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Business Fail? What am I missing? (rant)

 
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Shouldn't EVERY business make it easy for their customers to ALWAYS be able to give them money?

Let's say there's a power outage or a server crashes. Perhaps your clerks could be equipped with old-fashioned, mechanical credit card swipers - you know, the kind that go 'ca-ching'?

Safeway - FAIL, Staples - FAIL.
 
lowercase baba
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I couldn't agree with you more. The wife and I have often made comments about how various company's business models seem to be "make it hard for the customer to give us money".

It's happened enough that it's one of our family's little 'in-jokes'.
 
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The cost of equipping the business with the manual credit card scanning devices, along with processing, accounting, and training, is probably more than the cost of the lost business when automated equipment fails.
 
Bert Bates
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The cost you didn't mention is the cost of pissing off customers. Earlier today, the company that was able to do business with me, in spite of the power outage, earned some loyalty from me...
 
Marshal
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It's very hard to measure those costs and benefits for the bean-counters, though.
 
Bert Bates
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A couple of weeks back a tree fell, blocking our road to the outside world... I called the local feed store, and the guy there said - "drop by whenever you get out and grab what you need from the back, we'll settle up later". Because of that act of goodwill, I'm moving all my hay business to that store.

I'm sorry, but when the bean counters are in control and service slips, those companies are doomed - I think Circuit City is a good example of that mentality.
 
Paul Clapham
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Yeah, I'm not defending the bean counters, just saying. As soon as you get to be a big company, it's pretty much impossible to delegate to the cashiers the right to say "Okay, no problem, just take the groceries and when the power comes back on, come back over and we'll figure it out then". Not completely impossible, but it doesn't help if you're in a commodity business with low margins.
 
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I used to work at a student run co-operative store and we never turned away customers. If the power went out, we'd turn on flashlights, record sales with pencil and paper, and compute sales tax with a hand calculator. Good times!

We didn't take credit cards in that store though and I can see how that would complicate things. The electronic systems, besides all the bookkeeping they do, verify that the credit cards are good. I can see people with stolen or overdrawn credit cards waiting for power outages and then just going to town. Far fetched? I used to work at a company that made subway ticket vending machines. For two hours each month, the central server disconnected machines from the network so it could do maintenance. The machines could still sell tickets ... just without verifying credit cards first. People somehow learned that schedule and showed up with bad credit cards to buy hundreds of tickets at a time. I think they even made a website to publish the scheduled down times.
 
Paul Clapham
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Yeah. People are much more likely to steal from Big Faceless Corporation than from the local feed store. Especially if there's no personal contact with BFC.
 
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What about cash? "They" always say to have enough cash on hand for a short lived emergency or power outage.

The last big power outage we had was handled well where I lived. One local deli had someone meet you at the door, take your order (they sold bread, canned goods etc) and let you pay with cash at the door. It was too dark to let customers inside, but they still sold out of a lot of things. And the ice cream store gave away free ice cream before it melted. I didn't live near any big faceless corporations then though. I don't know how well things would be handled where I live now. And I hope not to find out.
 
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