Buying “like for like”. A man in a beauty store

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Not the easiest task ever. Not for everyone. And still, very often procurement people face the task of “buying like for like”: according to the sample, according to the picture. This weekend reminded me of that.

Imagine a small company – family. Imagine a very demanding operations department (woman). Imagine a man, representing procurement department. And a requisition to buy “like for like”, with a sample provided. Let me tell you again, it is not an easy task. Not always. Especially, when it comes to a (typical) man, buying cosmetics (come on, Ricardo, you didn’t really expect me not to write about this, did you???).

It’s lazy Saturday morning and I realise, that I cannot leave home (I mean, I can’t really even leave the bed), because I ran out of eye liner. You know, ladies, one of those days – when any excuse to stay in bed is good. And running out of eye liner is something of a size of snow in the middle of August in Lisbon. Anyway, my partner agreed to stop by at Boots on his way that morning. To be safe, I handed in a sample of exactly what I wanted. There is nothing, that can go wrong, you think? Oh well, think again.

The sample was black tiny bottle of a specific brand, specific color, specific functionality (waterproof) eye liner. The bottle was black. My partner came home two hours later, with a big smile on his face, handing back a golden color (!!!), same manufacturer, completely not waterproof eye liner… There I was – standing silently, looking at a completely wrong (in my opinion) bottle, completely happy partner’s face and trying to understand, what and why went wrong. Now it seems funny – I simply did not explain, what is the most important. Also, did not think about how really hard he would want to help me in such a disastrous (running out of eye liner!!! OMG!!!) situation. It turns out – the shop ran out of the item, and the shop assistant offered “closest match”. I bet you get loads of that from your suppliers?!

It was not funny at the beginning. But then I thought of all of the moments, when MY technical department stakeholders were looking at me silently – like I was, just a moment before. Yup, buying “like for like” is not easy. Needless to say, I did not mention the liner again…

Easy morning to everyone! Thanks for reading!

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Buying “like for like”. A man in a beauty store

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