Thursday, May 08, 2014

What's a little extortion among friends?

Specialized recently sent our shop a bunch of bottles as part of their 40th anniversary promotion.  Fortieth, right? So the bottles have reproductions of 20 year old ad slicks. The designs include photos of a rider in US Team garb with Bill Clinton's head pasted in (years before Photoshop), and another rider with Mikhail Gorbachev's head -- complete with birthmark altered to look like a Specialized logo. They were worth no more than a chuckle even then. Now few people even get the reference,  especially from a fuzzy print reduced to fit on a water bottle.

Today I thought of a serious drawback to the Clinton bottle:
Isn't it tempting fate to have a bottle featuring a picture of someone known to have had a notorious bit of trouble containing his fluids?

Maybe if you carry the Gorbachev bottle your bike comes apart. 

The bottles arrived unsolicited and unannounced. Then we got billed for them. We're not allowed to return them. We have to try to unload them at a high enough price to cover the cost we would never have incurred if it had been up to us. 

Extortion. Part of any good long term business relationship. We've been a Specialized dealer since the 1980s. Don't think for a minute that this earns us any respect from the Big S. You're only worth as much as your last order. 

Celebrating your business anniversary by forcing dealers to pay for questionable promotional materials is like telling the people you've invited to your birthday party how much they already spent on the present you bought yourself. 


John said...

Dude!!! you better take this down before the S corporation comes after you. They are very scary and this comes from someone who bikes in suburban traffic. =)

cafiend said...

I'm less than a gnat to any of these companies. If they did come after me, at least I would know they'd read the message. As for the extortion, I'm sure there's some fine print in our dealer agreement in which we consented to shenanigans like this. But who ever reads all that crap?

Steve A said...

Ten dollar collectibles on eBay?

cafiend said...

Wonder how long it would take to unload them all.

Anonymous said...

I wear my Café Roubaix t-shirt whenever I am forced to go to any shop that carries specialized. So far no one seems to have recognized it as representing one of their big PR snafus.

cafiend said...