A few spare parts can go a long way


I spotted a great deal on some really nice, modern kitchen chairs, which came out to something like $29 each for a set of four. When I opened up the box, I was pleased to see that the parts were in fairly good shape. However, once I started counting the screws and washers and such, I realized there were only enough parts to assemble three of the chairs.

Did the manufacturer forget to include the right quantity? That’s hard to say, since the parts bag had torn open during shipping, and some of them may have escaped through the various puncture wounds that the box sustained in transit.

I ended up contacting the retailer to make things right, but this got me thinking: why do manufacturers seem to only include the exact number of parts you need? If even one piece is missing, that means a costly return or replacement, or at least a separate expense to mail you the missing parts.

A smarter approach is to look at the cost of the parts and use some common sense about how many to include. For instance, if you’re selling a $100 item and additional screws are two cents each, then throw in a couple of extras. By making this tiny investment, you’ll save all the money you would otherwise have spent dealing with people who ended up one washer or screw or bracket short, while delivering a better customer experience and fostering positive feelings towards your brand.