Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

A Sad Spencers Display And A Great Spencers Experience, within 20 miles of each other

I was out of town on business this afternoon and passed two malls that I haven't visited in years.  I decided to stop in and see what lava lamps the two Spencer Gifts had in stock.  

In Canton, Ohio, Belden Village Mall had this pathetic display, pictured below.  More than half the display spots were empty.  There were no 25 watt replacement bulbs, which was the reason I stopped in.  Their selection was weak and as unappealing as the display.  Only a few lamps in the empty looking display look to be running properly.  This was taken at 2 in the afternoon, so all the lamps should have been running for at least 4 hours.

They still had lamps from Lifespan, meaning those were at least a year or a year and a half old old.  I asked an employee how often they get new lamps and was told "I don't know."  She barely glanced up from her phone.  How wonderful.  

I then went to a mall in Akron, Ohio, called Chapel Hill Mall, where Spencers was one of the few stores still open in the dying mall.  My experience was the exact opposite.  A great display, much better lamp selection, very helpful and nice employees, and they had the bulbs I wanted.  An employee greeted me and we started talking about lamps.  She helped me locate an alien lamp I have been looking for and is going to have it shipped to the store for me.  They had a great selection of 16.3" lamps.  Since she was so friendly, knowledgable, and the display looked so good, I made a purchase.  I wasn't planning on it, but the employee was so great, she deserved a sale.   

One great and one horrible experience, within 20 miles of each other.  If Schylling cared, they would send reps out to these stores and make sure they are representing the brand well.  They would also make sure they had stock that wasn't years old and unwanted.  They need to issue some specialty lamps, like the Bob Marley, Kiss, and Beatles lamps that have been issued in the few years before Schylling took over.  They need to do something, at least pretend like they care.  

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Hard fact is, THEY DON'T!  Sad, from your first picture there is what I see in Schylling's  future.  I am sure they thought it would be an easy business venture to take over, they are lamps.. how hard can it be right?  Amazing that the other store front was so well presented and the customer service was as good as it was.  Night and day difference.  If Schylling is not careful, I foresee the demise of the lava lamp here in the states.  They (the lamps)are just a faint image of what they used to be in their glory days.  The quality and pride in product is just not there anymore.  Truly sad day.

It is really a shame that Mathmos won't ship to the U.S.  

Maybe Mathmos is waiting for the right opportunity. They probably would like to see the shelves cleared of all the cheap lamps out of concern people will chose the $20 lamp over the $85 lamp. It could be disastrous to enter retail at the wrong time. In fact they will have a hard time convincing the retailers that people will buy at that price. They clearly have better quality, but the average American consumer has been indoctrinated into significantly lower prices. It's a bit of a catch 22 and if they don't enter retail strategically they won't capture the retail market. They basically need Lava Lite to officially be up in flames. Even then there is risk of a Chinese company entering the retail market.

Personally, I think they are missing an opportunity on Amazon and their website. They may still be afraid of legal action from Lava Lite, which is a bit absurd in my opinion. All they have to do is not sell any lamps that infringe on the US trademarked shape and they have plenty of those models. Lava Lite already lost the rights to the word "lava lamp" and if they try to sue over the word "lava" they literally risk losing everything if they don't win. It's not a smart frivolous suit because the only reward is keeping a much more expensive lamp out of the market and the risk is to lose everything. If Mathmos enters the US it will likely be ecommerce first, however they appear afraid to take the leap.

It's also possible that Mathmos is concerned about shipping internationally as it's no secret that lava lamps contents are prone to damage during shipping. Maybe they don't feel their formula is robust enough at the moment. They will have to charge a lot more money and it's important to their brand that they have better quality. I'm not sure if setting up a US division would be exciting to them because their branding/strategy is very UK oriented. 

BaBa-Gooey said:

It is really a shame that Mathmos won't ship to the U.S.  

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