The Great Merchandising Bugaboo
More than a year ago we made the statement that disposing of war surplus was “the greatest merchandising task of all time,” but maybe we should have called it “the great merchandising bugaboo” because the whole disposal program has been burdened with complicating priorities and red tape—not to speak of the petty politics which have entered the picture.
We find great dissatisfaction among industrialists who have attempted to purchase manufacturing equipment. The inability to get immediate delivery on machines most vital to reconversion has undoubtedly handicapped civilian production. Everyone except the fellow who pays the tax bill and keeps the wheels of industry turning seems to get first crack at available surplus.
While the priority regulations written into the Surplus Property Act might be beneficial to some federal and local government groups, in the aggregate there is only a minimum amount of this manufacturing equipment that they could possibly use.
With respect to the veterans’ priority, this same delay and “freeze” of a vast amount of high production machinery that the returned G. I. cannot afford to buy, puts the principal user of this equipment back another notch. It might be better to sell this machinery quickly to manufacturing plants and thus provide jobs for the veterans.
Rapid liquidation is absolutely necessary, but under the complications of the Surplus Property Act the present method of disposal is going to take years on end and thousands of usable machines will wind up in the scrap pile due to deterioration and the obsolescence factor.