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#69 Suddenly Jeff Bezos Dropped the Ball—Bigtime!
From:
Denny Hatch -- Marketing Expert Denny Hatch -- Marketing Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia , PA
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

 

Posted by Denny Hatch

Suddenly Jeff Bezos Dropped the Ball—Bigtime!

Over the past 25 years I have spent thousands of dollars with Amazon—for pre-Kindle books, Kindle books as well as other stuff.
     Recently I ordered replacement blades for my trusty old Phillips Norelco 8240XL electric shaver. I have had two or three of these little wonders over the years. They have always given me painless close shaves quickly and efficiently.
     Every six months to a year I have ordered replacement blades from Amazon. In the past I have always been satisfied with Amazon service—good blades delivered within a day or two with free (Amazon vPrime) postage.

Recent Unpleasantness
     This past summer I inserted new blades and discovered the smoothness was not there. The replacements were rough on my face, pulling on individual hairs and failing to give the really close shave I was used to.
     I figured it was my old machine getting used to the new blades and everything would soon smooth out. The discomfort continued for several months. I walked around with perpetual stubble. I toughed it out.

From The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2019
Just like tech companies that have struggled to tackle misinformation on their platforms, Amazon has proven unable or unwilling to effectively police third-party sellers on its site.

Many of the millions of people who shop on Amazon.com see it as if it were an American big-box store, a retailer with goods deemed safe enough for customers.

     In practice, Amazon has increasingly evolved like a flea market. It exercises limited oversight over items listed by millions of third-party sellers, many of them anonymous, many in China, some offering scant information.

     A Wall Street Journal investigation found 4,152 items for sale on Amazon.com Inc.’s site that have been declared unsafe by federal agencies, are deceptively labeled or are banned by federal regulators—items that big-box retailers’ policies would bar from their shelves. Among those items, at least 2,000 listings for toys and medications lacked warnings about health risks to children.
     If Wall Street Journal’s story is accurate, Amazon no longer guarantees the authenticity of is merchandise.

Amazon Is Now Following the Sad-Sack eBay Model
All I want is my Phillips Norelco razor to work like always. I expect to pay full price for Phillips Norelco replacement heads.
      I do not want to get involved with counterfeits, counterfeit claims or “what to do when you open a dispute.” 


     So what the hell did I order? What Amazon sent me were obviously not Phillips Norelco replacement blades.
     I went back on the Amazon site for a closer look and found a shopper’s worst nightmare. I was being offered dozens of different sets of replacement blades.
     In the words of my late colleague, Paul Goldberg:
                       “Confuse ‘em,
                        Ya lose ‘em.”
 
     Being forced to plow though all these Amazon mouse type ads from counterfeiters—many of them no doubt paying Chinese slaves 44¢ an hour for 15-hour days to manufacture cheapsy-weepsy face-pinching sleaze made my blood boil.

A Visit to the Phillips Norelco Website
     Alas, Phillips Norelco sells nothing direct from its homepage. The message:

          Buy this product at:

I absolutely no longer trust Amazon.
     Jeff Bezos—the world’s richest man—has reportedly thrown up his hands and turned his amazin’ Amazon multi-billion dollar treasure over to a bunch of giddy, greedy money-grubbing hustlers who will sell anything from anybody so long as they get a piece of the action.
     For example: here are two randomly selected ads—among dozens on the Amazon website—for my replacement blades:
 
                             
These two ads use illustrations of iconic Phillips Norelco elements—an authentic blue box and the head of a shaver like mine. But there's no guarantee the replacement blades being offered are made by Phillips Norelco.
            
Advice to Bezos: You’re a Damned Fool to Allow
Untrained Underlings to Wreck Your Business!
On this repeat shopping expedition I spent a long, long time on Amazon looking for real, Honest-to-God Phillips Norelco replacement blades.
     Bezos could have closed the sale quickly and easily if…

… He Had Included This Little Ad I Wrote and Designed.



     These set authentic replacement blades apart from all the other junk featured on the Amazon website:
1.    Official The Phillips Norelco logo.
2.    A GUARANTEE these are real Phillips Norelco blades.
3.    My specific shaver number is shown: 8240XL. This ad is talking directly to me.
4.    The product is Personally Guaranteed by Jeff Bezos.

Takeaways to Consider
• Always include a Guarantee of absolute satisfaction for a product or service.

• Benjamin Franklin used direct mail to sell his scientific and academic library in 1744. It was Franklin who created the very first mail order guarantee:
“Those persons who live remote, by sending their orders and money to said B. Franklin, may depend on the same justice as if present.”

• A real person in authority should sign the guarantee and be the company spokesperson.

The Greatest Customer Guarantee—Ever!
Alas, rip-off artists forced the end of Bean’s Guarantee.
A Letter to Our Customers,
Since 1912, our mission has been to sell high-quality products that inspire and enable people to enjoy the outdoors. Our commitment to customer service has earned us your trust and respect, as has our guarantee, which ensures that we stand behind everything we sell.

Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent. Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years. Others seek refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as at yard sales.

Based on these experiences, we have updated our policy. Customers will have one year after purchasing an item to return it, accompanied by proof of purchase. After one year, we will work with our customers to reach a fair solution if a product is defective in any way.
Shawn O. Gorman, Feb. 18, 2018
   L.L.Bean Executive Chairman

• What Was I Thinking??? 
Below is the first ad I wrote and designed for Amazon. It was lousy.

• The first version of my ad had Amazon signing the Guarantee.

• “Two basic tenets of selling are that (1) people buy from other people more happily than from faceless corporations, and that (2) in the marketplace as in theater, there is indeed a factor at work called “the willing suspension of disbelief.
    Who stands behind our pancakes? Aunt Jemima. Our angel food cake? Betty Crocker. Our coffee? Juan Valdez.  Anyone over the age of three knows that it’s all myth. But like Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, the myths are comforting.”
—Bill Jayme, Freelancer

• In the most recent count, Amazon has 647,500 employees. Telling the customer a promise of complete satisfaction is being guaranteed by over a half million men and women—from pickers-‘n’-packers all the way up to copywriters, VPs and executives—is preposterous.

  In a giant corporation, only one person can guarantee satisfaction and take the heat:
     —At Apple: Tim Cook.
     —At Microsoft: Bill Gates.
     —AT J.P. Morgan/Chase: Jamie Dimon.
     —At Amazon: Jeff Bezos.
     Everybody else in the company is a cipher, a zip, a nobody.

• Use the person's real signature (if it's readable). Don't use a tidy, obviously fake computerized version.


 • "The signature is your salesman's handshake."
    —Malcolm Decker, Entrepreneur, Freelancer


P.S. In researching this post, I stumbled across the Phillips Norelco S9000 Prestige.


      How could I know Amazon was selling the real deal? An American entrepreneur can hire a Chinese company to manufacture a product and chances are they will set up a duplicate production facility across town, manufacture your product and start selling it around the world before you take delivery here in the States.

What’s Amazon Good for?
Okay, I’ll buy Kindle books from Amazon. They cannot be counterfeited. But little else.
     I no longer trust the bastards.
     Peggy and I rented an Enterprise Car Share Kia for a trip to Best Buy for my new shaver. It is a dream!
     I paid considerably more (plus car rental), but I know it’s the real deal!
     In Peggy's immortal words: "Wow! Your face is as soft as a baby's bottom!

###

Word count: 1,315


At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press. He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletter and archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 years he has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.

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Denny Hatch
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dennyhatch@yahoo.com

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