Business Strategies That Work

I’ve been seeing this ad on TV for a shoe store lately that’s kind of got me to thinking about the business sense of a few people. It’s for a store called Factory Shoe and part of the ad features the announcer happily praising the wide selection of “over-sized” shoes. Over-sized shoes? Couldn’t they have picked some better wording than that? I mean think about it, they’re pretty much telling a whole group of people that their feet are entirely too big. It would be different if they were selling those big clown shoes, but they aren’t. They’re ordinary people shoes, only for the over-sized.

I have a couple of different problems with this. First of all, who is responsible for drawing the line between what’s over-sized and what isn’t and what qualifications does he have? And don’t tell me that he doesn’t have any, that’s just crap. You’re not going to tell me that you’re putting a guy in charge of the Customer Discrimination department and he doesn’t have any credentials. He’d better have at least had a pediatrist in his family at some point, at least that would give him a little credibility.

The other thing that bugs me about this is wording. Is it really a good idea to make potential customers feel like freaks of nature? Over-sized means too big, no matter what sort of line the store tries to feed you about it meaning large or it being their way of saying that they have shoes of all shapes and sizes. If that’s what it was supposed to mean, why couldn’t they have just said that? As it stands now they may as well just put up a sign that says “hey Gunboat, bring those canoes over here,” or one that says “ask about our blacksmith.”

They should have taken a page out of the big and tall book. Those guys got it right. There are big people and there are tall people. Those words can mean different things even though everybody knows that in a clothing context they are generally understood to mean fat. But neither of those words actually imply that a person is abnormal, and the only reason they mean fat is because you only ever hear fat people talking about going in there and it became a stereotype. Factory Shoe calling anything over-sized is about the same as the big and tall shop saying “come check out our fat fuck section, now with tripple wide entrances.” It’s going to piss people off and they’re not going to shop there. Or maybe I just have way too much time on my hands and the fucking freaks don’t care. Who’s to say really?

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