Rush To Market at Christmas


Cash registers ringing—or pink slips coming?

If you think pressure is building on consumers to get those presents under the tree by the December 24 deadline, that’s nothing compared to what corporate VIPs are going through as the Big Night nears: Will we make our projections? If not, whom can we blame? Will we be calculating our bonuses or rewriting our resumes?

You can be sure that making December sales forecasts risks the full flowering the second of the Six Consumer Abuses: The Rush To Market abuse. At this moment it may be nearing its peak on two fronts.

Retailers want to keep inventories down to lower overhead and costs of returns of unsold Christmas-oriented stuff, which is practically everything from fur coats to underwear to antacids. So tight inventory management can lead to Rush To Market Contingencies, more commonly called panic. It can lead to “hurry up” loosening of manufacturing standards.

Underscoring this is the non-stop growth of Outsourced Offshoring. By now you probably have gifts under the tree made in faraway places where either American specs are (a) exactly followed or (b) often followed or (c) the basis for funny stories about foolish American retailers and their “let’s pretend” specs.

On Christmas Day, if baffled by instructions for assembling—forget using—technical products or kids’ toys, don’t blame the offshore folks. Blame the American retailers who rushed to market without serious insistence on perfectly written and tested instructions at, say, the 10th grade level.

And watch out for other specs that come up short. If you find them, it might be a good time to start being a consumerist.

Next Week: Abuse 3 at Christmas—Defect Toleration. Sign up for my blog to be sure to get it.

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Probable RTM Exception: If there are any readers interested in impressing the kids and/or being the talk of the town for years to come, grab The Celebrity Robotic Avatar offered by Hammacher Schlemmer for $345,000. Buy extra wrapping paper because it is 6 feet high. It weighs in at 600 lbs, so get indoor delivery.

 

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