I like sliced bread. It always fits in the slot on my Chinese toaster and goes down and comes up with ease. Sometimes it comes up browner and hotter than when it went down, and I consider this an advantage.
Where I get into difficulties is when I’m presented with some new product, concept, or opportunity that is said to be the best thing since sliced bread. The phrase is clever, but the reality is a nightmare. Have you ever tried to get a digital camera into a Chinese toaster?
Sometimes the actual words are not used…it is all implication. A manufacturer makes a new feature for their camera or lens and needs to trumpet it to the public. To do this, they first have to trumpet it to the retail sales staff. They can skip the wholesale warehouse people because they have no sale in whether the product is stocked or not – either they take what is sent to them or the whole agency is taken off them. Retailers get a chance to accept or refuse, and which ever decision is made, you can be sure it is the wrong one.
As a retail sales person, I found it was best never to use the sliced bread catchline…the people I was talking to either did not believe me or had never actually seen sliced bread for themselves. As a sales analogy it was useless. It might have gone in a bakery, but we were selling Canons, not croissants.
The real reason I am bringing this up, apart from filling your computer screen for a few minutes, is that I am going to attend a manufacturer’s sales presentation for a new camera that has a feature in the sliced bread category. It’s a feature that appears in many of the cameras from this firm and we’ve been told that it will make our lives better. So far, I have never met anyone in the sales team or the general public who has ever managed to make it work. I am hoping that the state sales rep can make it do so right there in front of me on my own iPad….at least I am going to give him the opportunity to try.
Actually I will give him three goes at it before excusing myself and sidling out the door. If he succeeds, I have a week of brilliantly laudatory weblog columns to post on my commercial link. If he does not I will casually stand at the end of the photographic flight deck with two paddles and wave the customers off.
If I can’t find paddles I’ll use two pieces of sliced bread.