For journalists like us, the New Year season is a time when we are busy looking for the word or the man or the woman of the year. What should be this year’s choice? WikiLeaks? No, it just writes what everybody knows. Julian Assange? No comment, the editor does not want to end up in Guantanamo Bay. Berlusconi? Please, not another womanizer. Boring. Facebook? We do not want to award a necessary platform designed for communicating unnecessary things.
Our choice as man of the year is Axel Weber, the current president of the German Bundesbank and the possible next chief of the European Central Bank. He suggested but finally denied that the budget to rescue troubled countries within the Eurozone might be doubled from €750 billion to we do not even have a word for such amounts.
Our word of the year is, therefore, simply “double.” Even tough businesspeople like our readers need to swallow and digest a number like €1,400,000,000,000. For all those who are not capable of imagining that figure, we deliver – as always – the right service: The number corresponds to 8.75 billion pairs of Lowa “Renegade” shoes. That would be enough to equip every single human being in the world with a good pair of shoes with nearly 2 billion pairs as a reserve – just to be on the safe side. We did not manage to reach Lowa for comment on whether it was able to deliver.
Some very cautious readers may ask, Are we talking about wholesale or retail prices? Our message is: Who cares, we just double. This is where we have arrived: Everything is at stake, but money does not matter. Let us only double.
The lesson for the industry out of all that is: Both vendors and retailers should not worry about money any longer. We can imagine that future negotiations – let’s say between The North Face and Intersport International – look like this: “For Euro’s sake, we strongly recommend that you buy double the volume of our ‘Cat’s Meow’ sleeping bag.” – “Why should we accept such conditions?” – “Well, just to keep things going ” – “No problem under the condition that you double your marketing efforts to get the stuff sold.” – “All right, but we should negotiate special conditions for your Greek and Irish retailers.” – “No worry, just double the price for the Greeks, Intersport Germany will guarantee with 30 cents per euro.” – “It’s a deal, but we will delay deliveries to Spain and Portugal until summer.”
Is that business? Certainly not. This is a painful lesson for all outdoor retailers who have made a tremendous job out of becoming more professional in one sense: We all have to look into the figures. Politics say nay, money does not matter. Where should all that end? It’s time to get back to a serious calculation of things.
These days, there is some relief for the industry, especially in countries where the snow doubled compared with last year and quadrupled compared with two years ago. For all those countries that traditionally do not have snow, we have a simple recommendation: Just cut costs by 50 percent and double sales prices. That will keep things going. Promised. The Eurozone teaches you.
The team of The Compass – too bad that it has not doubled during 2010 – wishes you a Double Christmas and a Double New Year. Shall the Double Force be with you in 2011.
The doubled editor (in weight, not in brains)