I received a wonderful gift from a friend of these crazy and delicious marshmallow crispy treats from a small business. They were unique and tasty, and I decided that they were going to be gift that I wanted to give on an ongoing basis.

I immediately had a need for a gift, so I had an order placed through the company’s website, which was an 8-piece box of treats for $44.99 plus shipping, which seemed high, but I sent them anyways.  I wondered if the treats could be sent individually, and so I looked them up and noticed that one treat was $3.50.  I knew the math seemed off immediately.  At $3.50 each, an 8-piece gift box should have been $28 plus shipping, which meant that packaging was valued at $16.99.  I looked at the 16 piece gift box for $85.99, which would cost $56 for items bought individually, which means that packaging was being charged at $28.99.

Now, my mom owned a gift basket company, so I understand the cost of labor or elaborate packaging, but this gift came in a white, cardboard, cake-box style box with a piece of tissue and a simple ribbon.

Giving the benefit of the doubt, I thought that perhaps in the gift box, the items were larger or that I had made some mistake, because $17 and $29 for simple packaging seemed outrageous.

I sent off a note explaining that I loved their amazing product, but was confused by the pricing differential of items ordered individually versus together.

I received a response quickly from the owner’s iPhone (it said so in the signature):

Hi Carol. These have been our prices for many years as we have not change [sic] our pricing. The big difference in price is the hand labor cost involved in our very detailed upscale packaging. I hope that answered your question. Thank you for your interest in [company name redacted].  All my best. [Owner’s name redacted]

This company lost me immediately as a customer. While some companies give a discount the more that you order, some don’t.  And I can understand charging a few dollars for gift packaging, but not that much. Not only did I feel ripped off by their “very detailed upscale packaging” of the box, piece of tissue and ribbon for $17 (or $29 for a larger order), but the lame iPhone response from the owner was incredibly unprofessional.  I appreciate a quick response, but I would rather wait for a non- “quickly jotted on my iPhone” response.

I could order individually in the future, but for me, I want to do business with those companies who I feel value me as a customer.

And truly, I am an ideal customer for this business. I loved their product, I order gifts extensively throughout the year, and oh, I have a radio show, TV presence, tremendous social following and more where I often share about my favorite products.  I personally was worth multiple thousands of dollars per year to this small business, but because they were trying to be penny-wise with their packaging fast-one, they were pound foolish in the net results to their business.

Bottom line- give your customers value and know that they are not stupid. Incentivize them to buy more, not less from you, or risk making a few extra dollars at the expense of losing thousands.