I sure hope that Realtors are as important as bread, and cereal. I buy both products on a regular basis. I have a complaint about both of them too. It is about the packaging.
It would be nice if bread came in a box, instead of a bag. That way it wouldn’t get smashed in the shopping bag, and I could bring it home and just set it on the counter by the toaster. I would stand it up on the small end so it doesn’t take as much space.
Cereal on the other hand does come in a box. That doesn’t work out so well for me either. The box is way too big for the amount of cereal that is inside it, and it takes up too much room in my cupboard. Often I take it out of the box and either put it in a container or just use the bag. It would be nice to have more choices.
I looked into the packaging of both products. Both are easier to ship with their current packaging. With bread it would cost more to put a box around it, and with cereal it would be hard to ship pallets full of the stuff in a flimsy bag, but it would be cheaper to put it in a bag than to put it in a box and a bag. There are also some issues with how the food is placed on shelves and marketed at the local grocery store.
Not many would question the rules of bread and cereal, but sometimes I think too much. The truth is I will continue to buy both products no matter how they are packaged. I can see myself surviving without Cheerios — it would be a major sacrifice but I could do it if I had to. I can’t see myself surviving without bread, and I don’t have time to bake it.
We have our own packaging traditions in the real estate industry. We package our services in a couple of different ways, the most common being charging a commission based on the percentage of the sale price of a home as our fee. I like to call that package A.
Some consumers have decided that they don’t want to do things that way because of the expense. They move on to package B, which can involve selling it themselves with help, or only purchasing certain services and paying for them on a flat fee. There are other models out there, but the dominant model is still package A with variations on the level of service and the percentage the agent charges.
Package A has worked very well for our industry. It is the package that our business models are built around and we know how to make a profit from it. It will continue to work as long as consumers feel that we are as important as bread or cereal.
In the coming months the demand for our services will continue to decline. Some of us will survive and others will not. Our survival may depend upon our ability to come up with a product that is so irresistible that the packaging will not matter or come up with new packaging. There is room in every industry for new products and packages.
Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.
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