Recession – does your Company need to sell?

April 3rd, 2009 | Uncategorized

The little soapbox logo/photo that I sometimes use when I have a moan could not be more appropriate for today’s post….

You may or may not recall that a month or two ago I wrote about the price of carton, and how the value of re-cycled paper had collapsed – as our own cartons are made from 75% re-cycled paper I sort of anticipated that the price might drop accordingly. Of course, it did not, and this left me with an overwhelming feeling that we were now simply subsidising the brand new state-of-the-art factory recently built by our carton supplier.

Since I arrived in Spain several years ago I have been very happy with this company, as they are often our only supplier that delivers when they say they will, and I would be very reluctant to change them – “If it ain’t broken, then don’t fix it”, as they say. However, for the reason that I explained earlier I thought it only appropriate that I should at least shop around and compare prices.

The salesmen of two other large carton manufacturers (one local and one part of a large group) could probably not believe their luck when they received our unsolicited call inviting them to quote. And so, a few weeks ago they arrived at the bodega, spent an hour discussing our requirements, took samples of our existing cases and then disappeared never to be seen again!

Is it just me? In a recession wouldn’t you think that they might be keen to get the new business? Not so, our phones, faxes and e-mail have all remained silent. Now it could be (although it is highly unlikely) that they don’t want our business, but if this was the case, you would think that they might at least have the courtesy to tell us.

As you may have guessed I am not impressed, but believe me, I have an even better example!

A few years ago I treated myself to a very nice German car (the brand is not really relevant). Perhaps two months ago I had the car serviced, and whilst hanging around in the showroom where I bought the original car, I picked up the brochure of their latest model. I was completely seduced by the beautiful glossy pictures, and very tempted…… I looked for the salesman, and even went as far as having my old car valued as a possible trade-in against the new model. Obviously there was no way that I would part with such a large amount of money before at least seeing the new car, but no problem I was assured, they could get one from another showroom to show me, and possibly even test drive. Wonderful I thought – and guess what? – two months later I am still waiting for their call!

Now, this particular German manufacturer endured a staggering 63% sales drop in the third quarter of 2008, which has continued in 2009, dropping a further 9% in March alone. Now I have to confess that I don’t particularly like pushy salesmen, but in the current market I am sure that the German parent company would be completely mortified if they only knew of such blatant indifference.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Angela and I do not employ salesmen and cover the work ourselves!

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