Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Being specific - asking specific

I am reminded of a story about a mother and her 2 daughters.

Having grown and left the house for their studies, the daughters

called in one fine day.


After the usual exchange of words, and about each other’s well-being,

the first daughter asked the mother if she has an orange.


The mother said yes.


An hour or so, the second daughter called in, and after the customary

greetings and salutations, the daughter immediately remembered that

she needed an orange, and right away asked her mother if she has one.


The mother thought for a while, then answered yes.

She actually has only one orange.


With no more time to go to the grocery, the mother just simply halved

the orange, and gave half to each daughter.


When each one got her half-piece orange, this is what they said:

“Oh, Mom, I only need the pulp, and I need a whole orange…”

“Mom, I don’t need the flesh; I only need the rind – a whole orange of it…”


If only the mother was more specific with what her daughters needed…

And if only the daughters were better specific with their requests…





I wanted to buy an induction hob, and since I’ve checked a few brands,

have gone around and visited some stores, I decided to get it from

the same store where I bought my multi-purpose kitchen machine.


My wife and I checked on the induction cooktops on display, asked

a few questions, and insisted on getting the one they don’t have on display.

The promoter for that brand knows the item, so we placed our orders.


They guy said they’d give us a call.


2 weeks gone; no call. I thought, if they don’t call me, I’d call them.

So I did.


The store customer service told me something like this:

“We can’t bring in your items, sir. That unit is available only in store so and so.

We can’t bring it in (to our store). That decision is up to the distributor.

And they’ve not decided to let us sell that unit.”


I can’t believe what I heard, and I don’t easily give up.

So I called up the distributor.


They asked me which store I was going, then I heard a different tone:

“We wanted them to sell that unit, but they’d have to clear up some

space first, sell other units, before they can take in new items…”

“Let me talk to them and see what I can do…”


A week went by. I called now the store to see if there is any progress.

The promoter seems to be blur, and showed no indication at all

of a pleasant progress or outcome.


I called again the distributor, and learned that the lady I talked to

was on a week-long leave! Nobody else knew of her discussion

with the store! I told the lady who picked up my call, that if in case

the lady on leave don’t come back after the week is over, all her

dealings are gone for good!


She then asked what was it about that I called. I told again my story.


The phone was passed to another lady, and from the sound of her voice,

I could tell that she is a bit elderly, and so I thought that the same is true

with her position. She checked on some more details with me, and

she took over, and tried to call the store, and called me back on the

status. Like something is happening, so I thought. I was wondering why

the store was worrying about the space for them to be able to

display the unit; like they are already worrying about the next phase

when in fact they are not past the first one. Or maybe, simply selling

or selling first even before having the item displayed is going out

of the usual process of how items are sold, from the distributor

to the customer. But that is the essence of service, with an extra

step, isn’t it? Nothing is special until it is breaking away from the

common and ordinary process. And I was actually told, that is possible,

I will get the items from the other store. Driving away the customer?


A day passed. Since I was told that she’d call me again, I waited.

When she didn’t call me, I called her.


To my surprise, the store was still in the thinking process of

“clearing up some space” so that they can bring in the unit;

Presumably they wanted to have the item on display – for sale.


I’d have to admit to the lady from the distributor group that

I don’t find this situation a bit pleasant. I told her, “Why don’t

the store sell me the items that I ordered first, then they can

worry about the extra space later on?” This the lady communicated

over to the store. So they finally got to the point of the store

raising the PO after the distributor gave the quotations, etc., etc.


That is today. I was told that I would get the units down at the store

in 3 days time, the soonest. I can’t wait that long, I told her.

This has been since about a month ago, and 3 more days seem

unreasonable, after all that has transpired. I just can’t imagine

that it would be the customer chasing for the store to sell the items!


Well, say what you like, but this is my encounter.

Right now, I’m still waiting to see if things will materialize.

After all, many things can still happen in 3 days…


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