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Egan Dry Erase Markers

At USG we have many white boards in our conference rooms, and most of them are accompanied by Egan brand dry erase markers. Every time someone starts to use one of the markers, I get rather agitated; the odor of the markers is nearly unbearable. This is not just my thought, it is a belief that I share with others; I have witnessed my boss commenting on how badly the markers smell as he crinkles his nose. The strangest thing is, my coworkers who use the markers use them like they have no idea they smell so badly.

I decided to take things into my own hands, as I usually do, and I sent a letter to the manufacturer of the markers. It appears as though they couldn’t care less how badly they smell, as long as they produce “maximum satisfaction” when erasing. Now, I don’t know what sort of person only rates a marker based on its erasability, or what person only asked the focus group to rate its “erasability” and not anything else, but the ENTIRE experience of using the marker should be factored into the “satisfaction”. I’ll tell you this; I will not be investing in Egan if their thought process is so convoluted.

Here is the e-mail chain:

To Egan Visual and Teamboard Inc.
October 10, 2008

To Whom it May Concern:

During our meetings, when your markers are used, it becomes apparent that the markers smell very badly. Can anything be done about this?

To Ed
October 15, 2008

Hi Ed,

Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about the smell of the markers. Low odor markers will not produce maximum satisfaction with the ability to erase a marker board. The only option to guarantee the boards will clean is to use a high quality solvent based marker such as ours.

I’m sorry I can’t be more help!
Kind regards,
Jodi Blaber
Egan Visual and Teamboard Inc.

To Egan Visual and Teamboard Inc.
October 15, 2008

Jodi,

I understand that the low odor markers may not erase as well as the full odor, but from my experience, the low odor markers (such as Expo’s) ability to erase is perfectly acceptable. Yes, the board must be cleaned with a cleaner every once and a while, but that is also acceptable. The high odor markers may erase better, but the smell is completely unacceptable and intolerable for normal use in low ventilation conference rooms.

In terms of consumption, which is the business that you appear to be in with markers, you would want the user to use the markers as much as passable. If the markers smell badly enough that several people during meetings make comments about the smell of the markers, and the nausea that ensues after their use is so incredibly bad, the amount of use your markers see will be minimal compared to other brands.

So in terms of consumer satisfaction (low odor trumps erase ability) and business model (user consumption) I recommend that your company begin designing and marketing low odor markers. Would you want to participate in meetings where your companies markers are used during the entire meeting?

To Ed
October 16 2008

Hi Ed,

Thank you for your feedback. I am sorry for your experience with the markers. I am unable to comment on the level of ventilation in your board room. I will let you know that we do not typically receive complaints on our markers. I do know that we receive many complaints from customers using low-odor markers as erase ability suffers and frequency of cleaning increases. I am glad you have success using the low-odor markers.

I will pass your comments on to our Marketing department who keeps track of customer input for product design and improvement. We appreciate customer feedback at Egan and take it into great consideration.

Regards,
Jodi Blaber
Egan Visual and Teamboard Inc.

My final reply will be this, a public rebuttal:
It is RARE that a consumer like myself will take the time and effort to complain about something so insignificant in their life. Most users would make a very quick decision to A) throw the marker away and B) note the brand so that they never buy it again. Your company should consider itself lucky they someone is informing you of the inadequacy of your product. Not only informing you, but pushing you to correct it.
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