Nov 18, 2006

The good, the bad and the ugly...

Okay, this post is mainly for "the trade" part of the industry. Let's talk... The Cricut by Provo Craft is $179 at my local Walmart. I'm a big girl, Walmart doesn't scare me with the scrapbook stuff. However, the companies who supply Walmart DO...

We should reward GOOD companies who at least PRETEND to care about small retailers and PUNISH the ones who pull the "bait and switch" with small retailers. I don't care that you intend to peddle your "doo-hickey" on QVC or in Walmart, but don't LIE to me about it at a trade show and tell me that "we support independents" just to get me to buy 10 of your "doo-hickeys". Tell me the truth - that you intend to move as many of these units as possible through whatever channels you can get your hands on and, oh, btw, they will show up in the large mega chains or on QVC the day you get home from the trade show. Then I can get up and walk away and spend my money somewhere else and you can live happily ever after at Wallyworld and we'll all be happy.

For instance, Carolee's Creations ROCKS for retailers! They are putting out a monthly "idea booklet"/catalog that is BRILLIANT! I can order a bunch and give them to my customers. It's a small booklet with all sorts of ideas on how to use Carolee's Creations products with the products listed in the booklet. The one for November had Christmas Gift ideas - making labels and wraps for things like Banana Nut Bread or jars of jam. The idea is that it will create demand for Carolee's Creations products and the retailer can offer fresh ideas to customers. Such a smart move and a show of support for retailers. A small retailer could never afford to put something like that together each month.

Then, there's Provo Craft. They get my Raspberry (you know, PFFFPPPPPPTTTTTT) Award for basically saying, "to heck with all you little stores!". They have now allowed Walmart to sell the Cricut for as low as $179. Guess what my "wholesale" price is? $180!!!! Fine, whatever. But, before it landed in Walmart, I had to practically raise my right hand and pledge to NOT sell the thing below the holy Michael's price of $249. HUH?! Do I have STUPID written on my forehead?? Suddenly, I get a phone call telling me that now I CAN sell it for less than $249, I just can't TELL ANYONE I'm selling it for less than that "holy" price. Again, HUH?! I just looked in the mirror and "STUPID" still isn't on my forehead. That's just IDIOTIC! So, we're PRETENDING to sell it for $249, but NO ONE is selling it for $249. It makes my head hurt to think about it. But, then, very few of their policies make sense to me. Their definition of a "retailer" is a joke at ScrapBiz. Apparently, a woman with large storage building on her property for her online store is NOT worthy of an account, but a woman who rents a 6x6 storage unit to store a FEW things for her online store IS apparently "worthy" of a PC account. No exceptions...

Like I said, fine, whatever. However, when the Cricut debuted at a trade show a year ago, all these retailers were lined up like crazy to try the Cricut and order it. Well, those first orders took MONTHS to come in and, meanwhile, Michaels got them and was selling them. Now, those poor retailers are going to have to sell them for about what they paid for them and hope they break even.

So, my suggestion is that retailers reward those vendors who act interested in supporting you as an independent and completely ignore those that are more interested in stabbing you in the back (you know WHO those vendors are - they're habitually doing stuff like this - if you don't know, join ScrapBiz and ask us, we'll be GLAD to fill you in. We talk about vendors a lot). If customers are begging for products that never seem to appear, then tell your customers that you have cancelled the order because the vendor is unreliable and prevents you from providing good customer service to YOUR customers. Eventually, consumers will start to learn the truth - that stores are NOT the problem in this industry when it comes to products that never seem to arrive. We are ordering stuff but it either comes months later OR the vendor plays pricing games with us. Kudos to vendors who care about the local stores! Thank you for being so good to us (you vendors know who you are!) and PFFFFTTTTTTT to vendors who can't seem to deliver a product to save their lives or are not upfront about their intentions (I believe those vendors ALSO know who they are...).


Anonymous said...

you go girl! I am a retailer who is severly dissapointed in provocraft and i am planning on FLOODING their inboxes with just how unhappy i am!

Thanks for saying something!


AimeeInOhio said...


I've been thinking about this whole Cricut thing and it really bugs me.

I have a Wizard from Spellbinders and I adore my little purple guy (his name is Munchie, btw), HOWEVER just in the last couple of months have decided to sell my alpha dies and get an electronic cutter. It's better $$ wise, since I can get different sizes of the fonts and the fonts are cheaper. I am not cutting letters out of chipboard with dies like Sizzlets anyway.

I went to my LSS and she does not carry the Cricut. She carries the Xyron PCS. Now I didn't take it to mean anything other than HER preferance of machine (she won't carry the Wizard which I think is crazy), but have had the XPCS demo'd for me and got to play with it a time or two. It seems so darn simple and easy to use/tote to crops.

A LSS a few towns away carries the Cricut. And I know 3 people that own it as well. I have had it demo'd for me by everyone and I have to tell you, NO ONE has gotten it right. Tearing paper,etc. It worries me. yes I know it can do more, yes I know it will eventually be able to be used in your computer, etc,etc. But all I wanna do is cut me some letters, LOL. And in all honesty and I going to use paper letters larger than 4"? Not likely.

I am really irritated and bummed at PC for the way they've handled this Cricut mess. And I wonder how the LSS a few towns over is handling it, as well. She is a new store and I know how hard the first year can be. I don't buy much PC stuff anyhow, but boy this situation REALLY makes me want to be sure not to buy any of their stuff.

Georgana Hall said...

Thanks for recognizing our efforts! We hope to keep this industry alive by supporting our independant stores - that's why we've been in business for 10 years!
Georgana Hall
President, Adornit - Carolee's Creations