It’s the little things that matter…and also irritate.
by Adam Zack — September 4, 2019
It’s been said many times, including in this blog ad nauseum, that it’s that little things that add up to the larger success. The small kindnesses and details really are more important than one big, sweeping gesture. But it’s also the little things – done repeatedly and with no clear path of correction – that add up to bug the crap out of you and eventually change shopping habits. Example: I was in a store in Seattle recently (Whole Foods) and their bakery and pastry case looked great. They had well decorated, delicious looking cakes. Then I got to the cake with fresh strawberries and while they were red and beautiful, they had the stem on them. Now this has been a pet peeve of mine for many years. To eat that strawberry, which is usually glazed too and has icing on the bottom side, you have to pick it up by the green top and either eat it whole, or cut the top off and put it back on the cake. It’s a huge pain in the ass. Why, oh why, I wonder every time I see strawberries on a cake, can’t the decorator cut the stem completely off and put the strawberry on the cake cut side down. It’s a beautiful presentation and still glazable. And I’ve seen it in lots of bakeries. It’s like the world’s first cake decorator kept the stems on (he liked the color combination? He liked eating strawberry stems?) and everyone just followed his lead forever. Little things like that, or like always running out of napkins at lunch time or always being out of rotisserie chickens at 5:00 that will eventually drive customers away. It’s not like math – two negatives, no matter how small, will never make a positive.
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