The rest of the world has suffered from recession, job cuts and all sorts of miseries, but there is one industry that has quietly gone from strength to strength. The shower curtain industry. Whoever talks about their Return on Equity or Asset Turnover? Do we see their ads on TV? Do they feature in the S&P 500 index? No, no and no. Yet, this industry is booming thanks to strategic alliances, partnerships and ignorant buyers like me.
Here's how it happens. You buy a shower curtain because it looks good and because the leasing office made a surprise visit to your apartment a day after you moved in and reprimanded you for not having a shower curtain. Now, you fear another suprise visit, so you end up buying a really expensive shower curtain. Then a friend of yours tells you that you should buy a liner to protect your expensive shower curtain. You go ahead and buy that too. Observe what happens after 2 years.....
Strategic Partnership A:
In a fit of sudden philanthropy, the leasing office offers to upgrade your apartment. You get a brand new bathtub, which shines so much that you can literally see your face. You do not realize that the bathtub has been polished and so now, it is super slippery. Soon, the inevitable happens. You slip and fall while taking a bath, taking the shower curtain along with you. It is ripped apart. You need to buy a new shower curtain. The bathtub industry gets a cut from the shower curtain industry's profits.
Strategic Alliance B:
You have not been analyzing the price changes in the shower curtain industry, so you realize to your dismay that the price of your old shower curtain has now doubled. So, you buy an inexpensive shower curtain to defray your losses. Now, every time you take a bath, you look at an inferior curtain and sulk. Then a second time, you fall deliberately in your bathtub, taking the shower curtain with you. You end up buying the old (read expensive) shower curtain by paying through your nose. The shower curtain company makes 2 sales instead of one.
Then one day, a friend who has been hearing about your habit of crashing into the bathtub regularly, offers a suggestion. Buy a bathtub mat. That would save you from falling. You buy a mat. It has to match with the shower curtain color. The bathtub mat industry gives a cut of its profit to the bath tub industry and to the shower curtain industry.
And so the industry booms. And we try to learn from our mistakes....