One of the truisms of office life is that after a while, someone dealing with a catalog or office supply chain will go to that one chain for all their needs. For some things where the market is competitive, this makes sense. On the other hand, it behooves a marketer to pad their bottom line by offering more and more things, many of which are in the catalog priced at levels nowhere near where common sense would dictate.

Example:
Single torchiere lamp, with 55-watt 2000-lumen bulb. Expected life of bulb: 6-9 months. Cost of bulb: $50. Cost of lamp: $125. Supplier: Shoshona Office Supply Office Supply.

Two torchiere lamps, each with a single 20-watt, 1300-lumen bulb. Expected life of bulbs: 4+ years. Cost of bulbs: $5 each (total $10). Cost of lamps: $30 each ($60 total). Supplier: Nördske Furniture.

What’s the difference? Shoshona Office Supply doesn’t expect to sell this stuff. Indeed, I’d be surprised if they ship it that often. Nördske, on the other hand, sells and ships this stuff on a daily basis and competes with other stores in the area that do the same.

There is one other difference. I’ve had Nördske deliver furniture to me, as well as shipping it from their stores. They pack everything heavily, and I’ve only had one thing I ever had to return. Meanwhile, the first thing I ever ordered from Shoshona Office Supply – 5-shelf heavy duty unit – came packed with nothing to protect it but the cardboard in the box itself, 3 of the 5 shelves busted in transit.

[Addendum]: The “replacement” from Shoshona arrived today. It’s missing two of the endpieces, so only three of the 5 shelves can actually be set up.


Category: Market

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