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Friday, July 11, 2008

Local Pharmacy Shoots Itself In The Foot

Small businesses and some larger ones, bitch constantly about how the big box store or the Internet is robbing them of business. They complain that it is unfair that big box stores buy in volume and get a better price than they get. They complain that the Internet reseller doesn’t have overhead, or taxes or employees or something that makes them more competitive. Bitch, bitch and more bitching and then they drive business to the Internet in droves.

My 93 year old Mom is on a walker. It used to have two larger wheels in front and two smaller wheels in the back on springs, supposedly so her weight would depress the wheels and keep her from speeding off into the night. One of the rear, spring loaded wheels broke off. It really didn’t impact the performance of her rig but if you have a Mom around, you know that didn’t make any difference. It was broken and she was going to fall, again. Since the wheel broke off on our way into our favorite breakfast joint, we were already out and about. Getting her moving is another whole story. There is a locally owned pharmacy that carries wheel chairs, walkers etc. right around the corner. So we went over to buy a new wheel. No new wheels, they stopped making them since they always broke. Instead they have skid or skis that replace the wheels. I bought two small plastic skids for $30.00. I put them on in the parking lot and Mom was happy. (happier)

When I got home, I jumped on the net and discovered the same skids, same brand for sale at myriad web sites from $11.95 to $14.95. Some had free shipping and some didn’t but the overall impact was my local pharmacy hosed me. I spent most of my life in some sort of profit making business and the quickest way to drive customers away is to grossly overcharge them. If you are a small independent you can charge more but you can’t go the route of obscene profits unless you are an oil company or insurance company.

My small local pharmacy made a good margin on my Mom’s skids. Of course they have lost my business and my extended families business as a result. I am sure they will blame it on the unfairness of the Internet.

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