Maytag scaring away customers and investors

Maytag scaring away customers and investors
Date March 23, 2004
Section(s) Opinion

To the Editor:

The following is an open letter to Ralph, Bill and everyone else whose operating strategies are rapidly weakening our company’s reputation in the marketplace.

Certain market conditions are favorable for our company’s success, such as low interest rates and strong new housing sales. The last several quarters have seen both, and as a result, the household appliance industry in general has been doing quite wells, as I understand it. Except Maytag. Word around the campfire is we are losing market share. In my opinion, these are some reasons for this disturbing trends.

First of all, we are scaring away potential customers. That’s right. I see it like this:

Traditionally, when someone dropped their hard-earned cash on a Maytag appliance, they expected it to last a long, long time. Many of our machines have lasted the lifetime of the purchaser and beyond. Quality and dependability have been our stock in trade for several decades.

But lately, every time Joe Average consumer opens his newspaper or switches on his foreign-made TV, he sees yet another news story about Maytag off-shoring another sub assembly, or worse yet, an entire assembly line to peasant labor in some Third World country.

Ralph said to us, “You can build quality anywhere.” Maybe he is right, but it really doesn’t matter because it a potential customer doesn’t agree, then we just lost a sale. I fear we have lost a lot of consumer confidence in our brand name because of our foreign outsourcing and all the bad press that has resulted from it.

Secondly, stop scaring away potential investors with spooky language.

Investors are only human and we all know that humans, as a rule, are afraid of change. If said change is perceived as unnecessary, too complicated or even just confusing, this fear intensifies. Lloyd Ward started all this big impressive talking nonsense and Ralph Hake is making the same mistake talking to potential investors today. Just climb down from your stack of college degrees and stop trying so hard to impress these people because it isn’t working, you’re only making them skittish, in my opinion.

In the last few weeks we have been told over and over how inefficient and wasteful we all are. Well, as I see it, we just follow orders, do as we’re told, using the equipment you provide us. It’s your responsibility to present us favorably in the marketplace…

Do I think I have a better plan? You bet… I do. Stay tuned, I’ll share it with you soon.

Rich K. Harris



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