Sunday, November 4, 2012

Meditations on Superstorm Sandy

It has been a week since Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on New York City.  I have so many friends and family in the tri-state area it was a matter of real concern for me.  Living in Miami, I understand what a hurricane can do.  This looked scary.  And it was.  So last Sunday I insisted my sister take my mother from her home in LI to my sister's home in Buck's County PA.  Good call!

Anyway, I've been reading about a retailer who is running a 20% off "Hurricane Sandy" sale, and presenting it as an opportunity for those in the tri-state area.  I must say, I find this utterly heinous. 

Here's why. 

Anyone in retail knows an average apparel margin is about 50%.   For those of you unfamiliar with "retail math" this means if they bought it for $5, they are selling it for $10.  I know that doesn't make any sense, but it is what it is.  Retail accounting.  It's just the math of it.  However, 20% off really is 20% off.  That means if the original selling price was $10, they wills sell it to you for $8.  That leaves them with a gross margin of $3.  The percent doesn't matter, and I could probably calculate it, but obviously, they aren't giving it away.

So who's doing who the favor here? 

The long and the short of it for me is retailers, who do employ a lot of Americans, also need to start giving something back to the communities that support them.  We are known as a 'cheap' industry.  Sometimes that's cute.  In this case, it really isn't.  I've seen good retailers.  Publix really did a lot for our community after the hurricanes of 2004-2005.  But anyone who seeks to make money off anothers heartache is not just a bad businessman, it's a bad bunch of human beings.

I know most people don't read what I write here.  They follow me on Twitter, Facebook or any of the other places I post.  But if you're reading this, please know that it is my greatest wish that we start being a bit kinder to each other.  Thus US is in a state of decline and the world knows it.  It is long past time to start working our way back to relevancy.  Not with guns.  But with becoming better world citizens.  And it starts right here at home.

end of rant.