Fine Gold Jewellers (potential scam)

January 24, 2008

For Christmas & Anniversary (expensive gift!) my girlfriend gave me a ring, white gold, really nice, but a little too big.  Free sizing with purchase, though.  We brought the ring back to the store (Fine Gold Jewelers) for a fitting.  They told me it would be a day or two, or a week!  Pretty definite timing!

A week goes by and I don’t hear anything.  Another week goes by and I still don’t hear anything.  We go into the store (two weeks to the day I dropped it off).  They don’t have it.  Store manager tells me he’ll call Head Office and let me know status the next day.

I get a call on Monday morning.  This particular ring cannot be re-sized, so they have to cast a new one & that’s what was taking so long.  They would have the ring on Tuesday night.  I was busy, so didn’t go until last night.

The Retailer pulls the ring out of the envelope and my immediate (Blink!) reaction was – this is a different ring, smaller.  I tried it on & it didn’t feel the same.  My girlfriend & I find the original ring in the display cabinet.  It’s more lustrous, larger and thicker.

It turns out that they cast a smaller ring – 1mm in width and 1mm in depth.  And…why wasn’t it as lustrous?!  I don’t think it was the same quality metal.

So, I THINK this is the possible scam.  They sell their product at 50% off & offer free fitting.  When they ‘resize’ the item, they ‘shrink’ it down in an attempt to regain some value from their sale price.  Their mistake in this case was trying to do it on someone who has an uncanny ability to recognize size, distance, dimension, etc.

I have to wait another week for another new ring.  We’ll see what happens this time around.

In the mean time, I thought I would do a web search on this particular retailer.  Lo & behold – there is a 2002 ruling by the Competition Tribunal concerning the deceptive marketing practices, which cost the owners $25k in a single fine.  The nice thing about that link (above) is that you can view the original (signed) documents regarding the ruling against Fine Gold Jewellers & The Diamond Co.

Apparently, they have a perpetual 50% off sale, but the original list price is inflated (meaning the retailer does not sell any products for the pre-sale list price).  The regular price is the sale price.  The pre-sale list price was doubled (roughly!).

BEWARE– if you’ve ever purchased anything from this retailer and had it re-sized (or whatever), try to compare it to the original you purchased.  Check the display piece for the product you purchased.  There is a possibility that you did not get what you purchased.

Business & Religion

September 20, 2007

Moral question – what happens when someone’s religion interferes with your business?

For instance, I have a supplier who failed to meet their commitment to deliver to me by a certain time – first it was yesterday afternoon, then by 10am this morning, then by 1pm, then 2:30pm.  I gave them the benefit of the doubt and arrived at 3pm.

The job was still not finished and no one was actually working, most of the staff were busy praying.

I respect people’s choice to believe in something – I don’t care if it’s religion – but if the choice interferes with thier ability to fulfill business commitments, then how understanding should I be?  Not at all, some, a little bit, completely?

 They made to commitment to me.  They blew it because you were busy praying for ‘whatever’, presumably a better ‘metaphysical life’ or ‘afterlife’. 

Ironically, thier non-action in their ‘actual life’ may have a practical cost that will directly influence their material well-being.  I may be less inclined to use this supplier in the future, not because of any religious affiliation, but because their ‘word’ is unreliable.

 Funny someone who is pious enough to pray daily would inspire so little ‘faith’ in their ‘word’ (commitment).

Business and religion do NOT jive, unless you’re in the very profitable business of religion.

And this is what it boils down to – people don’t think they need to BE pious if they are ACTING pious.  Respect thy neighbor, only if thy neighbor is me!

You have to do more than put on a minx coat to be a minx…you know what I mean?!

How would you feel if someone failed to fulfill a commitment because they were busy experimenting with mathematics (or some other hard science unrelated to the business at hand)?

You’d be upset because it’s a waste of your time. 

And science MIGHT actually have something positive in store for humanity, the Universe or something.  I’m not convinced ‘religion’ can make the same positive claim!

Visionless Sight

September 7, 2007

‘Think outside of the box’.  I friggin’ hate that phrase, it’s very much ‘inside the box’.  In this age of technology, the individual has to be well-rounded, so why aren’t we thinking outside the ‘sphere’?  The ‘box’ is so unimaginative in terms of words, even the ‘cube’ is better.

Someone who can’t think outside the ‘sphere’ demanded that someone else think outside the ‘box’.  It’s a simple case of the ‘pot calling the bong sticky’.

Vision is a mental condition where sight is one of the five senses.  The blind CAN lead the blind.  Those who can see don’t always know where they are.

Mattel (sky is falling)

August 16, 2007

So Mattel got caught…end of story.  Mattel is not unlike the sales rep who pads expenses as a means of increasing their salary.  Someone cut corners to increase margin and got pinched.  I suspect Mattel decided not to keep up with inflation when it came to contracts with various suppliers.  They wouldn’t be alone in the corporate drive to make more money. 

Here’s how it works in a nutshell.  Mattel spends a lot of money on paint each year.  So when a paint contract opens up, vendors scramble to jump on the proverbial gravy train.  The competition is stiff and the best vendor doesn’t always win.  The cheapest vendor wins.  Then the squeeze begins.  Mattel wants value for their almighty dollar and the obsequious vendor, wanting to prolong the relationship, gives in.  From here, one of two things will happen – relations either sour or risks are taken to reduce cost (such as putting lead into the paint).  These decisions are a matter of numbers, not humanity.

The dollar is in charge and someone has to pay so the shareholders can earn a few extras.  I can guarantee you it is not the corporation who pays.  It’s the consumer and the subcontractor (vendor/supplier), both paying from their respective ends of the production line.

Nice enough for the Chairman and CEO of Mattel, Bob Eckert, to apologize to the consumer for running a cheap business.  But…

Included in his statement, “I can’t change what is happened in the past, but I can change how we work in the future.”  Whoa!  If he can change ‘how we work in the future’ and has been working at Mattel since 2000, then isn’t this recall a part of his past future?  Meaning – isn’t he directly responsible for the present circumstances as a result of his historic influence on ‘how we work’?

Maybe what he meant to say was, “We won’t get caught again.”  They had to have known something was wrong.  For instance, how did Mattel design and implement better magnet retention so quickly if they didn’t know the existing magnet was faulty?  Things don’t often happen quickly in large corporations, especially things that represent higher costs.

This breach of trust with their consumer will take a long time to mend.  Or maybe all they need to do is launch the next ‘hot toy’ & all will be forgiven (forgotten).  Children don’t really have memories for this sort of event & parents are too busy paying taxes and working for the cheap-ass corporation (in one way or another) at the same time.

In the end, it’s not fair for me to single out Bob Eckert, who probably did not personally know about any of these transgressions.  (So, sorry to Bob for being CEO of the wrong company at the wrong time!)  But he represents and is compensated by a corporation which was aware at some level that something was amiss.  Again, Mattel is not alone in these transgressions.  Scratch beneath the surface of any large company and you will discover corruption and greed.  It’s called ‘good business’.