarterly statements from them for 12 years (which I throw away). Stupid people!
  • Many magazines I subscribe to send renewal notices three or four weeks afterwards asking me to renew by a deadline date to avoid missing any issues. On one of the publications that I subscribed to for two years, I received a notice to renew for a third year for a bargain $10.00 which I did. I now receive renewal notices every three or four weeks from them, which I throw away. Crazy people.
  • Some publications have a bargain subscription price with added postage and handling shown in small print which I occasionally miss paying for. When they bill me for the unpaid postage, I pay it but then I decide I will not renew this subscription anymore. Slowly, I am learning to live nicely without so much mail. Who do they think they are fooling? By the way, my local public library has many of the publications I subscribe to, so now I go there to read the ones I do not renew.
  • Many charities send appeal letters every three or four weeks after receiving my contribution trying to make me feel guilty if I don’t contribute again. To avoid this guilty feeling I stopped all contributions to these charities and enjoy watching the mail clutter disappear. What I do for organizations I feel a compelling need to contribute to is to support people I know who are raising money for them and requesting that I do not receive any solicitations. I also now make many contributions anonymously from my donor advised fund. I lose out on address labels, note pads and newsletter updates on their activities, but found out I can live very comfortably without them.
  • For charities that relentlessly call me on a continuous schedule, and either don’t leave messages, leave two minute messages, or who lie about the purpose so they get me to call them back, I stopped contributing to all together. I add the unspent contributions to my other charities.
  • Six years ago I made a $200 political contribution for someone running in a presidential primary rather than turning down their request completely for a much larger amount. The $200 was the maximum amount where I did not have to provide added disclosures. Since then I have received mail and phone calls almost every week having them stop just after the last presidential election. If I ever make another political contribution I deserve to be committed.
  • I receive offers to sell odd shares of stock that I own, or to buy enough shares to give me a round lot of 100 shares. The “nominal” charge is $1.50 per share with a maximum charge of $50.00. My discount broker charges me $5.00 a transaction. If I were the company I would pay me a bonus to get rid of me as a shareholder since they send me six pieces of mail [four with dividend checks] a year for my paltry number of shares. Wouldn’t it be worth $50.00 to pay me off, rather than charging me $50.00? If it were free I would probably do it to get rid of the shares and the mail clutter. At some point I will transfer the shares to my brokerage account and then donate them to my donor advised fund since I no longer have the cost basis information for most of them.

There are others, but these should give you an idea of stupid organizations and people, and stupid execution. In all of these cases it is not the money, but the damage to the brand and long term value of their business model. Hopefully there are some lessons to be learned here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 6hawthorne permalink
    October 24, 2017 7:16 am

    Hi Ed very good enjoyed reading Bob Nagler

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