They’ve got Energy Star stickers on their showroom TVs, sustainability messaging in their e-mail blasts, and have even reserved a corner of their warehouse for recycled CE products, so you can’t blame Greg and Sible Hager, owners of the Tri-City Electronics chain in North Carolina, for not at least trying to go green. After all that effort, though, Mr. Hager would be happy if even one customer would take notice.
"Honest to god, I’ve been in this business for 40 years, and if you have to sum it up, they just don’t give a damn," said Mr. Hager. "People want to buy the cheapest thing and they just assume they’ll have to replace it in two or three years."
It took the Hagers over a year to locate and contract a recycling vendor who would properly dispose of used electronics. Once they’d found him, they put up recycle bins in their stores…and not one piece came in. They recently offered a $100 discount to any customer who’d recycle an old TV set, with similar response.
"Look, we’re trying to educate and we’re going to keep on it because we think it’s our part as good businesspeople and a member of the community," said Mr. Hager, a Nationwide Marketing Group member who has heard about green marketing efforts taking off in California and the Northeast and is hopeful that some of that enthusiasm will sprout in his own market.
"I think people here will eventually become interested," said Mrs. Hager. "Right now, it’s just a feel-good thing and not a driving force, kind of like ‘Toys for Tots’ at Christmas. But I do think it’ll catch on."