Although it might seem ridiculous to say ‘for want of a cookie, a supermarket was lost’, it is fact.
It doesn’t matter what the business offers, whether a hotel, a supermarket, a publishing house, when what the customer wants is not available, the customer gets it elsewhere.
The most poignant story concerns fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. If Supermarket A never offered them then people wouldn’t look for them. But, as it began to sell them, people came for them.
Supermarket B decided to also offer fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.
The joke, if there is one, is that very often, Supermarket A didn’t have them. But Supermarket B always has them.
A loyal customer of Supermarket A might believe the ‘we’ll have them by Thursday’ the first time.
When they don’t arrive, the customer goes to Supermarket B. And so, although they went for the cookies they pick up a jar of this, a roll of that, try this other thing, remember they need coffee, and don’t bother to enter Supermarket A.
Supermarket A begins the inexorable slide downwards.