The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Companies Shouldn’t Be Making Money At Consumers’ Expense

On April 8th, 2013, posted in: Uncategorized by

Oh boy, the folks who make washing machine detergent are really airing some dirty laundry. It seems as though the big dog on the block, Tide, has soiled everybody’s favorite thing to do – make money.

Tide, which is on “new and improved” version #498, has introduced “Tide Pods.” These are pre-measured, perfectly proportioned little capsules of detergent that keep consumers from overdosing. These “unit dose” products fix the amount of detergent used per wash and, in doing so, have curbed the waste perpetrated by me and millions of people like me who grossly overuse the amount of liquid we pour into the washer. You know what I mean.

How efficient have we become? Well, since the advent of the pod, detergent sales are down 5.1% or about $350 million dollars. Plain and simple, we’re spending less on laundry detergent, because more of us are using the pods and not pouring liquid like a fire hydrant on a scorched summer street. Let’s be honest, that giant, oversized laundry jug with the gargantuan cap is an invitation to excessive consumption. You’re like the Big Gulp dispensing machine at 7-Eleven – you fill that bad boy up.

Competition to Proctor & Gamble is screaming “dirty play.” The claim is that this latest round of “new and improved” innovation has hurt the market. It can’t be good if the overall market has shrunk. After all, innovation is supposed to make it better for everybody (that’s French for make more money). Can you say “spilled milk?”

The Credit Union innovates all the time. We try really hard to make things better for people and save them money in the long run. We’re like Tide. Oh well, folks are mad because we gained some market acceptance at the expense of their product offerings. Well, stuff happens. If you’re fussy about our innovation, get on the stick and improve your situation or continue to shrink in share.

We have products that keep people out of payday lenders, check cashers, and title loan companies. Our role in innovation was not to make the industry grow by creating something that allowed everybody to make more money. No, our job was to get people using us more because they saw real value. The more people use us, the better the family, the community, and the region in which we live. Everybody who makes the switch to SLCCU is saving money, and that money is reinvested in the local economy.

See, this spat among detergent icons is a classic example of industry doing what industry does best: make money at your expense. They give you a big jug with a big cap and watch you pour your hard-earned money into making suds – and stay quiet about it for years.

I wonder if the big, national banks would be guilty of anything like this? Or a car company? Or a beverage company? Hmmmmm.

At SLCCU, we’re busy innovating to save you money. That’s all.

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