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More on “nits”

A while back I was talking about "nits" and how you never know what is going to punch someone's button.

Keith Rowe related an incident involving a hotel room furniture project in which the designer objected to some color variation in the grain on some edgebanding. After rebuilding most of the pieces and being out of time, in desperation, he simply switched the location of the remaining pieces. The ploy worked and the designer was satisfied.

This story reminded me of when I used to make chess boards and shipped them out by the dozens all over the world. Being made of real wood, the boards had some variations. They were returned occasionally because the dark squares didn’t match exactly or for some other real or imagined insignificant flaw. At first, I would try to correct the issue.

One day I had a flash of inspiration, similar to the one experienced by Keith. I simply swapped out the boards, sending Bill's board to Joe and Joe's to Bill. Without exception, everyone who received someone else's board was completely satisfied! Of course they were unaware of the ruse and I was not foolish enough to reveal it. In the end, everyone ended up happy and I limited my pain to some extra shipping costs. Eventually I built it in to my pricing structure, figuring that it was simply another expense that had to be factored in.


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