The Marketing Bureau

Specialist Marketing & Communications Resourecs



Just Another Day of Working. Not.

By Brian H Meredith

From the NZBusiness Magazine"Marketing Maestro" Archive.
First published August 2002

A day in the life of a bunch of shoddy products in my life....


0630hrs                 Black & Decker Steam Iron (6 months old), spouts water from the steam nozzle all over my favourite (Gieves & Hawkes) business shirt, followed by the entire contents of the holding tank departing the iron through a leak in a plastic seal.


0730hrs                 Laptop (Toshiba Satellite Pro 460DT) starts making beeping & whirring sounds. Feels very hot. Doesn’t seem to affect functionality (yet)


0735hrs                 Laptop’s Operating System (Microsoft Windows 95 –yes, know I should have upgraded by now but, then again, why the hell should I – I wanna get off the technology conveyor belt that ends up goodness knows where) locks up, forcing me to re-boot, run scandisk and waste 20 minutes before trying to send & receive email again.


0755hrs                 All sorts of problems with my dial-up connection (Modem – Dick Smith PC Card) so web site update and email send & receive will have to wait.


0830hrs                 Head off to Ford Main Dealer to drop my wife’s Ford KA (3 years old) to see if they can:


-          Find the source of a water leak that has been dousing passengers’ feet since the car was new and was first reported at that time

-          Find the source of an oil leak that has been marking my driveway (plus a few other driveways, car parks and miscellaneous car parking facilities) for several months. This will be the dealer’s third attempt to find the source and they can’t repair it until they do.


1000hrs                 Went to Nelson Hospital for a CT Scan (yes thanks, you wags, they did find a brain) – lying prone on a table, the staff deliver instructions to me via small speakers inside the machine’s “halo” Can’t hear them due to the blocking off of my ears by the device that kept my head in place!?


1200hrs                 Flight to Auckland (Air New Zealand Link – Saab 340) – Reminded that the pilot’s announcements are useless and worthless because they can rarely be heard (combination of poor system and poor microphone habits). Hope I never have to rely on them to save my life.


1400hrs                 Cell phone (Nokia something or other). Been having battery probs for months (In fact, have been having battery probs with every cell phone I have owned). This one drains rapidly (i.e. in less than an hour). Service Centre suggest buying a new battery!


1530hrs                 Corporate Cab driver tries to zap my credit card through his machine – magnetic strip on the card not playing ball (rarely does on those machines). Now, as in 9 cases out of 10, he ends up entering the Card number manually.


2030hrs                 Home in Nelson. Sit in front of TV. Remote not working. Entire family deny dropping it, throwing it, stamping on it or doing anything else to cause its’ demise. Might be a loose battery cover though as it is attached with tape, just like the other three remotes in this household. Every battery cover breaks off shortly after purchase.


2100hrs                 Try email again. Patchy performance. Takes 40 minutes and several reconnections.


2310hrs                 Exhausted – mainly from having to get up from my seat to change channels, adjust volume etc.


                                Head for bedroom – bulb blows as I switch it on, bringing to 6 the number of blown bulbs in this house in the past week (but that’s only 10% of the ridiculous total number of bulbs here, no two of which are the same meaning that we need to devote an entire cupboard (well, almost) to the storage of the wide variety of bulbs required just to keep this family alight!


                                Sounding manic now? You bet I’m manic! Think a few Prozac might be in order before too long!


2320hrs                 Electric Beard Trimmer (Phillips) struggles to get going – trial & error diagnosis reveals that it works fine without any attachments and grinds to a halt as soon as an attachment is slotted in. Only 15 months old but is outside warranty period – guess it’s as disposable as everything else and the only advise that I can expect from a service centre is “buy a new one”


2359hrs                 I’m completely knackered. Partially from a long day but mostly from being thoroughly sick of the abject junk that is being foisted on us by the manufacturers of products from around the world.


                                Built in obsolescence is only a part of the problem. Extraordinary pressure to get products to market is, I suspect, the real culprit. Manufacturers seem quite prepared to sacrifice quality (remember that old fashioned concept) in favour of getting a new product to market.


                                Now, there is a very big story to be told here but this is not the place to do it. However, from here I can send a message to manufacturers:


It sucks guys. Time to do better. Much better. And, if you don’t, you can fire all those dweebs in your Marketing Departments because they are either not doing their jobs (in looking after 25% of the Four Ps – Product) or you are not letting them do their jobs (which is much more likely) in which case you don’t need them anyway.



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