When I attended university 35 years ago, majoring in business administration, the book “In Search of Excellence” written by Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr. was often referenced as a case study in best practices.
As a student in the 1980s, the book resonated with me. I was particularly in awe of the innovative concept of seeking input from clients and front line employees for simple yet effective ideas for enhancing the quality of products and services. The concept’s success was further demonstrated in the documentary movie that was making the rounds at that time.
“In Search of Excellence” was probably the book that inspired me most to pursue a career in business. Even as a young man, I was moved when a business (a store, a restaurant or a service) valued quality and worked a little harder to achieve it. This was (and still is) an important value for me and it appealed to me to think that a business career could revolve around the theme of quality.
But when the business world constantly hungers for a competitive edge, management principles are ever-evolving and replaced by new theories and best practices. And as a consumer, I am saddened that quality has been caught in the crossfire.
Some products don’t seem to last as long as they used to, despite the call to be more mindful of our use of landfills. Some stores are ghost towns, where it is impossible to find assistance when I need to ask questions or to get a product from a high shelf. And when I am able to find assistance, on some occasions I am given wrong directions or wrong answers.
I have also noticed some products I buy often getting cheapened by cutting corners on workmanship or incorporating cheaper materials. It is very disappointing. Continue reading
Filed under 50+, Inspiring
I think we can all agree that getting good value for money is something to which the majority of shoppers aspire. We all work so hard for our money (while our purchasing power seems to be dropping like a bag of wet cement), why wouldn’t we try to make our dollars go farther whether by waiting for sales, using coupons, hunting for deals or repairing goods to extend their life span.
I was reminded of the latter recently, in trying to breathe new life into an old flashlight. The flashlight and I have been through a lot together. It has always been there for me, dependable and reliable, having seen me through power failures, tripped breakers and burned light bulbs. It has also been my guiding light, helping me search for lost items in deep, dark, scary household crevices. Even though it stopped working, I was certain it still had a lot of life left in it.
The first order of business was to try replacing the massive 6 volt lantern battery. Easy enough, but even after stretches and warm-up exercises in preparation for hauling the beast of a battery home, unfortunately, the flashlight still didn’t work. The next step was to try to replace the teeny tiny little light bulb. What an ordeal!
Maybe it is because so many newer flashlights use LEDs as their light source, but this little light bulb of mine seems to be getting hard to find. After about 5 stores, I finally found some, so I bought enough to keep old faithful alive for another couple of decades.
But during my scavenger hunt, the prospect of having to throw out a perfectly good flashlight because of one broken part was heartbreaking, not to mention, illogical to me. Continue reading