Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ten Minutes: Work Worries

Just what I needed.  One more thing heaped on top of the pile of things that need my immediate attention.  A couple of months ago, my sales rep from my (then) grocery purveyor screwed up royally.  He was responsible for receiving my payments and banking the money every two weeks.  Except there was a payment he seemed to have misplaced, because it didn’t get banked until the same time as the payment I gave him two weeks later.  The credit department almost refused to ship my order because I was over thirty days past due on two invoices.  Except I wasn’t.  I had given the numbskull the check, but he didn’t do what he was supposed to do.  Long story short, I caught him lying to me, the credit department, and everyone else he could think of just to keep his own butt out of hot water.  So I fired him.  His company lost my account.
So I am now in the process of transferring my business to another grocery purveyor.  Which should be easy, right?  I mean, this new company is the largest food service grocery supplier in the country.  They should have everything I need, right?  And at great prices, right?  And I should get better service, right?  If only it were that easy.
I had no idea how stupidly difficult this was going to be.  It’s not like I can go into a store, look at the stuff, and start loading it into my cart.  Nope.  I have to sit across the table from a guy with a laptop, try to describe what I used to get (and  lot of this stuff is private labeled, so I can’t just say, “I need Joe Blow’s French fries.”)  He can’t get me samples, and there is no way he personally can be familiar with every one of the ninety million items his company carries.   So I end up ordering things I have no idea what I’m getting, trying it out and giving it the thumbs up or thumbs down. 
I have to say, I’m not very comfortable using my customers as guinea pigs.  Several of our most popular items have been difficult to pin down.  Really simple stuff like potatoes or fries or salad dressing.  Turns out my fries were an exclusive product of my former supplier.  When you have customers telling you that you have the best fries in town, and now you can’t get them anymore, THAT is a big problem.
And salad dressing prices have been shooting up so meteorically, I’m having a bitch of a time finding the same quality at the same price point I had been used to.  Here’s an example of what prices are doing these days—I’m paying over $17 for a gallon of salad dressing that was just over $11 at the beginning of the year.  Unbelievable.  So of course, one pain in the ass (changing food suppliers) has led to another pain in the ass (realizing I’m going to have to raise my prices again, like, yesterday….) 
Augh!  It’s all in a day’s work.  I keep holding out the hope that someday I might even start making some money at this.  At the moment, though, it isn’t looking too good.

No comments: