Looney Labs Rabbits Mailing list Archive

Re: [Rabbits] *sigh*

  • From"Rev. Bob" <bob@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateFri, 06 Jul 2007 18:42:41 +0100
As someone who works with a large online retailer (not Toys R Us, but a
name you'd recognize), I wanted to respond to part of this as the Voice
Of Experience:

David Artman <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Yep, me, too. Now I get to figure out if/when they're going to
> remove the hold on my card.

They don't; that's handled entirely on your credit card company's end,
and usually clears in a couple of business days.

> I call "corporate scum" on this BS. There is NO excuse for a
> company the size of Toys R Us to have a warehouse management and
> fulfillment system that's unaware of stock levels,

Actually, the larger the company gets, the harder it is to maintain an
accurate picture of stock levels at all, let alone in real-time.  The
company I work with updates their numbers about three times a day.

> or an online system that shows unavailable items in a product
> search.

I agree that there ought to be a way to filter those out or at least
push 'em to the end of the search, and I was also frustrated by the fact
that you had to click on the item to see whether it was available,
rather than there being some indicator on the search page.

> The possible excuse that "well, they MIGHT be at a store in your
> area" is a very thin one, in my opinion (and if that's the notion,
> then why not let me specify my Zip Code so that I am only shown
> things that are AT LEAST available in a local store, if not also
> online?!?).

There are a couple of difficulties here:

1. Typically, the website and retail divisions are entirely separate, in
terms of product and inventory.
2. Every location's product selection is a little different - and how
many stores does TRU have again?
3. Even if we wave a magic wand and make the website aware of every
location's unique product selection, that only says what is carried -
not what's in stock.  Unless the store is going to Phone Home after
every single purchase, you won't have a live inventory system.
4. Even if the store *does* report every purchase at the time of
purchase, there's still the issue of "shrinkage" - aka theft - meaning
that the live inventory system still won't be accurate.

Translation: It's not as easy as you make it sound.

> It is tantamount to false advertising,

No, it isn't.  They put certain items on sale.  That sale was attractive
and resulted in lots of people buying the items, to the point that the
merchandise sold out.  As soon as they became aware of that, they
notified you and marked the item as unavailable on the site.  I tried
ordering some of these as soon as I saw the notice, but EAC showed as

> This is a classic bait and switch ta ctic that should have been
> illegal (as false advertising) since snake oil and automobile
> undercoating was "invented."

Wrong, wrong, wrong.  They had merchandise.  They put it on sale to get
rid of it.  They sold out.  When they discovered that they didn't have
quite as many as they thought they did, they removed the items from the
orders they were unable to fill.  No bait and switch, nothing illegal -
you're just upset because they ran out before they could fill your
order.  I hate it for you, but sometimes this happens.

> If *I* were a product producer, this would at least prompt me to
> contact their purchasing director and ask what reparations they
> have planned--guaranteeing the price when restocked is a good
> start. Depending upon my core target demographic, company
> philosophy, and availability of other distribution channels, this
> shoddy behavior might prompt me to pull my products from their
> store completely and irrevocably.

Translation: "Toys R Us sold all their EAC before I could get mine, so I
want Looney Labs not to sell TRU any more stuff!"  Why should Looney
Labs cut *their* throats like that over an honest inventory discrepancy?
 Also, consider the possibility that EAC may not have been selling as
quickly as TRU expected, so TRU slashed the price to blow out their
remaining stock....

> But I AM a consumer; and Toys R Us just made The S**t List--I vote
> with my dollars, and they just lost all future sales from me or
> from anyone who will hear me describe this situation and agrees
> with me. There's a LOT of great, responsible, even eco-friendly
> companies that sell toys and games and clothes and vehicles and....

...and you're overreacting, big time.  The truth of the matter is, every
company occasionally has inventory issues, and therefore every company
that takes orders will eventually take orders that can't get filled
because of bad inventory numbers.  The bigger the company is, the bigger
the warehouse is (or warehouses are), and the larger the number of
orders is, so the more likely this is to happen.

It's a tough break, sure - but characterizing it as dishonest is simply
untrue and possibly slanderous.

Robert Hood - Hixson, TN
SJG MIB #8595 - Looney Labs Rabbit - Atlas Games Mook

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