So we sell several levels of furniture. From $1200 hand-made Amish nightstands to $69 particle board nightstands (which I still think are overpriced).
Now, when a customer buys the $69 nightstand, even though its cheap, they can expect to get it without a mar in the surface. I understand that. Sure, the “paint” is pretty much just a black, paper, sticker that scratches when you breathe on it, and its shipped with nothing but a butcher paper hat for packaging (no exaggeration), and the entire thing is made of particle board butt-joined and stapled, but they bought a new piece so they expect it to look new, not warmed over.
So we in the warehouse and service department are the last line of defense before these items (expensive and cheap) leave the store. We treat them all the same, trying to make them look new. We bill the hours we put in making that happen to the manufacturer. Most pay up. But a few fight every penny.
They get upset when a $69 nightstand requires $20 in man-hours to make it look good enough to deliver. They don’t want to pay for the work done. They say we should have just sent another one, and sold this one out of clearance. Top-level management says the same thing.
What they don’t realize, is that we did get another one. And another, and another. We had 4 in stock. All 4 had damage. We picked the best one and it still took this much work.
If we had simply sent all 4 to clearance and called the customer and told them they would have to wait, odds are good we’d lose the sale, and possibly a customer. I say odds are good, because the many times I’ve done that, we’ve lost the sale and possibly the customer.
Also, if we treated all the “promotional” level product this way I estimate we’d fill the clearance department in about 3 weeks. That’s assuming it started out empty, which it isn’t.
I understand its a cheap piece of furniture that didn’t cost much to make. I understand the customer needs to be told its a cheap piece of furniture. I understand proper expectations and all of that. That still doesn’t change the fact that they bought new, and they don’t expect or want damaged. I also understand that.