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January 19, 2023
Declining productivity has been the Western World’s conundrum these last few decades. Whether you blame social media, low interest rates, WFH or ‘The Age of Entitlement’, there’s no denying the zeitgeist, and as a business, we haven’t been immune.
We run a pretty tight ship here, and we’ve been improving productivity in the salon to achieve our best ever quarter just gone, but we’re deferring any inflationary price increase this January and looking at further productivity savings. I just don’t think it’s morally right to raise prices as a kneejerk reaction when there are efficiency innovations to make or fat to trim.
It’s the same with our products. Our hero LifeSaver Pre-wash Treatment is the same price now as when it launched in 2009 at $39.00. RPI adjustments say it should be $80.25 now. But through its increasing popularity, our production runs have gone from 100s to 10,000 at a time.
Then we eliminated secondary packaging, for the environment too, and made efficiencies in the supply chain. All of these actions kept costs down to offset inflation so we could pass on more value to you.
LifeSaver Pre-wash Treatment 500ml at $39.00 is 41% cheaper than in 2009 in real terms. Buy the 1 litre refill with a shampoo and conditioner and it’s almost half the real cost per ml as in 2009. In a difficult cost-of-living-crisis world, we’re pleased to still find efficiencies that give more value to you. 😊
Is it old age that gives rise to ranting and casting opinions on authority? Or just that most of the people dictating our lives are younger than me now? But then hairdressers have always had opinions along with black-taxi drivers. They’re the only people that really know how to run the country as the late comedian George Burns joked.
The collapse in productivity and raging inflation is a worry for all of us. We’re back to the 1970s with masses of unemployment hiding in plain sight, and in our interconnected society, one person’s overpaid under-productive cushy job is another person’s membership to the food bank. Inflation and high taxation is linked to this. As a service economy most of UK inflation is now caused by declining productivity from the shrinking workforce - ‘it’s the taxation stupid!’ to misquote Bill Clinton.
The Passport Office are now patting themselves on the back because 95% of applications are processed within 10 weeks. Ten Weeks! And so they feel ready to raise prices in February.
Not just the Passport Office, many big companies and government agencies are becoming hopeless at customer service. So bad that they have to put up signs, the gist of which is … our ‘service’ is so awful and we’ll annoy you so much that you’ll probably lose your temper (or the will to live) and if you’re rude to our staff we’ll have you thrown out or arrested. Blah blah.
Imagine going to a nice restaurant, hotel, clothes boutique, or salon and seeing a sign like that. You wouldn’t because you’re free to choose. And there lies the problem. Big companies and government agencies don’t have proper competition, so you’re tied in or trapped. No longer a customer to please and win over, more a supplicant to fleece, control, and who has to beg for service.
Michael Van Clarke
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