What if all sales were final?
By Ernest Falkner III
Zillion Dollar Thinking
All sales are final
Why do we ever see these notices anyway? Is it defective merchandise, loss leaders, inventory clearance, going out of business?
What if you are the buyer in this exaggeration? You would have different levels of response based on the cost or value of an item. Getting home with an ill-fitting dress worth $59 is one thing, but driving home a malfunctioning car valued at $33,000 is quite another predicament. You would have no recourse in either situation.
In this case, as a buyer, you would know that the minute you swiped that card, the product is yours for keeps. So, you would be apt to do more research, due diligence and read more buyer/consumer reports, etc. The bigger issue is that impulse buying would probably dry up, big purchases would slow down, and the “returns” line would completely disappear. Buyer’s remorse would take on a whole new meaning, and consumer protection would become obsolete.
What if you are the seller? You would probably re-think everything you ever learned about selling. All you would need to do is to become the world’s best presenter and closer. Because once you handed over the item, your job is done. No loss to you over returns, lapses or disappointments.
Why would we pose such a scenario?
A sale is a decision. The seller presents, and the buyer decides. There are several lessons that could be sited in this supposed situation, but let’s focus on just two.
The seller has an obligation to present the truth, and not deceive or misrepresent in order to make the sale; yet without some “limits,” it could be like driving a car at 120 mph with no fear of a ticket. Today, we have clear guidelines and lawyers to enforce them.
Conversely, the buyer has the responsibility to act in good faith. For example, at one electronics store, the clerk said they now have imposed a handsome restocking fee for buyers who purchase a $5,000 TV to see the big game (as an example), and then bring it back the next day. Today, that trick could be replayed with most any product at any time.
The purpose of this exercise is to imagine what it might be like to have a “no fault” proposition in the world of selling, and to be thankful that we still have a free enterprise system with safeguards in these transactions.
So, when you see a long “returns” line at the store, remember to be thankful for a free market system that still functions largely through responsible self governance … so far.