At 211-degrees, water is hot. At 212-degrees, it boils. And as Sam Parker and Mac Anderson point out in their book, The Extra Degree, it’s just that one extra degree of effort (in business and in life) that can separate the good from the great. Just a little bit extra.
Last week my wife and I dropped our teenage daughter off at the movies and decided to kick around the mall for a few hours instead of driving home and having to come all the way back.
Though we don’t normally go into Sears, we had to walk through the store because of the parking spot we found outside the entrance. And while moving through the fitness section, I noticed the sale they were having on treadmills. Mine happens to be about 12 years old and is slipping, so I took a closer look.
Fifteen minutes later, we had dropped $1,500 on a sweet new treadmill (that we really didn’t need), which was to be delivered on Monday (in six days). The kid who (barely) helped us was thrilled to have collected a nice commission bonus just before quitting time on what had been a slow day. He was a nice kid, and I felt good for him.
Fast forward to Friday night ad I’m whipping up a birthday dinner for my wife. Company is coming in 30 minutes, when I see sparks flying around inside the oven window. I turn it off, run downstairs and shut off the fuse, and – in a panic – make an executive decision to cook the dinner (linguini with white clam sauce) in the microwave. Eww.
On Saturday morning, reality sets in. We need a new stove.
Stove or treadmill? Eat or exercise? “Let’s call and cancel the treadmill.”
“I feel bad for the kid,” Michele says to me. “Yeah, me too.”
The Appreciation Marketing expert in me was wondering what would have happened if that kid had sent a thank you note or even called or left us a voicemail to personally thank us. I have to think that we wouldn’t have cancelled. I am certain, however, that if Sears had delivered the treadmill faster, the sale would have certainly stuck.
So, as it is, we’ll be getting a new oven in a few days and I’ll be hanging clothes on the old treadmill for a while longer.
Still, I feel bad for that kid.