Yesterday I had the repairman over to fix my Maytag and this guy was a Russian immigrant and still appeared mad about the Cold War but he was supposed to be the dishwasher whisperer for Maytag and $200 later, the dishwasher is working fine. Thanks for asking. Apparently, as if we didn’t have enough dishes, we were, for no good reason, washing a bobby pin and it worked its way into the pump. Now, it was never our intent to wash a bobby pin like it was a cereal bowl…just like I never meant to put that bag of carrots into the dryer but things happen that can’t easily be explained. I didn’t notice a problem but Laurie heard, and I quote, “A funny sound.” Looking around the house, I was at a loss to think of anything that didn’t make a funny sound…me included. But that’s not my point. The dishwasher whisperer took the machine apart, extracted the offending bobby pin, put it back together with no new parts, charged me $200 and was gone in 30 minutes. He was in the house for about the lifespan of a flamingo in Crocodile Alley.
What I’m asking is, “When did $200 become the new benchmark for everything? It seems every little plastic part I need for one of my cars, every repair bill, every restaurant check is now $200. Hell, I’m doing handsprings in the parking lot at Costco if my bill is under $200. And living in southern California I have a yard roughly the size of a place mat. Seriously, if I wasn’t so lazy I could cut my grass in 20 minutes using a pair of toenail clippers and I may start doing that because my gardener seems hell-bent on reaching the now-established $200 threshold. Even the homeless guy has changed his sign from “Anything Helps” to “$200 Helps.” I should have gotten a memo so I could have prepared because my wallet can only take so much and my heart even less.
I will be the first to admit I may be taking some of these changes less than gracefully but I do my best and try to keep a lighthearted attitude about it. It’s just that nobody seems to laugh anymore when you say something witty like “I just want to rent you, I don’t want to buy you” or “I just want a decent steak, I’m not adopting a cow.” When I was younger and soft drinks were a dime, I didn’t give a second thought to the fact that they only cost 4 cents to make but now that I’m paying $3-$4 for one at a restaurant…or $200 at Dodger Stadium, it irks me a little.
I have friends who will barter with repairmen or…anyone for that matter but I’m not very good at that. I guess the rule is if they tell me $200 I’m supposed to counter with “Do it for free” and we settle in the middle at $100 but I’m just not convinced that will work. I don’t pretend to understand the mindset of repair people but I’m pretty sure I won’t think less of them if they only charge me $100. I do now always ask if there’s a discount for cash and if there is, it always makes wonder why the price was $200 in the first place. Judging from most of the repairmen I’ve had, they only offer a cash discount because the liquor store won’t cash a 3rd-party check. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get my umbrella out of the microwave.
It’s not really that different in business. Prices rise occasionally but for 2015 IMC has lowered more prices than we’ve raised and we will put your order together professionally and get it to you on time and on budget. You can move through our catalog from category to category and find many products that will accent your client’s event and we’ll get you what you want even if we have some suggestions on how to make it more rewarding. We’ll even send you samples. We want to help you make sense of your client’s request so we offer choices between new products and classic items so they can make presentations memorable. And IMC cares that your order is correct so we keep lots of products around that are suitable for your events but we’ll let you decide what works best for you and jump in to help you with decisions about products and decorations. We are hard at work on the 2015 catalog which will have tons of new items from our collections and existing brands and some brand new retail brands. And if your client has invented a holiday or celebration, we can also custom-make almost anything you can dream to make your client’s event all it can be. Take a look at our YouTube channel to see some videos showcasing popular products for some ideas on how to use them. We take our business relationship seriously and we want you to enjoy, give and receive our products and be able to use them every day. We look forward to working with you and we always have ideas to make our products work for your clients. And all of our new items are visible in the section of our website. The 2014 IMC catalog is also available virtually at Zoomcatalog.com if you’re tired of fighting paper catalogs. It can be viewed nicely with your laptop, iPad, tablet or phone. IMC is the recognized leader in the introduction of new retail brands to the promotional product industry and has multiple design awards from both ASI and PPAI. Since introducing Waterford® Writing Instruments and MoMA years ago, IMC has presented more than 40 retail brands from global suppliers to enhance the selections you can offer your clients. See great ideas and items from Troika, Umbra, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Redwear. We invite you to browse any of our 2,500+ products on the IMC website to see items suitable for any occasion or event and pieces you can use to personalize your relationship with your clients. We have promotional products for every event, show, convention, corporate store and company program that will keep your client looking to you for new ideas. What do you think? Let us know with a comment here or on Facebook or Twitter. IMC wants to know…can you spare $200?