Tuesday, July 28

We value your money, not your satisfaction.

Warning, this is not a tech article. Today I'm going to rant about [stupid] business owners.

The backstory: A couple years ago, there was a quaint little mom-and-pop coffee shop near my office where I liked to spend my lunch breaks. I'd bring my bagged lunch, order a large coffee, enjoy the half-hour escape from my work day, and be on my way. It was such a pleasant experience that one day I decided to invite a few coworkers; four of them in fact. As we walked in the front door, the owner comes over and informs me that I'm no longer welcome to eat my bagged lunches there; in the future I must purchase and consume their food. She says this to me as I'm bringing four new customers into her business! Do you think I ever went back after that day? Nope.

Flash forward to today. I work from home now, and decided to break up the routine and try working the morning at another coffee shop, not quite a mom-and-pop, but a small local chain. I like this particular shop because it's right next to a bagel joint. I can pick up a piping-hot double-toasted eight-grain bagel with hummus, then step next door and order a big ole coffee to wash it down. That was the plan, but after I purchased my bagel and walked over to the coffee shop, I noticed a new sign on the front door. In big bold letters it read, "DEAR VALUED CUSTOMERS, NO OUTSIDE FOOD!" I walked right on by.

On the drive home I got to thinking exactly what is "valued" in that statement? Obviously it's not the satisfaction of the customers that enjoy a bagel and coffee in the morning. The only thing being valued there is taking money from customers that don't eat bagels, because all the rest were just alienated and driven away.

It pains me to say this, but I've taken bagged lunches from neighboring restaurants into several different Starbucks on hundreds of occasions and never once been harassed, and that's why the next time I have a craving for a tomato, mozzarella, and pesto sandwich with an iced latte, they'll be getting my business.

Sunday, July 26

Book Review: Who Moved My Cheese?

Book Cover
Who Moved My Cheese? is a very short book. The publisher went through great lengths to make it feel like a book, with nice thick hard covers and large type, but I think most readers would consider it merely a lengthy essay. It took me about an hour to read from cover to cover.

Who Moved My Cheese? is a parable about dealing with change told through four caricatures that live in a maze, subsist off of cheese, and how they deal with the sudden loss of said cheese. And for those readers that may be too dense to grok the not-even-remotely-subtle lessons taught by the parable, it's bookended with a fictional discussion by other more-life-like characters who liken their own jobs and personal lives to the events in the story.

Of course the point of the book is to open the eyes of the reader to the inevitability of change in their lives and workplaces and encourage them to accept it, embrace it, don't fear it, and deal with it. It's a little cartoony and preachy in places, and sometimes draws out the point much further than necessary, but for just a one-hour read I recommend checking it out so at the very least the next time it comes up in conversation you can participate in the discussion.