Sunday 3 January 2016

Goods Satisfactory or Money Refunded

"Consider again the Eaton's slogan:  Goods Satisfactory or Money Refunded.  It said nothing about prices, low or otherwise.  It simply promised Timothy Eaton's Irish Protestant common sense: satisfaction or your money back.  Customers believed it." (John J. Wells, The Hamilton Spectator)

When Timothy Eaton's store opened for business on Queen Street in Toronto, no one had ever heard of the slogan "Goods Satisfactory or Money Refunded".  People were used to haggling when they bought goods.  They were used to bartering:  the doctor would offer his services in exchange for a sac of flour.  That all changed when Timothy Eaton came to town.  He sold his goods for cash only at one fixed price.  He guaranteed the quality of his products.  "Whether you were a naive child or a shrewd businessman you could rely on the same price, service and outstanding guarantee," explained one website (  

Unlike today, Timothy Eaton offered "no gimmicks, no fine print, no tricks".  The relationship he built with his customers was based solely on trust.  That trust kept his customers coming back again and again.  One 1937 patron explained that she "felt like she was in the home of an old friend" when she shopped at Eaton's.  Customers knew what to expect when they walked the aisles of an Eaton's store.  Consumer confidence led to consumer satisfaction.  Generations of Canadians reaped the benefits of the promise "Goods Satisfactory or Money Refunded".  It was the key to Timothy Eaton's success.

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