Twas The Day AFTER Christmas, and all though the stores . . .
Just about every industry out there plays the return-game gamble, where they advertise returns on products as a part of the sales process.
Not your size? Not your color? Just not want it anymore? Give it back. And they’ll give you your money back.
The gamble is, of course, that they’ll move more product to people on the edge of a purchase that they wouldn’t sell otherwise, to make up for any products that might come back. And, of course, it’s a confidence game . . . the manufacturers are confident enough in their product that when the consumer gets it home, they won’t be able to live without it.
And this is a gamble that pays off.
Broadway doesn’t participate in the returns anytime-anywhere (with or without a gift receipt). In our defense, most perishable industries don’t. Airlines, restaurants, sporting events . . . once you buy, that’s it . . . “no refunds/exchanges.”
There have been some experiments here or there with “guarantees” and “returns” over the years. Jersey Boys offered a winter weather guarantee to let suburbans known that if snow prevented them from getting into the city, their tickets could be used for another night without penalty. I even offered a money back guarantee on Altar Boyz years ago, when we were experiencing title-resistance problems.
But I can’t help but wonder if an industry wide public program is in our future.
Could Broadway ever be confident enough to offer to give anyone their money back who buys a ticket and then changes their mind? Would shows that get bad reviews see a storm of refund requests the day when the notices come out? Or would more folks take a gamble on a ticket as a gift, knowing there was flexibility?
I don’t think we’re ready for refunds just yet. But, like we’ve taken a cue from the airline industry in other matters (premium seating, variable pricing), I think it’s time we offer changes . . . subject to a fee. Or maybe charge more for a ticket that can be refundable?
Modern business requires us to be more customer friendly than ever before. And if we don’t become more flexible with how we allow our customers to purchase our products, they’ll chose other products that are.
Oh, and 10 bucks to anyone that comes up with a great rhyme for “stores” to finish up my bad attempt at a punny poem.
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