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Responding to the post Cork & Olive’s Probst Abandons Franchisees, Cork & Olive ex-employee "H" states that it is karma, not failed franchisor Michael Probst, that’s to blame for the woes of Cork & Olive franchisees.
"H" contends that the very idea of the Cork & Olive wine store is a sham designed to use upscale decor and salesmanship to trick vino newbies into overpaying for cheap wine. "H" claims that Cork & Olive franchisees are hypocrites who pirate copyrighted music and hoodwink unsophisticated customers, yet are morally outraged to find that they’ve been bamboozled. What do you think?
As a former store-level employee, I have a hard time feeling bad for the franchisees. Sure, you were ripped off in the worst of ways, but I’d have to say that the responsibility for not spotting a fraud falls on you. Working in the store, I knew things weren’t kosher from the very beginning when I noticed that our official store play list included original Beatles recordings. Nobody can afford the licensing for that, not even major motion pictures like ‘I Am Sam.’
Our markup was astronomical, completely unprecedented, and basically unfounded. Our pricing was entirely random, based solely upon Stephanie’s opinions of what people would pay. Stephanie, a woman with literally no knowledge of wine, has no business guessing such things. The average cost to the company was $3 – $4 per bottle. We sold some bottles for $9, most for about $15, and some for $30 or more. This was absolutely inexplicable. There was no standard percentage for the markup, just whatever we thought we could get.
How one $3 bottle of wine seems worth $32 while another is worth only $8 is beyond me, but it should have raised serious concerns among people considering the $300,000 price tag for one of these stores. With a little research, you would have found that the average wine shop shoots for around a 33% profit margin per bottle while we were aiming for 70% or more on AVERAGE!
This might have seemed like a really great way to make a lot of money, but if you weren’t buying a business you knew nothing about, you would have realized that it actually equates to selling a low quality product at the price point of a high quality product. In other words, you’re hoping to prey on the average consumer’s lack of knowledge about the difference between cheap wine and fine wine. You made them feel like they were purchasing a quality product by showing them a pretty store with a neat layout and free samples, but now you’re mad that Michael and his goons swindled you with a similar set of smoke and mirrors. Excuse me if I’m not overwhelmed with sympathy, but it seems an awful lot like karma to me.
I know nothing about cars, so I’m not going to go into business as a mechanic. I don’t understand the stock market, so I’m not going to set up shop as a financial advisor. Wine novices have no business running wine shops, and if they choose to do so, they shouldn’t be mad when things go poorly.
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