My grandmother had a phrase that she saved for describing people who believed they were above everyone else, who thought that they were better; deserving, somehow, to run their lives with different rules than the ones they expected others to follow.
She referred to them as having “unmitigated gall.”
This phrase popped into my head as I read a letter from a prominent distributor recently informing me, and seemingly every other dealer they have, that if I deigned to sell any of their products or, even have “the intention of reselling” to others, my account will be closed.
Of all the unmitigated gall, this is one of the galliest I have ever heard.
A while ago, I wrote a column about how this distributor and others have their own captive e-tailers that they supply directly from their warehouses after the item is ordered from retail customers. These e-tailers keep very little stock on hand. Their overhead is a fraction of what mine is. And because this distributor owns these e-tailers, the retail profits are kept within the corporation. We, as dealers of their product for the last 50 years, are being stabbed in the back in this manner by these very corporations that we helped become the major players that they are today. They sell to online companies like RevZilla, and others, which then sells to my customers, again depriving all of us a chance of people who might otherwise come through our doors.
So to say that I cannot sell parts or accessories to a shop that is perhaps too small to have its own account is probably the most two-faced action I have heard of for a very long time. For my shop, it’s not a big deal, as I do almost no selling to other shops in our area. Perhaps some dealers are doing so, as well as selling to online stores. I’m really not sure where all this is coming from. I don’t really believe that there’s a lot of this sub-dealing going on anyway. However, even if there is, I say “Big Deal!” Ultimately, they are still selling the inventory.
So, let’s get this all straight: this company that’s been around most of our lives, selling product to us so that we could have something to put on our shelves is telling me to whom I can and cannot sell. We, the dealers, have bought enough goods from them over the years that they are now a multi, multi-million dollar corporation. They have merged with another big corporation. Once again, it is the dealers who have bought enough goods from these immense corporations to, indeed, make them the immense corporations that they are today.
Many of these companies take all this money that we invested in them (because we need a reliable source for products) then stab us repeatedly in the back by opening online companies that compete directly with us. As I have pointed out before, I believe that this is a direct “Up Yours” in our direction.
Furthermore (and I’m not a lawyer), this letter seems to be absolutely illegal under the Sherman Antitrust laws. It looks to me that they are trying to restrict trade.
So it’s all right for them to be in conflict with us by selling directly to our clients, but if we sell a product that we purchased from them to the guy down the block, they are going to close my account. How the (bleep) is that fair?
Now, I’ve met the owner/majority shareholder; I’ve had direct dealings with him. He seems like a nice fellow. They always treated us dealers well in the past. I’d like to think that the higher-ups didn’t know about this letter before it went out. If they did, shame on them. If they didn’t, they should just retract it. This policy is not doing anyone any good and is just getting the dander up at a time when we need to have less dander in our lives.
I have a list of preferred suppliers that we deal with. I realize that I cannot blackball this company (as much as I’d like to; they just have too many products I sell), but I will tell you right now that it has been placed near the bottom of that list, and are likely to stay there for quite a while.
My grandmother would definitely say they had “unmitigated gall!” My grandfather, on the other hand, would have just said, “Bastards!”