NC State Audits Office Depot Contract

Filed Under (The Competition) by Don on 14-05-2007

Many of you probably know that I live in North Carolina.  Last week the State of North Carolina Office of the State Auditor released their report detailing the state contract with Office Depot.  In another case of “see, I told you so” the report states that Office Depot over charged various state agencies $40,887 and that pricing errors continue to be an issue with Office Depot.  The audit also uncovered a large number of items that were not available and therefore substituted for higher priced products. 

As most independent dealers know the “big box” dealers have long excelled in this ‘bait and switch’ maneuver.  Although we strive to educate our customers about this practice these superstores have so engrained “we’re bigger so we are cheaper” into the consumers head that we still have a long way to go to make our customers see the truth.  One statement in the report says “Our testing of catalog prices for all 582 core items revealed a 6.5% error rate, with unit prices ranging from $.60 to $199.75 in excess of contract prices.”  Many independent dealers in NC tried to tell the Purchase and Contract Division they were making a huge mistake by leaving out the small business dealers in NC.  The whole process that awarded Office Depot was a joke.  These tactics are used by Depot and Staples and others like them every day to take your customers and to give them a false sense of low prices.  When are we as independent dealers going to get off our collective butts and do some public education about things like this?   Perhaps we should create our own advertising and marketing agency that promotes just the independent dealer channel!  Milk producers and cattle producers do it very successfully, why can’t we?  Why don’t we? Well, I’m waiting for your answer!

You can read the report for yourself at:

http://www.ncauditor.net/EPSWeb/Reports/Performance/PER-2007-7219.pdf

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