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Monthly Archives: May 2007
In my first post on this issue, it was not yet confirmed that China was the source but now it is. See the CBC article. The interesting part is, the local China press and how they are playing it, is classic Chinese media.
China Daily, a state run paper has this to say “It is an open secret here that our manufacturers usually employ higher standards when it comes to exports.” One thing to keep in mind, this is rather typical, on the one hand they do condemn the really bad practices of the watchdogs for basically not doing their job, but they do this us against them and them being the west. This is rather typical, in
China when a foreign company gets too popular the state run media outlets run bad stories on them, so using the west to be the bad guy is a really popular tactic. Basically it is a way to keep the Chinese consumers from trusting western companies and products when a local one is readily available. It’s another form of government intervention on the behalf of local companies.
In this case, it is actually a really bad idea to use this tactic again. It has the potential for the guy on the factor floor who decides which pallet goes where, to send the really bad stuff overseas on a more frequent bases. Then more and more outbreaks happen and it only ends up coming back to hurt China. Of course if they actually opened their markets like a modern economy they wouldn’t have this problem.
The FDA has warned against eating monkfish as it may actually be puffer fish, a fish that has a toxin deadly to humans. The fish as been traced back to, China, again. Consumers should be careful when using products from China as we are finding with alarming regularity, that quality standards are not up to those we expect from vendors. With mislabeling using to deceive consumes, it’s hard to really know what you are getting and avoiding products from China is probably the only safe option at this time.
Read about the warning at the FDA site.
This week I am beta testing the long on going redesign of my personal site, Echenard.com. I don’t have a crew to test the bugs for me, just some friends and so far it looks alright, just a few minor bugs like the resizing, forgot to add the code for that. Once the beta testing is done, I will start to populate the site. But the majory part is over and soon, you will be able to find article there as well as the blog posts here.
Ok, I know I’ve been beating up on
China all month, what can I say, I don’t like shoddy deals and what they have been doing is. I think it is important to raise awareness of such activities when they are spotted. Informed consumers make for good consumers because they are the people buying based on being informed, not on emotions. Yes in marketing we play to emotions a lot but at the end of the day, emotions are not a stable platform for long term success with a client being a repeat client, information is though.
But we here in the
US have plenty of examples for this but sometimes it is not so obvious if you do not live in certain places. This past week, this was made very clear to me as I was helping someone who is a legal immigrant, with a purchase. Dealing with the same companies, we saw how different the level of service can be, just by location alone.
I was helping someone who wanted a Dish Network system. Being as he is Spanish he wanted to go to a store that spoke Spanish, so off toLake Street
he went, about a 20 mile drive, not far at all. That’s where I came in, to help him install it. The install was easy, but that doesn’t matter if the system doesn’t work. So we called up the shop and the guy said it wasn’t his problem, that it was Dish Network’s problem. So I called Dish and they said it was not their problem, it was the store’s problem. This went on for three hours.
Finally the next day we took the system down toLake Street
and the guy said, “no refunds, no exchanges.” I got the impression he was used to dealing with consumers who were not informed of their purchasing rights in this state and that if sold defective items, they had a right to get it exchanged or their money. This was an authorized Dish Network dealer a national company and Radio Shack, again, a national company, I know their own policies are not “no refund, no exchange” for a product that didn’t work right out of the box.
So a few polite reminders about the laws in this state and the man at the store said he will show me that we set it up wrong and that it works. It takes 1 minute to install, and he spent 20 minutes doing everything he could think of, only to give up. He still was not interested in exchanging but a quick call to HQ in TX changed his mind. He pushed a paper in front of my friend who was trying to read it when the man said “just sign it.” Which he didn’t, he kept reading. We left with a full refund and the clear impression we were more of an annoyance to the man than an actual customer. You would have though we had committed a crime by the expression on his face.
Back in our own town, we went to the local Radio Shack. The man there spoke Spanish and was very polite and very helpful and spent a lot of time answering all the questions and even gave my friend his card in case he had any more questions. He went through all the packages and deals that were available and helped him out. It was a very nice experience, the kind you expect as a customer.
In both cases we had the same company, so this was not an issue of company philosophy; it seems to be more an issue of location. Where we live is a rather well do to suburb, people pay for and expect good service, places that do not provide good service, generally do not last here very long. Bad service is not tolerated by the consumers of this town and they have the money and resources to go else where if they do not like the services here.
The area on Lake Street is where a lot of new immigrants go when they come here, they don’t really know how things work and often their English level is not the best. So they do not understand, like my friend, of their rights as consumers. Or they do not yet have the resources to walk with their feet and go somewhere else to purchase their goods if the service is not up to par. Thus there are many stores in that area that operates on the lowest common denominator for customer service.
Somewhere these companies have let their service level drop in some areas. I do not fully know why they have allowed this. Perhaps it is just the location management yet if it is, then I’m sure corporate should know by know. But in any case, what ever the reason, Radio Shack and Dish Network have created an opportunity for competitors, in fact most stores there have. The less than best service they offer is creating a competitive void and nature hates a vacuum, it is only a matter of time before someone else moves in and takes their market from them.
I do find it rather disappointing that such well known and rather large brands, would allow their brand to be damaged as such. I will follow up and see if I can get a clear answer from either company as to why the difference in service.
According to this NY Times article, toothpaste that has ingredients found in antifreeze is showing up in toothpaste suspected of being from China. Diethylene glycol, used to replaced glycerin, is the ingredient in question, the very same one that has killed over 100 people in Panama from a shipment from China used in cough medicine. So far reports in Panama, the Dominican Republic and Australia has come up with the suspect toothpaste all with a high probability of China being the source.
If this is linked back to China, it will be another example of how China has failed as a trading partner. If your vendor does not supply you with quality products, you do what any free market company does, you find another vendor to supply you with quality products. If you are in the business of supplying quality healthy products, and this case proves to be linked to China again, you have no excuse not to look. In fact as a shareholder, I would consider it poor executive decision making to continue to use Chinese ingredient vendors. The lawsuit payouts for when you get hit will exceed any savings.