Alan Schaffer

by Alan Schaffer My mother told me that I should be a doctor. I rebelled, and I sold stereos in the late '70s after I graduated from college. After all, what does she know? Retail seemed like an easy way to make some fast money for a reasonably intelligent, ambitious person. The thing I found most frustrating about the retail environment, probably because of the diverse amount of people you have to deal with, are "the rules." I put them into words about 10 years ago, and they seem universal to all retail applications. Essentially, there are three major rules in the procedures,

Over the past several years, companies are putting emphasis on placing MBA's in their marketing departments. Often times they are inexperienced in retailing. The companies convince them they have developed the next "light bulb," as opposed to the cure for the unknown disease. I can recall many of these, and the most memorable are the video disk, the digital compact cassette or the virtual reality glasses. Freshly brainwashed and eager to succeed, the MBA now "marketing guy" is transformed into the role of "pitchman." The one-two punch of the MBA degree and the aura of being the "ivory tower marketing guy" are intended to dazzle the

The Consumer Electronics Industry is always on the cutting edge of technology. We don't have a $399 super capacity washer where only the letter at the end of the model number changes every year. Instead, we always have new and emerging items constantly evolving from this technology. Always trying to "one up" the other, the manufacturers throw "the latest and greatest" things at the retailer who in turn throws them at the consumer. Some stick and some don't. As merchants, the looming threat that the competition will have the new models first forces us to offer them also. As an industry, we continue to lessen our credibility

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