is the design of kevin kennedy

Spin Cycled

This week will see the the installation of my second major purchase as a fully functioning adult, a washer and dryer.

After doing some initial online research, I walked into the first store knowing exactly what I needed, a front loading washer. They are more efficient with water, spin faster, and are supposedly easier on your clothes. All of that sounded great to me, so when the clerk asked if I needed help, I had her point me in the direction of the front loading washers.

Eventually I settled on a very well reviewed model, but being the smart consumer that I am, I didn’t want to leave other options unexplored, so I decided to check out some other stores.

At the next facility I was similarly confident in my needs, what am I looking for you ask? Why, front loading washers please!

“Have you ever owned a front loading washer?” the clerk questioned.

“No, this will be my first.”

“Well let me tell you a few things about them,” she replied.

She then proceeded to explain some of the maintenance involved in owning a front loading washer. Moisture can get trapped in the seal, so you must wipe it out after each load. Water can remain after a cycle, so make sure to keep the door open after you run it. And if it starts smelling musty, run a cleaning cycle or buy some special cleaning pellets to help remove the mold.

A washing machine that requires washing.

“We also have these over here,” she said, pointing me to some top loading machines without agitators.

“These have many of the same benefits as the front loaders, but require less maintenance, have bigger tubs, and are generally a bit cheaper.”

After some deliberation, I ended up purchasing exactly what I thought I didn’t want, a top loading washing machine.

What I found refreshing about this journey was the salesperson taking it upon herself to hear what I wanted, but then educate me on the reality of my decision. I was the customer, but I didn’t have all the facts, so she took the time to help me make a more informed decision.

This scenario has happened to me before, but usually I am on the delivery side of things. A client will ask for some feature, or some end goal, and while their request may not be outrageous, there is usually more to discuss. The customer can only be right when they are in the know about their decision. When a customer wants to move in a direction, it might be helpful to give them a bit of knowledge before allowing them to fully commit.

When a decision about a feature, content, or technology is made by both the provider and the consumer, that’s called a partnership. It isn’t about right or wrong in this case, just being informed versus not, which can make all the difference.