So, I realize I must have tempted fate last week saying everything was so, SO great yada, yada, yada.
This sad tale starts when I went to Shoppers Drug Mart to get some pantyhose. I know the aisle (aisle 1), my size (size never-you-mind), my brand (Secret). I’m in, I’m out of that store in less than 5 minutes. Except, this time, as I approached the location of my pantyhose, I got a feeling of foreboding. It looked different somehow. As I got closer my foreboding was taken over by full on anguish.
All the Secret pantyhose had been removed from the shelf. All that remained was an entire wall of some new brand I’d never heard of called “Allude” which is apparently the new Shoppers Drug Mart house label.
What a dumb name for hosiery.
AND not only THAT, but instead of the usual plastic and cardboard affair that hosiery is usually packaged in, they’ve gone that extra distance and put the cardboard and plastic inside a box. Because that’s what’s popular these days is extra packaging.
But of course they haven’t changed the shelving, just shoved these boxes into what used to contain much thinner envelopes.
So, I’m game. I locate what should be the equivalent of what I usually get both in size and colour. I can’t get the box out of the shelf because it’s wedged in so tightly and won’t bend. So far I’m not impressed with the new direction Shoppers is taking.
The tight wedging motif continued at home.
I put them on. Well, tried to put them on. I now this is a shocker, but they didn’t fit. After wrestling with them for a few minutes I finally get them on although the waistband is sitting about two inches below my waist and my self-esteem has very handily been flushed down the toilet. Then, the seam tears, and a run starts down the leg.
And as Fiddledee might say, I owed the cuss jar a whole lot of money. If we had a cuss jar. What I have is a four and 11/12ths year old that gets a shocked look on his face and says “You just said a bad word.” or in this case “a whole lot of bad words.”
These Allude pantyhose have the texture of wearing cardboard that’s been bent a bunch of times to make it flexible and mold it into a shape.
The only happy part of the experience is that there was a 100% satisfaction guarantee or money back stamped on the extraneous packaging.
And that is just how mad I was, that the next day I stomped back into Shoppers Drug Mart, demanded my money back and gave the poor returns girl an earful about all the things that were wrong with these pantyhose. To her credit, she was very gracious, gave my money back without a fuss and pretended like she really wanted to hear all my griping because “they really need feedback on the new label.”
(Sidebar: It’s official, I’ve become a senior citizen. And not the sweet little old lady who bakes cookies for the lifeguards at the pool because they work so hard. Oh no. I am the senior citizen that demands the newspaper delivery person put the newspaper headline side up, hinge side towards the door, on the middle of the welcome mat in a plastic bag but NOT with a rubber band, and god help that poor person if he treads on my lawn in the process. Old woman, yells at cars. That is how I’ll be known in this town.)
I feel totally justified in raging against a corporation because they’ve decided to get on the house label bandwagon and mess with the way things are, otherwise known as the way I like it. I just hate these stores that can’t just buy off the supply chain, but also have to BE the supply chain. For instance, continuing my hosiery motif, I can no longer find the Balega brand of socks I like (Hidden Comfort) because every store I go into seems to have mainly their own brand of socks with the occasional concession to Nike or Adidas, and their house labels are nothing like the Balega brand I like.
Allude, Western Family, President’s Choice, Expressions, Kirkland, Joe’s, Life. This whole house label thing is rampant. It makes no business sense to me. Why not be known for researching and carrying the highest quality brands or the lowest cost brands or whatever it is you want to be known for? Because when I go into a store and I want some choices and when all you sell is your brand, then I’m going to go do my comparison shopping somewhere else, especially if I’ve had one bad experience with your label.
I also suspect that what’s happening at the other end of the supply chain is that the corporation that wants their own label are grinding the suppliers to provide these items at so close to cost, that the supplier is then forced to cut back on quality lest they go out of business altogether. Hence cardboard tube pantyhose.
And what has Shopper’s Drug Mart gained? They certainly haven’t impressed me with the quality of their label. So, now, in my mind the brand that I associate with Shoppers Drug Mart is cheap and substandard overpackaged product, and when I need that pantyhose plus the oh, while I’m here I’ll pick up these other 5 things I need, I’m going to London Drugs who still carry the Secret brand.
My question is this. Why don’t businesses ask their customers what they would like? I know we don’t always know. For instance, I would never have been able to say I want a vacuum that doesn’t lose suction and has a ball for a front wheel before Dyson came on the market. But I for sure would have been able to tell them I don’t care if you have a house label.
I just figured our why the house label thing bothers me. Because it’s ego. It’s more about the business, than the customer. It makes the strategic thinkers at the top look like they’re doing something. The house label is the business putting on a new suit and strutting and preening like a peacock. Look how good we are. Look at what we made. We have a new look. We’re branding ourselves.
Too bad the emperor is wearing no clothes. Just a pair of cardboard tube pantyhose with runs down the leg and a split seam.