KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Jun 08 2010

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Variety is the spice

I’ve been flailing a bit for a topic this week, trying to figure out what you might find interesting. Since the showroom traffic’s picked up, and I’ve been talking to a fair number of people, it reminds me of a story.

I once worked with an appliance showroom where the owner had been in the business for decades. He’d partly retired and worked in the back office. His children now ran the business and the entire staff lived in terror whenever he headed out onto the showroom floor. Ed (not his real name) was a gruff, no-nonsense man who’d clearly heard too many consumer questions over his working lifetime because all his conversations went like this:

Consumer: “We were interested in knowing about this model…”

Ed (interrupting): “No, you wouldn’t. You’re going to want this one.”

Consumer (blinking): “Er, okay. But what about the micro—“

Ed: “No. You’ll hem and haw and ask a lot of questions, but you’ll pick this one.”

Somewhere along the line, Ed lost the thrill—too many same-old explanations over decades of sales yielding the same results. Why not get it over with?

Needless to say, he didn’t generate a lot of goodwill, and whenever he hit the floor, it was like watching a covert spy operation swing into action to get him back into his office.

I think of him often when the showroom traffic picks up, when I’ve got a million-and-one drawings for a partial home remodel and someone wants to look at every handle in the showroom for their two-door vanity, or a person walks in knowing nothing about design and expects me to give them decades’ worth of information in an hour. I think there can always be ways to make it easier, to communicate better and yes—to give both the consumer and myself something to be happy about.

To be honest, I worry about turning into an Ed one day. There are some days when I wish I could go back to being a young and shiny designer—you know, the days when so much of it was new, and yet I still knew everything.

Until next time~


This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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