Emergency Unpreparedness

Just left this comment on Mr. Christian's latest post:

Mr. C,

Lately, I'm convinced that a seeming majority of folks in this province are indeed under-intelligenced.

At work, we've been inundated, deluged even, with calls from people who are in a mad panic for water suction and discharge hoses - and who get mad when we tell them we're sold out (a season's worth sold out in four hours, to better prepared people) and won't be getting any in for a couple of days.

When asked why they waited so long to buy if they're in such dire straits, most said "Because we didn't know the flood would be that bad, and didn't want to spend the money if we didn't need to!"


I will take back the comment that "the seeming majority of folks in this province are indeed under-intelligenced". It was said out of frustration, the sheer amount of people showing up at my counter today who are this unprepared for a flood that's been in the news for the last several months is nothing short of astounding.

Painting everyone with the same brush however does a great disservice to those truly affected by the flood (as well as the vast majority of folks had the sense to plan ahead), and for that I apologize.

Apart from that, I'll be expanding upon the "Emergency Unpreparedness" situation as the day progresses... we're busier than Hell here today... I've only been trying to eat my lunch for the past 2-1/2 hours ;)

EDIT 04/15/09:

It's now Wednesday, a day later. I've had a bit of time to reflect on yesterday's workday.

It was hectic, frantic even, but the situation wasn't unique to our shop. Over the course of the day, I had the opportunity to "talk shop" with some of our regular customers (and competitors - the hose & fitting business in Winnipeg can only be described as "incestuous"), and they all said the same thing:

"People have to plan better"

The vast majority of our customers are agricultural dealers, construction firms, equipment rental shops, Princess Autos, and mechanical/service centers, with a few big farms and a number of Hutterite colonies thrown in for good measure. These customers, our "bread and butter", are not the problem. Most have been in the business for years and have seen the trends, seen the cycles, and know when to have stock (and how much stock to carry).

But all the planning in the world will not save you from the average consumer.

Yes, this is Winnipeg, aka Wholesale City, where "it's always better, cheaper, and faster at the place up the street".

We share a good rapport with a number of our competitors, as we're all in the same general vicinity. Each of us will send the others our "cast-offs" whenever we're out of stock on an item (or if the customer is after something we don't carry), and we're all familiar with each other's product lines (and thus each others' pricing).

Of course, this fact seems to escape most of our casual customers, some of whom will try to chisel us on the price of our products. I can't count the number of times someone will say "Really? Your competitor up the street is selling the same hose for twenty bucks cheaper!", which typically results in a call to the competitor who typically says "Yeah, they said you had it twenty bucks cheaper!", and we share a good laugh. What synchronicity!

It'd be especially fun to do this on speakerphone, with the customer standing there... more fun if we initiated a conference call to several competitors... but that's conducive to repeat business.

But our incestuous price-fixing collusion is a story for another time (There Is No Cabal!). Where was I? Oh yeah, the flood...

(to be continued throughout the day)


  1. CJ,

    Believe what you are experiencing today with your customers is rooted in fast food.

    You see, in our fast food culture one does not have to prepare the ground for seed, feed the cow, or plan for the paucity of foodstuffs before the promised bounty of the harvest. All one has to do is pull up to a drive-thru, speak into a microphone and ... VOILA food! Needs are met in seconds!

    This of course only perpetuates the sad syndrome: Why-Heno-Actus-Til...Ticktick-Help-Egad... Forgetus-Until-Crapius-Kaos... Eventually-Hits. Better known as "What-the-Fuck, Eh?" Syndrome.

    I believe that is what you are experiencing today, sad Cranial-fartitus is so rife in our society - I feel sorry for you.


  2. I guess tech of all types makes us lazy !

    But when it comes to half meter thick ice floes or fighting a fire etc. mother nature gets her way - no matter how tech savvy we like to think we are.

  3. The feelings about customers I really can relate to as it is the same for us . You tell them sold out they ask if you can get them from the other store and it is sold out . Then they are willing to get it airlifted in . Why do not they just keep the one from last year in the garage . No they brought it back and said it leaked .


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