27 July 2014
I am in the process of bringing 3M Corp and Staples to their knees. They have pushed me an inch passed the limit I had set for myself. The petty, craw-sticking annoyance they’ve caused me is like the first microscopic fissure in a Dutch dike…the one that goes undetected until it has spidered out through the massive concrete width that holds back the sea. And by the time they look up from their Four Seasons quinoa salad, salmon and dry Chardonnay lunches, water is pooling around Dutch feet…pardon the metaphor, all you friendly Dutch…but a well-worn allusion is sometimes better than breaking new descriptive ground.
The annoyance, that grinds me down, my billion-dollar corporate friends, is the price of tape. Tape, last time I looked, was not waterfront property. Prices rise because nature is not making any more real estate with water views. But tape…you can turn the machine on in the morning and at the end of the day, you’ve got tape galore and keep the price of tape steady. But 3M must turn off the machine, before it’s rolled tape galore, making just enough tape to keep prices high. No tape glut for them, Well, it seems there might have been a wink-wink of collusion between the two. For the both of them, 3M and Staples, have set a high price for this basic commodity. 3M in its friendly, penny-wise plaid box, has an avuncular, diverting clasp on your shoulder, while its subaltern picks your pocket.
I’m sure the conversation between the two corps was innocent enough to avoid raised NSA eyebrows…It seems all our competition has melted away, 3M might have said innocently. Just you and us. And we don’t mind, if your price for tape is 10% less than ours. You compete on price, we’ll compete on brand image. OK? Here’s our new price list with a few price increases. And what used to be six bucks for a five-roll pack is now twelve bucks.
But here’s how I make ’em pay…being the first spreading spider vein in their corporate feet. I have found a way to scrimp on my tape usage by about 90%. It wouldn’t have occurred to me, but like moonshiners during Prohibition, they forced me to do it. And even if they reduce prices now, I’m sticking to my scrimping. Now I’ll have tape for a year, instead of a month. Of course, they’ll probably figure a way to make tape lose its stick after a month, but that’s a conspiracy for another day.