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Purchase Disorder

, , , | Right | December 2, 2021

I work at a distribution center. The biggest plus to the job is that our boss has a strict attitude toward pricing and clients. Thus far, we’ve had very few problems with our clientele.

The following takes place over our chat service.

New Client: “Heyo, [My Name], what’s up?”

Me: “Good morning! How can I help?”

New Client: “Saw you had three copies of [item model] advertised and wanted to see if I could get a quote and then reserve them.”

Me: “Certainly. Those are going for about $1,395 each and I can place them on reserve as soon as I have a Purchase Order.”

New Client: “’Kay, bear with me, then, dude.”

I leave the chat window open and run a check on [New Client]’s company. They haven’t done business with us previously, so I’m going to need to set up an account for them.

Me: “Also, as I see that you’re a new client, could you send me a copy of your reseller’s certificate and a short list of references from companies you’ve worked with previously?”

An hour slowly clicks by without any response. Eventually, my colleague tells me he’s gotten a request for the same items. Unfortunately, since [New Client] hasn’t sent the purchase order yet, I can’t put them on reserve, so I tell my colleague to go ahead and quote.

Me: “Also, as a heads up, my colleague just got a request for those same items. I’m really going to need a Purchase Order if you want to have them held for you.”

Thirty more minutes click by, and then, finally:

New Client: “Hey, dude, when can you ship those out?”

Me: “I can ship them as soon as I have a Purchase Order, along with the other aforementioned documentation.”

New Client: “K, can you do anything about the price? That’s a little steep.”

Me: “Well, since you’re buying all three, I could add a bulk discount and drop the price to $1,210 each.”

New Client: “Mmm, still steep. I was thinking more along the lines of $500 for each.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we can’t discount that much on new stock.”

Silence descends across cyberspace again. My colleague eventually says he’s got a Purchase Order for the items — strangely his new client seems okay with our asking price — but is willing to defer to me since [New Client] called first dibs.

Me: “My colleague just got the order for those items. Again, I really am going to need the same from you if you don’t want them to be sold to someone else.”

More time passes. My colleague says his customer needs the items shipped today. I wait another thirty minutes and then tell him to go ahead and process his order since the lack of response would indicate [New Client] is no longer interested. My colleague gets approval for the sale. I go down to help him get the items from storage, leave for lunch, and come back to update the inventory. By now, several hours have passed. My colleague goes out to get packing materials for the shipment. Literally upon his return, my chat window blinks.

New Client: “All right, well, I gotta leave soon, dude, so I’ll send the Purchase Order now. You can still ship today, can’t you?”

You have got to be kidding me.

New Client: “Oh, and I’m still not digging your price. Get them down to $500 and all is well.”

You have GOT to be kidding me!

Me: “My colleague sold those items two hours ago. When you didn’t respond, I thought you weren’t interested anymore.”

New Client: “What? Dude, I had other stuff to do! Why didn’t you hold them like I asked you to?”

Me: “Didn’t you get my previous messages?”

New Client: “Well, yeah, but I thought you were bluffing. I mean, come on, dude. No one actually pays four digits for that model, do they?”

I am not entirely sure how to respond, not that it matters, as [New Client] immediately leaps back in.

New Client: “Never mind, just tell your colleague I need ’em and get back to me when you have a tracking number.”

Me: *After a minute of reminding myself to be polite* “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that, [New Client]. He got the order and the approval to sell them. Per our policy, the sale is his, fair and square.”

New Client: “But I got you the Purchase Order first!”

Me: “But you didn’t give it to me. How long have you actually had the Purchase Order?”

New Client: “Since this morning. I just wanted to wait until you agreed to my price before sending it.”

Me: “Send me a copy now.”

He sends it and I check it out.

Me: “[New Client], as I told you before, I can’t drop the price to this amount. Plus, as I also stated before, I need your reseller’s permit and a reference list to get you set up with a shipping account.”

New Client: “I don’t have time to do all that! Can’t you just check the feedback on our site and take their word for it?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but our policy states that we need those two documents to do business with you.”

New Client: “Well, that’s bulls***! I need those items tomorrow!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but they’re sold. Actually, as I type this, my colleague just finished packing them up and is wheeling them out to the post office.”

New Client: “[My Name], my company is like one of the biggest in California! You do this for me, $600 each since you aren’t good for $500, shipped overnight, and I can promise you a heck of a lot of business from us in the future!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I told you what we needed to hold the items for you and what our prices were this morning. You chose to wait until it was too late, so there’s nothing I can do for you now.”

[New Client] does not respond. After several minutes, I close the chat window and get on with some paperwork… until said window rudely pops back into view again.

New Client: “You’re actually going to do this, dude? You’re really going to turn down a perfect opportunity to land a major league new client and thus cut yourself off from a reliable source of six-figure sales?”

Yeah, right, bud, you can’t even handle four figures.

Me: “I don’t know what else to tell you. Our owner wants to make a profit, and we wouldn’t have been able to do that at your requested price. I’ll be happy to help you out if there’s something else in our stock that you need.”

Again, I get the silent treatment as [New Client] no doubt tries to think of a decent comeback. Ten minutes later, he finally comes up with the following carefully crafted witticism.

New Client:WELL, F*** YOU, THEN!

He actually bolded and italicized it. [New Client] signed out, I saved the chat log to send to my manager in case a complaint was lodged, and then I silently broke my brain over the logic of the day’s nonsense. Seriously, in what region is it a sensible business practice to wait on a time-sensitive deal, thinking that the other side will panic and give in to your demands?

If he had just sent the Purchase Order to me when he got it, he could have at least bought himself more time to stall and negotiate. We’d never have agreed to his asking price, but furthermore, that’s the brilliant thing about electronic documents: you can go back and edit them if changes need to be made!

Regardless, his threats aren’t going to matter in any respect. Even if we lost a deal with HIM, there’s still every chance we can sell to another rep in his company, so we haven’t cut ourselves off from anything, and if he tries to dissuade his colleagues from contacting us, we’ve got the evidence to prove he’s at fault.

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