Wednesday, December 19, 2007

D'oh! Somebody needs a lesson in marketing...

Yesterday on my way home from work I stopped at a 7-Eleven and bought the Simpsons Movie on DVD. I had wanted to see the movie when it was in theaters but never got there while it was still running.

Anyway, for almost a week now I'd seen a big banner in the front window of a 7-Eleven I pass most days on my way home from work, with red type on a yellow background, advertising the 12/18/07 DVD release date of the movie. I saw it yesterday, but I was almost a block past it when I realized that yesterday was 12/18. But instead of turning around, I figured I'd go to another 7-Eleven closer to home.

But when I got to the other store, it was a totally different situation. No sign on the window advertising the movie, no banners inside the store. I had to ask one of the clerks if they had it, and how much it was. English was not his native language -- I think he and his coworkers are Cambodian, or Vietnamese, or otherwise Southeast Asian; I can't put my finger on the reason but I don't think they're Chinese -- and it took a couple of tries to get him to understand what I was asking. And when he did, he and his fellow clerks all began laughing. Finally, one asked, "Why you want dis?" -- as if a customer should not want to buy something the store sells.

Now, I'm a 42-year-old man, not a kid. But the Simpsons was never meant to be a kids' show. And even if it was, these guys worked at 7-Eleven, which made a major promotional push for the movie when it came out, with Simpson-related stickers and such all over their stores. They should have known that this DVD was intended to be a major seller, just like the movie had been.

I guess the "fault," if there is one, would fall on the manager for not seeing merchandising potential in what could have been a major seller. I'm not a gambling man but I'd be willing to bet that the Central Avenue store with the big bright sign probably sold the DVD's at a steady clip, while I was probably the first person to even ask for it in the Bronx River Road store I went to.