When I see something that doesn't make sense, there's a compulsion in me to point it out and discuss what could be done to rectify it. You can imagine the chagrin of my husband, children, friends, or anyone with me feels when I launch one of these 'teaching moments'.
Again and again, I've had a conversation with someone in a shoe store that goes something like this.
"Do you have this shoe in my size?"
"Nope, we're all sold out. We only have that in sizes smaller than 6 or larger than 9. Yours is the most common size and it always goes first. "
"You know the distribution of purchases from years of experience. So why don't you order lots more in the common sizes?"
"Oh, we do, but we never order enough. There's only room for so many pairs in our inventory and we have to order one of each shoe in each size at a minimum."
"Why? You know you have to sell off those other sizes at deep discount at the end of the season. In the meantime, you've lost sales of the popular sizes because of unavailability. Why don't you just keep bumping up the number of pairs in the common sizes and have some gaps in your availability of the less popular sizes. "
"Well, we have to be able to serve customers with availability of shoes in their sizes, so we couldn't not order a full supply of those big and small sizes."
"BUT YOU'VE JUST FAILED TO SERVE ME WITH MY SIZE, BECAUSE YOU'RE GIVING SHELF SPACE TO SIZES YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO SELL AT FULL PRICE!!! AM I NOT A CUSTOMER TOO?"
Argh. I've never actually shouted the way the all-caps suggests, but I've certainly felt like it. I will continue my one-woman campaign to bring logic to shoe store inventory planning.
What's your favourite example of irrational behaviour out there?