There is this game floating out in there in our universe that people play occasionally. It circuits through my neighborhood every few years it seems. You may have heard of it. You may have even played it. It's that game without a catchy name but everyone seems to groan when they hear this:
"You tell two truths and one falsehood. We guess which is fake." Or is it "You tell two lies and one truth. We guess which is the truth?"
Remember that one? Played it? What were your truths or lies? Sometimes shopping for a good deal or a wonderful product is a bit too much like that game. I spend hours pouring over labels, product information, MSDS sheets, and more to make sure that I do not offer anything that is less than what the company promised it coulda, woulda, shoulda done. I care too much about my customers, my family, my friends, and my business reputation to err on the side of a "sounds too good to be true" character. It can be certainly tricky to distinguish a company trying to get my money versus the company that legitimately claims their product can do what it really does do well. So how do I pick a product and post it on my electronic shelf for your purchase or for use in my home?
First, I get to know the company on paper. I read, read, read then read some more.
Second, I call their contact person(s) and talk with them, ask them a bajillion questions then promise them that I just may have more later. And that right there is a big deal: The products I offer come from companies that are first-rate in customer service and ALWAYS want me to ask even more questions without a trace of hesitation. CJ, David, Mitchell, or Matt from Nature's Fusion and The Soap Factory are always helpful and answer my questions. When I talk with them I can tell they love their essential oils but more than that, they KNOW essential oil from the scent down to the chemistry. If you are ever in Provo looking for something cool and exceptionally fun to do, stop in at The Soap Factory and custom create your own designer soap.
Lindsay from Piggy Paint is always full of Southern Hospitality. I wonder if I have yet bugged her with the next phone call but she is charming and ever helpful to me. I seriously doubt that that is special treatment. Marc, Katherine, and Lindsay communicate with me in such a helpful and timely manner and are wonderful genuine people running a fantastic business.
Jessica is my go-to for Republic of Tea. I email my order, she shoots me a phone call to double check my order, then gets it to me ASAP with such an air of competency. I am pretty sure she can get me just about anything I ask in less time than I ever expected her to. And the check out clerks, bless them, are never the lucky ones when I bring case after case to their stand but they never complain. They just page another clerk or two and get me in and out as fast as they can.
Lastly, I get to know the companies over time as I order, reorder (or not), and problem solve with them. While I listed a few exceptional business men and women from exceptional companies, the list was definitely not comprehensive. And I am sure I have under-simplified the process of how I refuse to play a game when I am merchandising Buttonhook's LLC with fine, high quality products from companies that pride themselves on standards of pure ingredients, non-toxic to anyone, and their desire to offer goods that are environmentally friendly.
And that, my friends, is the biggest game of them all: The Product Game. You and I get to find those companies and brands we love that never compromise their standards for the love of money. You and I get to find those companies and brands we love that never have intended to hide behind false claims. Sometimes those catchy slogans are simply outright lies.
I ask you this final question: What brands, companies, and/or products have you found and fallen in love with because they stayed true to themselves? Let's help each other find something good in the shopping world today. Ready, set, GO!