We can learn a lot from the things we love or hate, so I decided to try this exercise suggested by Mark Vincent, Founder and Senior Design Partner at Design Group International, only I decided to choose just three of each instead of five.
Three Favourite Brands (not in any particular order):
- Kin’s Farm Market – specializing in fresh fruits and vegetables. Their motto is “we sell freshness,” and they’ve resisted suggestions to sell salad dressings or other related products, so they can focus on their commitment to fresh produce.
- Vancouver City Savings Credit Union – more commonly known as Vancity, now the largest credit union in Canada, with a triple bottom line: financial, environmental, socially sustainable.
- Toyota Prius – at first I felt as if I were driving a space ship since the push button start and electronic dashboard display seemed so foreign, but I’ve gotten used to that, love the hybrid energy-saving, and it’s a bonus having the door unlock automatically so I don’t have to fish for my keys when my arms are full of groceries.
Three Not Favourite Brands (following Mark’s caveat that these need to be things I actually use, and here I’m “cheating” as he did by using categories instead of individual companies):
- Any company that answers the phone with an automated and apparently endless series of menus especially if I’m forced to phone in because the website can’t do what needs doing – one time when I finally reached a real person and expressed my frustration, I was told “you can dial 0 for an agent at any time.” “Why isn’t that given as one of the options then?” I asked. “We don’t put it on the menu because then everyone would choose it.”
- Any cell phone – my church cell phone is very basic to receive and make calls on the go, lets me text a quick message, and doubles as a camera, but any cell phone also means more radiation in my life that I don’t need, so I limit my use, and try to use the speaker so I don’t have to hold the phone close to my ear.
- self-checkout at the grocery store – I usually shop at a smaller store where all the cashiers are real people, but I use the self-checkout at other grocery stores on occasion. The first time, I had too many things that I didn’t want to bag so the machine called for assistance, then the paper ran out for printing the receipt and someone had to come to fix that only she didn’t know how and had to call someone else, and soon there were three staff trying to get the thing working again—ah, new technology!
What I learn from these:
- the importance of focus, of knowing your goals/priorities, and not getting distracted by other things.
- nothing is perfect—even favourite brands have their down side. Soon after we got our Prius we heard reports of Toyota’s run-away vehicles, but so far I still consider it a favourite.
- I and others are willing to put up with some of the not-so-good qualities of a product/brand if the other benefits are great enough. Is that unhealthy compromise, or just the reality of living in a complex world?
- I have a lot more to think about!
Writing/Reflection Prompt: What can you learn from your favourite and not-so-favourite brands?
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