QUALITY ! PRICES ! SERVICE !
In purchasing goods, there are three important things to consider —Quality, Prices, and Service. The first should be High, the second Low, and the third Good —at least that would be an ideal way to have it; but what is ideal is not always practicable. We get so used to seeing advertisements like this Highest Quality , Lowest Prices, Best Service, that it sometimes seems as if it were quite an easy matter to fulfill the requirements called for by such statements, but it isn't.
QUALITY. In nearly all cases, the question of Quality is an important one. People are apt to confound Quality with Grade or Class; we do, ourselves, oftentimes. Let us illustrate with an article outside of our line :
Java coffees are high grade, Maracaibo medium grade, and Rio and Santos low grade, but there are several qualities in each grade; and one must pay 35 to 40 cents per pound for the highest quality Java, while an inferior quality may be bought for 25 cents. If such a thing were possible, we would like to handle nothing but the highest grade goods, but in a general line this is impossible. There must be variety, in accord with customers requirements and their means.
All goods we handle are of the highest quality we can obtain in the various lines. If a medium grade machine, it will be the best machine that we know of, in its class. If a low grade Babbitt metal, it will be the best low grade metal we can obtain. We never, knowingly, misrepresent Grades or Qualities.
The question of Prices is always an important one. Many dealers dispose of this question very easily, by simply making the statement, Our Prices are always the lowest .
It is rather an unpleasant subject to tackle. If— especially after what we have said in the foregoing article about Quality —we should say that our prices are always the lowest, any intelligent person over eight years of age, would suspect, with good reason, that we were lying. On the other hand, if we should say that our Prices were the highest, and people believed us, what sort of an advertisement would that be for us ?
We, therefore, content ourselves by simply stating that, quality considered, we believe our prices will compare favorably with those of other houses.
In all cases, the question of Good Service is a most important one, and we sometimes think it is harder to attain, than either high quality or low- prices. Good Service with us means a great deal; among other things it means careful attention, promptness, and helpfulness.
Our guarantee as to the quality of goods sent out is ample and comprehensive. All articles we sell are, in our judgment, absolutely the best in their respective classes. All of our old customers depend largely upon our judgment, and new customers soon learn to do the same. We have a very well defined idea that when a customer purchases goods he ought to get what he pays for.
THEREFORE —What we mean by warranting goods is this —that if they are not as represented in all particulars, they may be returned to us at OUR EXPENSE, and we will replace them with others, or if desired, will refund the price paid. We must insist, how-ever, upon customers always notifying us before goods are sent back.
WHAT IS A WARRANTY?
The words Warrant and Guarantee are so frequently and so commonly used in business circles, that they have almost —if not quite—l ost their original intent and value. A warrant is in the nature of a personal contract, but in a large majority of ordinary business transactions it is in the form of an unwritten and unsigned contract. This being the case, either side can break the contract without being legally liable. Putting aside the question of legal responsibility, however, it must be con-ceded that the ordinary commercial warrant as usually understood rests on a basis of business integrity, and when the whole matter is boiled down it be-comes a question of honesty, fairness and common sense.
POSITIVE, AFFIRMATIVE, NEGATIVE.
Guarantees may be divided into three classes. For our purpose we will designate these as the Positive, the Affirmative and the Negative Guarantee.
The POSITIVE GUARANTEE MEANS EVERYTHING. We cannot explain it in any better way than by stating that our Guarantee at the beginning of this article is a Positive Guarantee.
The AFFIRMATIVE GUARANTEE MEANS SOMETHING. To explain this we copy the following warranty fromthe catalogue of one of the oldest and best known makers of edge tools It is a form of guarantee quite generally used.
(I) All tools warranted free from flaws and not soft.
(II) When defective and returned to the dealer without expense, within thirty days from date of purchase, we will replace with other goods.
(III) Tools showing evidence of long usage, or injured by misuse, are not covered by this warrant.
The above is a good example of the form of warrant used by tool makers generally. We do not think, however, that this form of guarantee is entirely fair to the user, for the following reasons:
Clause I refers to flaws and softness. A tool that is burnt or is so hard as to make it practically useless is, In our judgment, defective, and the purchaser has a right to expect a new one just as much as if the tool were too soft.
Clause II says, Returned to us without expense. If the maker or dealer sends out faulty tools, we do not think the user should be compelled to pay all the expense of changing. It is burdensome and unfair, and, in our judgment, the maker or dealer should pay at least one-half this expense p e Clause II says again that tools should be returned within thirty days from date of purchase; this is not always practicable.
Clause III we think is all right.
The NEGATIVE GUARANTEE, as the name implies, MEANS NOTHING. Its promises are amp le, its fulfillments nil. In print the Negative Guarantee looks just about as attractive and as honest as the others. It usually accompanies cheap goods at cheap prices, but quite often it will be found in a combination of cheap goods at high prices. People are often fooled into buying goods under this guarantee. There is no need of this if a little common sense is used; a warranted steel hammer at 25 cents, a warranted 100 ft. tape line at 50 cents, a warranted pair of 5 inch plyers at 15 cents, or a warranted 5 horse power engine and boiler at $100.00 cannot be expected to be in any sense first-class goods. And a man who buys anything on these lines deserves to be fooled.