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My Caffeine Fueled Rant

People who know me know that I drink a lot of coffee.  I’ll drink it hot.  I’ll drink it cold.  I’ll drink it from the pot, 9 days old.  OK, not 9 days old.  That’s just gross.  One of the places I like to drink coffee is a diner.  9 out of 10 times, diner coffee is good.  It’s simple, it’s basic, and…did I say it was good?  Don’t tell me it’s organic, fertilized with bat guano from El Salvador.  I really don’t care.  The other think I like?  It’s usually $1 for endless refills, printed with pride on the menu.

This post isn’t about cheap coffee.  It’s about a pet peeve of mine.  It applies to me ordering drinks at a restaurant.  Here comes the rant.

Today, my family and went out for lunch.  At the restaurant, I plainly saw the prices for everything on the menu but one thing.  Beverages.  Yes, drinks.  Where the hell are the prices for the drinks?  Is this some kind of trick or tactic? Am I to be embarrassed by the fact that I am unwilling to pay $3.00 for a fountain soda or $8 for a beer?  Chances are, if you don’t post the prices for your drinks, I’m going to order plain old tap water.  Screw you and your clever lack of information.  It’s not my job to ask you how much my drink is going to cost.  You are providing me with a service and that includes prices for the food and drink I’m willing to have with my meal.

If you leave the post at that, I think it stands on it’s own.  If you want me to put a project management spin on it, here goes.  If you are a vendor, and you’re doing contracted work, don’t make your customer ask.  I hate the big reveal.  If you’re going to do contracted work, and you fail to inform your customer what the cost is going to be, you should eat it.  Yep, eat the cost.  Why?  Did you promise to throw in a pair of Ginsu knives when you delivered that product?  I’m going to go out on a limb and say no.  Then why would you expect a customer to give you more money for services rendered or product delivered?

I know there are always exceptions.  What if you, as a vendor, don’t know how much it’s going to cost?  That’s fine.  Communicate with your customer.  Treat them like the intelligent beings they are.  They were smart enough to hire you, right?  Then keep them informed and guide them through the options.  Don’t sneak that $5 cup of coffee onto the final bill and expect a 20% tip.

Takeaway?
Vendors:  Keep your customers informed and don’t make them ask.
Customers:  Don’t let vendors get away with the big reveal.  It will just leave you feeling short-changed.

About Derek Huether

I'm Vice President of Enterprise Engagements at LeadingAgile. I'm super focused on results. But I also take the hand waving out of organizational transformations. I come from a traditional PM background but I don't give points for stuff done behind the scenes. The only thing that counts is what you get done and delivered. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon)

2 Responses to “My Caffeine Fueled Rant”

  1. Paul Boos
    May 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I agree with you fully on this principle.

    Some annoyances that often keep me from being interested in products is when the company says – call sales rep for product pricing. Why? Provoide me with the price and or how you calculate the price (you don’t have to tell me how you may calculate a discount). If your price is only competitive with a discount or by giving away services, you need to rethink your model in the Internet age where information is pulled, not pushed.

    I’ve had some recent discussion with consulting companies lately – the subject matter of the work I need is known ahead of time by them. Why not leave me a take away with your rates for the types of labor categories and the description of the labor categories you may use. As paraphrase what Syms always says, an informed consumer is our best customer. I am more likely to work hard to try and get a company onboard that tells me more about them including rates than a company that doesn’t. That does NOT mean I want a lengthy brief, leave me some on target, concise information when you walk away, not a PowerPoint presentation I won’t remember an hour from now.

    OK, thanks for letting me rant with you…

    Cheers!
    Paul

  2. Paul Boos
    May 21, 2010 at 5:26 am

    I agree with you fully on this principle.

    Some annoyances that often keep me from being interested in products is when the company says – call sales rep for product pricing. Why? Provoide me with the price and or how you calculate the price (you don’t have to tell me how you may calculate a discount). If your price is only competitive with a discount or by giving away services, you need to rethink your model in the Internet age where information is pulled, not pushed.

    I’ve had some recent discussion with consulting companies lately – the subject matter of the work I need is known ahead of time by them. Why not leave me a take away with your rates for the types of labor categories and the description of the labor categories you may use. As paraphrase what Syms always says, an informed consumer is our best customer. I am more likely to work hard to try and get a company onboard that tells me more about them including rates than a company that doesn’t. That does NOT mean I want a lengthy brief, leave me some on target, concise information when you walk away, not a PowerPoint presentation I won’t remember an hour from now.

    OK, thanks for letting me rant with you…

    Cheers!
    Paul

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