The Golden Calf?

Golden_calf
Have you ever tasted Kobe beef?  I haven’t, but I hear it’s pretty good.  It’s so good that if you can find a restaurant that serves it, it’s going to cost you about $30.00 per ounce.  That’s per ounce, not per pound.  An eight ounce serving will set you back about $240.00.  And that doesn’t include a salad or a baked potato.  They’re extra.

So what makes a steak cost as much as a color television?  First, the beef comes from a special breed of black cow that lives in Japan.  That’s the real thing.  (There is "Kobe style" beef, raised right here in the USA, but it’s not the same.)  The Kobe cows get to drink sake and beer and some of them even get massages.  They say that a relaxed cow produces more tender meat. (The cows might not be so relaxed if they knew why they’re getting such special treatment.)

Now, you can go to Ponderosa Steak House and get a steak dinner that includes potato and the all-you-can-eat food bar for about one twentieth the cost of the Kobe steak.  Or, if you have a little more sophisticated pallet, you can get a nice steak dinner, with cloth napkins and candles on the table for maybe a tenth of the cost of the Kobe.  A steak dinner isn’t just about the meat, it’s also about the dining experience. 

Which brings us to our business.  We have to face the fact that whatever it is that we sell, there’s going to be someone who sells the same thing, or something that looks like the same thing, for less money.  And there will always be customers looking for that price-only transaction.  If you try to play that game, you will probably lose.  There is also a huge group of customers that want more.  They want a total shopping experience.  They want the best merchandise, with the best service, in an atmosphere that makes them feel special.

For the same reason that every steak house isn’t a Ponderosa, a retailer that focuses on the shopper’s emotions, will be able to command a fair price and provide great service.  Remember those pampered cows.

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