“WE CAME VERY CLOSE TO LOOKING BAD . . .”
Mr. X, an advertiser in SURPLUS RECORD, is an old friend. Our experience with him, both personal and business, dates back twenty years or more. The other day he wrote us a letter which turned out to be a sequel to our “Statement of Policy” published on this page last month.
In his letter Mr. X told us that he had shipped a 250 HP motor to another dealer in electrical equipment in the South. He knew his customer I would be satisfied with the motor, but he was pleased to receive from him the following unsolicited statement after the shipment went forward:
“I never did thank you for the efficient manner in which you handled the 250 HP motor we purchased from you. The motor was in good shape electrically and mechanically . . .”
But our friend was disturbed by what followed in the letter:
“I don’t mean to suggest that business ethics are at a low above the Mason-Dixon, but believe me after several experiences with firms in three of your principal cities, we were ready to give up doing business out of sight. And, I don’t mind saying I was apprehensive about the 250 HP motor. It is nice to know of a firm that will do what they say they will do, and live by the old do unto others’ adage.”
Sure, our friend was glad to know that his firm was well thought of, but he was alarmed at the thought that some of his fellow businessmen had given his industry as a whole a bad name. His comment, “We came very close to looking bad without having been given a chance to look good,” was right down the line of our November remarks.
The handicap of looking bad before being given a chance to look good, has been placed on the entire industry by the few “hit-and-run” operators we mentioned last month. It is a handicap that the conscientious dealers and rebuilders of machinery and electrical equipment have to overcome.
During the past twenty-five years, the business of buying and selling used equipment has come up a long way, but there still is room for improvement. Industry organizations have contributed to this upgrading, but they have not gone far enough. Constant vigilance on the part of other dealers in the industry, on the part of the associations in the industry, and on the part of SURPLUS RECORD as representative-in-print of the industry, is necessary.
But all three of us must use a firmer hand than we have used in dealing with the malefactors.