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.

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