Friday, March 23, 2012

Go out and shop

It was time for a new desk chair. I wanted something ergonomic, economic, and exciting. No small order. But I had all of the Internet at my fingers, and I could cybershop in any store anywhere, which is what I often do.

I browsed and searched and followed links. Finally, something caught my eye. I did some comparison shopping to find the best price and was all set. I was just about to click “add to cart” when I got a nagging feeling.

Maybe I should sit in this chair before I place the order. This wasn’t like a sweater or socks that I could easily pop back in the mail if things didn’t work out. This was a relatively bulky and heavy piece of furniture that required a thoughtful purchase. And that idea started another round of searching and following links to find the nearest showroom.   

I thought I would walk in, have a seat, make a decision – and then go home and order the chair online. To get the best price.

Instead, I entered a small product display area, met with a sales rep, had a good conversation about options, and found I could configure the chair exactly the way I wanted.

And still get the best price.  

I also got something else: unexpected value in the overall experience – in seeing, touching, and hearing about the object I wanted to buy. I had forgotten how nice it was to talk with a knowledgeable, friendly sales rep.

The lesson learned? I need to get out of the house more. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

62,391 emails

I have become a very orderly person. By necessity. When you're a one-woman office, you get all the perks and all the work. Multitasking is my middle name. Laundry and research. Vacuuming and conceptualizing. Emails and teleconferences.

So the first thing I do every morning is check for emails and clean out my inbox. If more than a dozen have collected overnight, I start to hyperventilate, thinking something has gone seriously wrong with a project.

So when I used my father's computer recently and saw an inbox stuffed with 62,391 emails, I was gobsmacked. I didn't think that large an accumulation was even possible.

Now, I do a lot of online ordering, and every order automatically subscribes me to one or more newsletters or emails or other customer-relationship vehicles. This makes me religious about hunting down and clicking the teeny tiny "unsubscribe" links at the bottom of the page. Just about every time I get the immediate response: "Please tell us why you want to unsubscribe."

I never have because I don't know exactly what to say. "You and thousands of others send me too many emails." "I find your constant messages a distraction while I'm working." "I just wanted a pair of jeans, not a relationship."

Now I have the perfect response: "I don't want to follow in my father's footsteps."