Free Capitalism Lessons From China

Free Bread

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.
Adam Smith

I ordered some small key chain LED lights for a business associate a couple weeks ago. He was going to go to a trade show type of event and wanted something with his new company’s logo on it to give away. He had seen some lights I gave away for a similar purpose a few weeks before and thought they would fit the bill. Since I had ordered from these folks before, I offered to place the order for him. The company that makes the lights is based in Shenzhen, China.

The lights are well made, VERY bright and cheap as heck. I figure for marketing chachki, function beats form. These lights are something that someone might actually USE rather than throw in with another million free pens that never seem to write well. I have seen these lights in stores (I would name them, but don’t want to deal with lawyers) for $12-$15 each. With custom color printing, shipping etc, I got them for just under $0.60 each. With a 500 piece minimum on custom printed items, that came to just south of $300.00 delivered. None of that is enough to inspire me to write a blog post about them though.

A brief log of events:

Thursday 4:30PM PST – Call from my business associate asking about the lights. Told him I was not sure how long the turn around time was. Recieved the artwork within the hour.

5:30 PM – Placed order over the internet at (Note- In case you are wondering, I have no affiliation with this company at all) Emailed artwork

5:40 PM – Received a personal (not some automatic thing) email from Kikiyo in their customer service department thanking me for the business and re-confirming the details of the custom order.

8:00 PM – Received another friendly email with a clear photograph of key chain with the logo printed on it as a proof to approve.

Saturday 3:30AM – Email with a tracking number – the lights had shipped already!

Wednesday Morning – Package of lights received in Utah by my business associate.

Thursday – Friendly personal email from Kikiyo noting that she tracked the package, saw we received it and wanted to know if we liked them.

The experience made me think about what I do when I make a sale. How do you treat your customers? I don’t see this kind of service on a $300,000 sale let alone $300. Plus it is a custom piece. I do a lot of business in China outsourcing data entry for insurance companies and lenders and I have to tell you that my experiences are full of stories like this. It is not just that they do the business cheap; they are really legitimately excited at the opportunity to do business. The attitude is so refreshing when compared to vendors in the US and elsewhere that seem to think they somehow deserve your ongoing business regardless of their level of performance or economic utility.


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