Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘all-you-can-eat buffet

Our upside-down confusion about fairness

I’m posting 2 quick  posts of Seth Godin.

1, Our society tolerates gross unfairness every day.

It tolerates misogyny, racism and the callous indifference to those born without privilege.

But we manage to find endless umbrage for petty slights and small-time favoritism.

When a teacher gives one student a far better grade than he deserves, and does it without shame, we’re outraged.

When the flight attendant hands that last chicken meal to our seatmate, wow, that’s a slight worth seething over for hours.

When Bull Connor directed fire hoses and attack dogs on innocent kids in Birmingham, it conflated the two, the collision of the large and the small.

Viewers didn’t witness the centuries of implicit and explicit racism, they saw a small, vivid act, moving in its obvious unfairness.

It was the small act that focused our attention on the larger injustice.

I think that most of us are programmed to process the little stories, the emotional ones, things that touch people we can connect to.

When it requires charts and graphs and multi-year studies, it’s too easy to ignore.

We don’t change markets, or populations, we change peopleOne person at a time, at a human level.

And often, that change comes from small acts that move us, not from grand pronouncements.

And what fairness has to do with “all-you-can-eat buffet “?

2. The buffet problem (Not the Billionnaire) keeps getting worse

Here’s the thinking that leads just about every all-you-can-eat buffet to trend to mediocrity:

“Oh, don’t worry about how fresh the mashed potatoes are, after all, they’re free.”

Indeed, as far as the kitchen is concerned, each individual item on the buffet is ‘free’ in the sense that the customer didn’t spend anything extra to get that item.

Once you start thinking that way, every single item on the buffet gets pretty lousy, and the next thing you know, the customers you seek don’t come.

So, the hotel that says, “With this sort of volume… we do tend to encounter a slower pace with our free wireless internet,” has completely misunderstood how to think about the free internet they offer. It’s not free.

In fact, it might be the one and only reason someone picked your $400 hotel room over that hotel down the street.

Sure the hot water and the towels and the quiet room are all free in the sense that they’re included in the price, but no, they’re not free in the mind of the purchaser.

Successful organizations often beat the competition by turning the buffet problem upside down.

Let’s make these the best mashed potatoes in town–who knows, next time, that guy out front will bring his friends.”

The mashed potatoes aren’t free, the wifi and everything else you do are an opportunity.

The cheapest and most effective marketing you’ll do all year.

Posted by Seth Godin on January 15, 2014


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