Omdahl: Giving consumers a ride they enjoy
“I say, folks, I am sure glad to be included in this Consumer Protection Institute. But how did you come up with that great name?”
“Just copied the interest groups. They always have a fabricated title that suggests they’re all for the public good when they are really planning something else.”
“Well, I thought it would be helpful for us to share some of our best ideas for improving profits by packaging our products to separate those indiscreet consumers from their money. Who wants to be first?”
“I’ll take it. In my company, I came up with the idea to increase the size of the core for toilet rolls and hide it by using thinner paper.”“Did your toilet paper division increase profits?”“No, but it had an unexpected consequence. The toilet paper division lost money but we made it up in the soap division.”“Our company is big in packaging popping corn. We decreased the size of the containers and the price but we decreased the size more than the price and captured a real windfall. I got a free trip to Jamaica for that one and the consumers never calculated their loss.”“In our coffee company, our bottom line was stagnant so we redesigned the container — molded handles on it. That displaced two ounces of coffee for the same price — adding $14 million to our quarterly profits. The customers were so tickled by the handles they didn’t even miss the two ounces.”“Our pharmaceutical company has been selling bottles of 500 aspirin for 100 years. So I suggested to management that we reduce this to 490. It made sense. Nobody sits around and recounts the aspirin. For that suggestion, I was awarded 550 shares of aspirin stock.”“No doubt you already heard that our competitors in the potato chip business cut their bags by two ounces and increased revenue by $50 million. Well, we’re not that big, but our kitchen came up with a curlier chip that takes up more space, enabling us to advertise bigger bags for less.”“You all know that it was us who broke new ground by removing the prepaid postage imprint on envelopes. Now everybody does it. People are paying the postage and all of us are saving millions.”“It helps us to be a giant in the retail world. We just tell our suppliers that we want our own model numbers on products so that customers can’t compare our prices with those of our competitors.”“I’ve got to tell you that those of us in the clothing business have beat all. We cut two inches off the waist on men’s pants and called it a new style. The consumers bought it even though their cleavages hang out every time they squat.”“In the garden tool industry, we cut two inches off the handles of our rakes, hoes and shovels and the customers didn’t even notice — saved 238 tons of prime ash wood, picking up $2,875,000.”“We’re in small hardware and we tell our suppliers to print a suggested retail price that gives us a hefty profit even though we mark stuff down 50 and 60 percent. Folks think they are stealing our stuff every time they shop. The general merchandise stores are doing the same thing. Bargains abound and consumers are as happy as clams.”“These are great ideas. I am proud of the good we are doing America when we keep those consumers spending and profits rolling in.”
Omdahl is former North Dakota lieutenant governor and retired University of North Dakota political science teacher. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.