We get a ton of calls on a regular basis from customers seeking discount pricing for bulk purchases. In most cases, their definition of a “bulk” purchase and our definition of “bulk” are miles apart. For example, just the other day we had a customer who demanded a “bulk” discount for purchasing 2 items valued at a whopping 40 dollars!
Very rarely though, we get a customer that truly meets our definition of bulk. This particular customer wanted to buy a large quantity of handkerchiefs and demanded a price that we weren’t willing to meet.
Customer: Yes I’m looking to purchase quite a few handkerchiefs and I was wondering if you offer discounts for large purchases?
Me: Why yes we do but it depends on the quantity of handkerchiefs that you need.
Customer: Actually I was looking to purchase around 50.
Me: Actually for just 50 hankies, the best we can do is free shipping.
Customer: Really? That’s it? After all, I’m purchasing 50 dozen here.
Me: Oh 50 dozen! Sorry about that. For those quantities, we can probably offer you 25% percent off including free shipping. May I ask why you are looking to buy so many? Do you run a business?
Customer: Actually, we are looking to sell custom embroidered handkerchiefs for weddings and other special occasions.
Me: Interesting. We do the exact same thing here at our store!
Customer: I’m very aware of that.
** Silence **
Me: (Ok, that was awkward) Ah yes. Well even still, we have no problems selling you blank handkerchiefs for your business.
Customer: I’m sorry but 25% off is not going to cut it. You are way too expensive.
Me: I apologize ma’am, but that is probably the best we can do. Depending on the style you choose, we may be able to do a bit better but not much. Keep in mind that you are receiving free shipping as well. If you take the time to look around, you’ll come to the conclusion that our prices are competitive with other wholesalers in the industry.
Customer: Yes I am aware of that but your prices still just aren’t cutting it. Where did you say you get these handkerchiefs from again?
Me: Well, most of our handkerchiefs come from different manufacturers in Asia.
Customer: Where do you get them from?
Me: Well specifically, we get some of them from China and some of them from India depending on the handkerchief style.
Customer: (Getting audibly frustrated) Who do you get these handkerchiefs from?
Me: Oh, are you worried about the quality? We hand inspect all of the merchandise prior to shipment to ensure that you receive only the highest quality merchandise. We also have a money back guarantee.
Customer: Perhaps, I’m not being clear enough. Who do you buy your handkerchiefs from?
Me: Excuse me?
Customer: Who do you buy your merchandise from?
Me: Our vendors are in Asia ma’am.
Customer: How can I say this more clearly? What is the company in Asia that you purchase your handkerchiefs from?
Me: I apologize ma’am, but we don’t give that information out to customers.
Customer: All I need is an email address or a phone number.
Me: I apologize ma’am. We would be happy to special order these handkerchiefs for you but we respect the privacy of our vendors.
Customer: Well, your prices are not good enough for me to make a profit on my products and I require better pricing.
Me: Let me get this straight and please correct me if I’m wrong. You are planning on opening a shop that competes directly with our online store selling personalized handkerchiefs. You want us to provide you with our rolodex for our vendors in Asia and you want to bypass us altogether and purchase these handkerchiefs directly from the manufacturer.
Customer: Actually I’m just looking for merchandise at the lowest possible prices.
Me: Sorry ma’am but if you are looking to source products for your store, you’ll have to do your own leg work. We would be extremely happy to supply you with blank handkerchiefs for your online store but we will not provide you with information regarding our manufacturers.
Customer: I see. Well you are missing out on a large order here. If you can offer us a better price, we will continue purchasing from you in the future.
Me: Unfortunately, that is the best price that we can offer you at the present time. You might want to contact Walmart to see if they carry handkerchiefs. Perhaps Lee Scott can help you with where they source their items.
Customer:: Oh. What was the name again?
Me: Lee Scott (CEO of Walmart)
Customer:: Thank you, I’ll give them a call.
** Click **
Can you believe this lady had the nerve to ask us for our vendors? She was just looking for the easy way out instead of doing her own research. Did she really expect us to just hand over our rolodex? When will people learn that there are no shortcuts to starting a business?
Not to mention the fact that she came across as a complete mercenary. Even if we met her pricing requirements, would she become a loyal customer? She certainly didn’t come across that way. In retrospect, we were probably better off not having to deal with this lady as a customer at all.
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