First in a series of Cape Cod Parables

Cape Parable #1
Marketing on Olde Cape Cod

By Walter Brooks

Orleans, 1965: I was ad manager at The Cape Codder weekly in this town named for a French Duke, but I brought my Greenwich Village, NYC habits with me.

ny-herald-trib-skybar_479_01Every evening after work, I would stop at the long-gone Livingston Pharmacy on Main Street (where Westie's Shoes is today).

I had reserved a daily copy of the New York Herald Tribune, and I always grabbed a Skybar along with it.

That sequence proceded without a problem for two years until one afternoon when I picked up my Tribune there were no Skybars in their accustomed place on the candy shelves.

There weren't any the next day or the next or the next.

I assumed they had run out of my favorite candy bar, a correct assumption I later discovered, and allowed a week to pass before I asked owner Urban (yes, that was his name) Livingston if he was going to get some more Skybars in soon.

That special form of Olde Cape marketing

He replied, "No."

I asked if he could still acquire them, and he said, "Yes."

Being a smart marketing genius I asked if it was because they were not selling well enough to handle, but he said, "no, we sell lots of them."

So, naturally I inquired, "Then why aren't you going to reorder them?"

Urban replied with a olde-time Cape Cod wisdom which escapes me to this day, "Because I can't keep them in stock."

Moral of the story

Never let your customers tell you how to run your business.

I swear this account is true word-for-word, and anyone who has lived around here more than forty years will get a sense of déjà vu.

I hope that any readers who did will add a comment or send me their "Olde Cape" experience to retell here. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on