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What Tampons Can Teach You About Marketing

I love the show Two Broke Girls…LOVE IT! It pushes the envelope in a way that no other network show does, just as network TV struggles to find its place on the dial.

But you came here for tampons, or marketing…or both, so here goes!

During a recent show, one of the two broke girls got pretty upset when she found out that the owner of the diner she worked in raised the price of a tampon from .25 to .75 in the vending machine in the ladies room.

When she launched into her explanation as to why .75 was too much, she said something that struck a major chord with me.

Don’t take advantage of people during a desperate situation!

Now, this entire post may make some of you a bit uneasy, but I have a daughter, and I buy tampons and hold purses too, so get over yourselves!

I say all that being happily in tune with my feminine side!

But I have no idea what it is like to be walking down 5th Avenue and suddenly realize I just got my period. And to make matters worse, it might be rent/mortgage week and I may be broke, and I NEED to be able to buy what I need to care for the situation with some spare change in my purse.

The same can be said for contractors

I can’t tell you how many pre-interviews I do with contractors who tell me they were able to charge whatever they wanted 5 years ago, or that they could ignore the jobs they didn’t want, the estimates they didn’t want to drive to simply because they could. They could charge the .75 cents for their tampons and someone was going to pay it.

But just like the girl in the show, people will let you know when they feel like they are being taken advantage of. And in today’s world of social media and the power of the “Like” button, you should be very aware if you are stepping out of line when it comes to pricing and/or local traditions that homeowners have become accustomed to.

Things like charging for design, offering a free quote but charging for drive time or any other practice that isn’t commonplace in the market will get people pissed.


Because these are the types of things that send people to scream from the rooftops of their social graphs, bitching about how they got robbed by “insert contractor name here” on Facebook, Yelp, Twitter or Foursquare, and the list of forums people have to rip you on grows every day.

So don’t take advantage of the poor girl who got her period, and don’t take advantage of Mrs. Jones just because you can. If for no other reason…Karma is a bitch, and the word of mouth has never traveled so fast so far.

So be kind!

6 responses to “What Tampons Can Teach You About Marketing”

  1. Sam Bradley Avatar
    Sam Bradley

    After reading your post I was at my local drugstore waiting for a prescription and saw something I hadn’t noticed before. Along the aisles of merchandise were bright colored tags noting which products were on sale. There were at least five or six sale items on every asile except for one aisle which had…… Early Pregnancy Tests (EPT). There is no reason to discount EPT. You either need one or you don’t and discounting the price is not going to cause a significant increase in sales. The EPT purchase is based on need, brand reputation, trust, packaging (presentation), solution, convenience and finally price.
    How many times have you (and I) cut our price, when all we really needed to do was position ourselves as the trusted advisor?

    1. Darren Avatar

      You hit the nail on the head Sam…as always!

  2. Chris Haught Avatar
    Chris Haught

    Oh Darren, i love it! Nothing I hate more than having to deal with a contractor that knows he has me by the short strings! Treat me right and you have a customer for life!!

  3. Tess Wittler Avatar
    Tess Wittler

    I’ve read this blog post about a dozen times since you posted, it, and besides chuckling at the thought of you purchasing tampons on a late-night run, it took me a while to figure out how I wanted to respond.

    First off, I was in a public ladies room yesterday, and this post MADE me look at the tampon dispenser and observe how much they were ($0.25 at the movie theatre in Camp Hill, btw). Secondly, I must say that there are just some businesses that make you feel like you are being taken advantage of. In my instance, it is the place where we purchased both of our vehicles. Perfect example: I have been reluctant to schedule my state inspection with the dealership because it feels like every time I take the vehicle there, the bill is $500+ (they always find something that needs to be repaired immediately … else I’ll die!). Even though the state inspections are free there, I’ll take my business elsewhere to feel like I am not some chick they are trying to get more money out of.

    Just like Sam and Chris already said above, contractors have this stereotype to overcome, too, but when contractors position themselves as a “friend” who has your best interest in mind (and not their wallet), that good-word will spread.

    1. Darren Avatar


      Thank you very much for adding a woman’s perspective…even though I pretty much begged you to do it. I love how you checked out the price though…that makes the post worth it, the fact that someone thought about it away from their computer!

      I too fall victim to the OMG, your car is going to explode if you don’t do this right now, which pisses me off because I am completely at their mercy. But your point is well taken! Thank you again young lady and keep up the good work.

  4. Greg Avatar

    Got to admit the title grabbed my attention and yes totally agree.. I have a margin structure I work to 30-60% on small jobs, 20-30% medium and 10-20% for large as long as your in those ranges you just make a sensible fair margin so there’s no need to be greedy. I always switch it around to people I sub out to, if I feel someone is taking the piss I very quickly don’t use them again so the same would apply to my clients and me… I’d rather make a little but often than a killing one time only!