My name is Saul! I'm an award winning Word of Mouth Marketer, Professional Speaker on the subjects of Social Media, Customer Service and best of all... Word of Mouth. I collect Air Force One sneakers and think you should hire me... (as a consultant) to teach you how to get your company doing interesting things!
the smartest man in the world.

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Photos from the Drupal Conference in San Francisco, CA 2010

Sunday, Oct 10, 2007

An interesting thing I saw in a book store the other day…..

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As I type this, sitting in the Smartest Man in the World Headquarters, I am surrounded by more then 2000 books (and I have read all except 4 of them). I love to read and book stores give me a weird thrill that for me can only be duplicated by dvd stores….but I digress. I was in a major Canadian book chain the other day and overheard an interesting argument.

At the check out area of this store there was an agitated guy raising his voice demanding a discount on his book since the price of the book was $24.99 us$ or $34.99 can$. His argument was that since the value of the Canadian dollar is at par (or worth a few pennies more then the US buck) then he should be able to purchase the book at the US price or that they should be the same price.

I am not sure if he spoke to the store manager but whoever he did speak to explained that there was nothing he could do and the customer stormed out…..without purchasing anything and at the same time he freaked out some other customers.

This was a HUGE missed opportunity.

Now I am not going to pretend to understand if this manager has the authority to discount anything and she probably handled things exactly as she should have. She was polite and respectful she just didn’t give in to the demand.

The opportunity that is being ignored is a way to inject some personality into this brand by being a little self effacing and saying “Hey we noticed this disparity and we are going to do something about it”. Have a company wide sale or promotion would boost the good feeling of the company as well showing a little humility by recognizing that there is something wrong.

(This post/idea can be co-opted to just about any store or business so when you think about this later don’t get caught up on this just being about book stores.)

Companies need personality because people connect to people. People like when someone can say “we were wrong” and actually do something about it so by following my little idea is a great example of doing both……….and I would bet $20 that the first to do this would steal a whole wack of market share.

Now some of you are probably saying to yourself “This guy is foshizzle…don’t he know that the cost of them things are determined by when they is bought and the Canuck buck has only been powerful for a short time” (That is how I imagine people who disagree with me sound) and yes I agree that there would probably be some money being left on the table but if you get 20% more business going into the holiday shopping season I am pretty sure you would do OK and continue with new business into the new year.

Trust me….I am The Smartest Man in the World!


  1. I bought a shirt from a large US retail chain last week. When I got home I checked (I should have checked before but eh!) the prices on their US Web site. On average, prices are 35 to 38% lower in the USA stores. I checked the statistics and you have to go back to June 2004 to have that spread between the two currencies.

    I went back to the store. I told them that I will go to Boston in a couple of weeks so I will buy it there. The sale person said she understood my point but that they cannot match the price. But they gladly refunded me. She told me that I was not the first consumers to do that. I think they are missing out on the long run.

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