Friday, March 25, 2011

Coming from a mind-set of Lack

(BTW, I've just updated my money article.) 

This is a page from The Trick To Money is Having Some.

This page is funny, and typically Wilde. Many years ago I told a friend that I'd bought a big work chair for 800 Pounds Sterling. He said I was crazy, and that I could have gotten it for half the price, a friend of his could have made it for me.
He couldn't see that even if: 1) I had cared, 2) and his friend really *could* make a decent simili, which I doubted, it still wouldn't be the same chair.

Even years before I had much money to throw around, I bought a quite expensive racing bike. People were astounded at how much money I'd used at it ($900, about twice what a typical "good bike" cost then). I found I could find common ground by finding an area they knew well, because within that area, they were familiar with a scale of quality and cost. One guy said he knew motorcycles. So I said "would you use a cheap wrench when working on a motorcycle?" He said "no, they break immediately," and he started to understand.

Sure, there are companies which take advantage of the fact that some people will pay a lot extra for illusory values. So you have to learn to differentiate between qualities which matter and those that don't. One clue is that when a price gets above 10 times the average, you're probably over-paying.

I should note perhaps that Wilde's chapter excerpted above is not about being willing to spend, but about being willing to charge good money for good work. A different area, but I shouldn't be surprised if they are closely related.


TC [Girl] said...

Funny excerpt! Thanks! It always cracks me up when a store talks someone out of paying more for an item...not realizing how it will benefit him, as well, if the person buys it! Heck...*why* even stock it, if you don't plan to sell it?! :-/

Like restaurants, as well: I think it is so RUDE when a waitress swings by with the bill (the only time [s]he'll make an effort, IF no booze is ordered! You're already a 'Nobody' in her book due to that fact!) without having asked if the customer would like anything else. It's RUDE and...doesn't give the restaurant the opportunity to gain anymore profit in, say, being able to offer a dessert and/or after-dinner coffee, etc. They've ended the opportunity to profit when they slap down the bill, prematurely! Guess what: they don't get as good of a tip from me, either, due to their POOR *CUSTOMER SERVICE*! I often wonder how long a business with that type of carelessness will be able to last. I know one thing: I'm NOT returning!

eolake said...

Good points.
It's also areas Stuart touch upon in the book. A waiter asked him about how to get good tips. He told him that he should go well out of of his way to be as friendly and service-oriented as humanly possible. Well above and beyond the call of duty. Later the guy told him he'd already made more tips than ever before.

Jim said...

My grandfather was a Norwegian Lutheran minister, a forceful and popular speaker. He told my dad that he couldn't preach a good sermon unless he had five dollars in his pocket. As a kid I didn't understand his point.

After living in poverty as a starving artist for awhile during the 60s, and was always thinking "poor". I changed my ways and learned woodworking, then started a very profitable furniture and cabinet shop, building custom pieces for the wealthy. I remembered my grandpa's words, and always kept a minimum of $300 in my wallet. If I needed to use any of it, I always replaced it the next day. I've done it for decades now, and it helps keep that sense of lack at bay.

Charles said...

Unfortunately, service people are seldom well-trained.

New wait staff nearly always assume tipping status based upon how you look, and often get into a cycle of "no one tips well, why should I give any thought to my job?" This will NOT increase tips!

I've had entire restaurants ignore us when we were the only people there--not by staying out of sight, but standing around gabbing in the customer area!

I had a meal which was pretty bad, the waitress asked me how things were, I told her--in detail.

"Oh." She says and walks away.

I then had the exact same conversation with the girl at the register.

Why do they bother to ask?

My grandfather was a salesman traveling some 90% of the time. He was also extremely interested in good food. I swear the man remembered every single meal, good or bad--he'd had in his 95 years.

My first strong memory of him is him calling for the chef in fairly high-end restaurant.

When the chef came out, he harangued him because the boiled potatoes were rubbery--while bouncing a steak knife off of the potato.

He also was unhappy enough that he forgot the tip--and mailed the waitress a substantial tip the next day--the service had been great.

For wait staff, there are a fairly large collection of actions which will increase your tips--but few seem to even think to look for them.

Most of them basically consist of creating a relationship between yourself and the customer which goes beyond "I take your order and bring it back." Personalized service pays much better.

One that works for me is to avoid asking me how things are:
a) before I've taken even a bite.
b) while I'm chewing
c) asking and then immediately leaving without waiting for an answer (same place that ignored us for a half-hour when they were empty.)

I'm a programmer. I come into a company on a contract, and I'm usually productive from day one or two--often turning in the first stuff within a couple days. This always surprises my clients--many people take a month or more to be productive (I watched one guy play solitaire, and avoid mandatory meetings for 3 months before they fired him!)

I'm more productive than the average, and I charge more per hour. But that doesn't mean that the project costs more, as I finish sooner, and very, very seldom have to fix anything I write--at least so long as I get to say when it's finished. (I learned to never finish the user interface until everything else worked and had error handling in place--a manager who sees a program that looks ready to go can seldom resist the urge to put it into production....)

But it's difficult to sell clients who are determined to pay as little as possible on an hourly basis.

Computer consulting is also often a rip-off for the client. Many consulting companies use contract workers, and the first question out of the mouth of the rep is usually "How cheaply will you work?"

They then go to the client and sell very hard in order to collect as much as possible.

The end result is that the client may pay many times the wage of the worker to their company, you can pay 200 an hour for a 20 an hour worker. And it's not passed on in benefits....

In nearly every other business agents collect a set percentage of the sale price.

It's rather irritating the first time you find one of your companies invoices at the client and see what you are earning compared with what you are being paid. It gets extremely irritating with time.

It has intrigued me that since the US entered it's 'service' economy phase, it's become nearly impossible to find good service!

And if there's one aspect of a business that is always discussed by customers, it's lack of quality in product or service. To comp a meal is to short-circuit 50 or more people from hearing about how bad your service can change a bad report into a good one.

john page said...

I hate it when people use this just to try to pat themselves on the back. It's also funny how many people think no one is ever as hardworking or productive as they are.