December 23, 2009

Tool Fashion

Filed under: general — Erik Dobberkau @ 15:50

Figuring that I need some kitchen tools because I had dumped my old ones when moving out of the last place some months ago, I went to the supermarket and had a look, because they had some on offer.

It turns out that you have two options when selling, even with simple items like kitchen knives:
a. Sell it so that everybody understands, like “stainless steel, manufactured locally”. No questions asked. Easy as pie.
b. Emphasize the non-obvious benefits (which they did): “extra-sharp conically polished blade”. Now I’m confused, starting to wonder what the exact advantage of this feature might be. No explanation. Instead, I’m not willing to buy it anymore.

Using fuzzy facts does not give you an advantage. Nobody is impressed by things they don’t understand (unless everybody else is, and you profit from a mass hysteria). Here’s the point: if the fact doesn’t have a story, don’t mention it. I don’t care if the handle is ergonomically shaped, I expect it to be. I don’t care if it’s been designed by someone who I’m not sure of to have an expertise on kitchen knives (this can be an upside, once you have the right story). I don’t care what shape the blade has unless there is a reason, preferably one of (no pun intended!) leading edge scientific research for this.

Tools are rarely subject to fashion, but utility, durability, and warranty (hint: “lifetime” is a good start).
The risk of overselling is always higher the lower the perceived value of your item is.

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