Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fran's Chocolates version of the old bait and switch

Editted again to add: Fran's has decided to lower their minimum purchase price. Nice.

Editted to add a comment from Fran's at the bottom of post.

What is one of the most popular things in candy right now? Salted Caramels right?


I went on bing and I looked up salted caramels and that search led me to Fran’s Chocolates. There’s this cute little box of 7 chocolate salted caramels for $12.50. Reasonable. Seemed like the perfect prize for the first chocolate bootcamp.


The end of the month rolled around and I declared a winner and went to order the prize. Guess what? Fran’s has a minimum order of fifteen dollars. That’s right. They won’t sell you the cute little box that they know draws people in. No. No. To get salted caramels from Fran’s you have to buy 2 boxes. Or you have to go up to the next size. Which is more than double the price. $28.


I’m going to relate this in something other than absolutes because my memory of exactly who might be wrong, but I think it was Sears. Many years ago, they did this thing where they would advertise one thing but when you’d get to the store, they wouldn’t have it. They would, however, have a more expensive version of whatever it was.


This practice was called the bait and switch. At that time, the justice system cared about the marketplace in America, and when someone sued Sears or whoever, the company lost and they stopped this deceitful practice.


Of course, the practice has since been tweaked in various ways and taken up by other companies. That’s what this looks like to me. Fran’s knows that people want salted caramels. So they price some very reasonably but when people actually are in the throws of purchase on the internet or on the phone, they inform them that they can’t buy that cute little reasonable box, no, they have to buy 2 or a more expensive one.


Fran’s the president might like your product, but I’m betting he wouldn’t like this business practice. Cause it stinks. It stank way back when. It still stinks now.


It didn’t get me, though. I just went to another company that sells salted caramels, in this case Ghirardelli’s, and bought almost the same product.


The whole thing makes me sad. Because my preference would have been to go with a company which for all appearances originates in Seattle, WA USA rather than one who originates in Switzerland (no offense to Switzerland intended).


Here’s my suggestion to Fran’s Chocolates. Either take the cute little green box for $12.50 down or better yet, lower your minimum purchase requirement. Cause what you’re doing now, ain’t right. I don’t care how you justify it.


This is all my own humble opinion. YMMV.

After having this up one day, I got a comment from Fran's. This is the comment:
Judy,

I am so sorry for your experience with our website, and I completely understand your frustration.

We are a family-owned chocolatier (my mother Fran, my brother and I all work together) celebrating 30 years of hand-crafting confections in Seattle, Washington. We began making our salted caramels about 10 years ago. For many years we did not include smaller gift boxes like the 7 piece caramel box on our website, as the cost associated with shipping a small box is high in relation to the price of the product. But, many of our customers requested that we add smaller gift boxes on-line so they could add a smaller box to their order or so they could order several smaller boxes for gifting.

But, in light of your comments and experience I will review how we present this on our site.

Thank you for your honest feedback.

Please feel free to contact us directly at 206.322.0233, with any questions or concerns.

Best Regards,
Andrina Bigelow


This feels like people who are concerned with doing business ethically and who care about their customers experience. I'm going to write a new blogpost (even though it's not Friday) and take this one down when the new one is finished.

Thank you, Fran's for responding.

9 comments:

  1. I agree 100%. And when I run across those situations I do what you did. I refuse to give the company the money and will drive ten miles out of my way just to shop elsewhere. I don't know why they keep doing it, or why people continue to "convenience shop" it's the principle that matters, for me anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, right? And that whole situation was anything but convenient anyway.
      Jerks!

      Delete
  2. I hate when that happens. Boogers!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They rained on my parade, the meanies.

      Delete
  3. Judy,

    I am so sorry for your experience with our website, and I completely understand your frustration.

    We are a family-owned chocolatier (my mother Fran, my brother and I all work together) celebrating 30 years of hand-crafting confections in Seattle, Washington. We began making our salted caramels about 10 years ago. For many years we did not include smaller gift boxes like the 7 piece caramel box on our website, as the cost associated with shipping a small box is high in relation to the price of the product. But, many of our customers requested that we add smaller gift boxes on-line so they could add a smaller box to their order or so they could order several smaller boxes for gifting.

    But, in light of your comments and experience I will review how we present this on our site.

    Thank you for your honest feedback.

    Please feel free to contact us directly at 206.322.0233, with any questions or concerns.

    Best Regards,
    Andrina Bigelow

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ohh, disappointing. Glad they responded, though.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow - they do indeed care - It is nice that they responded.

    Maybe they could sponser Chocolate Boot Camp. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Judy,

    Thank you for being so open minded to my response and sharing it with your followers. Just a quick update, we have decided to lower the minimum order on our website.

    All the best,
    Andrina Bigelow

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't think ANY chocolate merits a $100/lb price point, which is what this 2-oz box amounts to.

    ReplyDelete