I’ve seen it often over my nearly 60 years of observation. A product fills a need and gets popular and profitable. The company gets rich, but has visions of getting even richer. They start “new and improving” the product, each time finding a way to make the process cheaper, or to leave out a part or ingredient entirely. Eventually, this affects the usefulness of the product and people start buying it less, or move to competing products. Faced with declining sales, the company finds ways to make the product even cheaper, often by sending the work overseas. Eventually, the product becomes so poorly made as to be worthless, and the company goes out of business. This happens quite frequently when the second generation takes over a family-owned company. They didn’t work and sacrifice to create the company, and often don’t have the pride of name and quality like the founder.
I’ve noticed the same downward spiral with restaurants. They offer a good menu, fair prices and good service. The public responds by flocking to the establishment and spending their money. However, the owners or stockholders get greedy and want more, more, more profit. First, they try to get by with fewer wait staff and less skilled cooks. Soon the food quality suffers. I’ve seen quality get so bad that my dog wouldn’t eat the stuff! Then, they close their doors.
I’ve seen this with cereal brands, clothing companies, cleaning supplies automobiles and other products.
Recently, Grand River, a brand of Chinese-made jeans that I’m forced to buy (due to them being the only ones available in town in my size), has decided to save money by putting less fabric in their jeans. The way they did this was to keep the waist size the same, but skimp on the butt and thigh areas of the pants. Now, I realize that there are butt-less wonders out there that have a spare tire, but no backside to match. I’m not one of them. If their trick continues, I’ll soon be buying my jeans online from a place where one of my coworkers shops. If the big-butted guys like me outnumber butt-less wonders, Grand River may soon find itself a brand of the past.
A couple days ago, my wife set a “new and improved” bottle of Dial liquid soap on the bathroom counter. The first squirt went nearly across the counter. It was like WATER! If the next bottle is like that, it will be our last.
It seems too many companies just can’t make enough money. I always remember John D. Rockefeller’s answer when asked how much money it takes to make a man happy. “More,” was his reply. © 2015