“Catch a man a fish, and you can sell it to him.
Teach a man to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.”
Tartar sauce is evil.
When I visit a fast-food drive-through, it’s always a freaking hassle. I don’t like pickles on my burger. I don’t want barbeque with my nuggets. I hate tartar sauce in any capacity whatsoever. I like my food my way, and I like it simple, and I like it NOW!
Today the guy passing our food out the window gave us a large Coke and a large Dr. Pepper, but neglected to indicate which was which. When questioned, he looked sheepish and said,
“I forgot to look. Just do like me and my brother do: Take a sip and switch if it’s wrong.”
Tartar sauce is not sexy.
On so many levels this was bad, bad business, and if I’d had tartar sauce I would probably have thrown it at his face. What if I didn’t want to swap spit with my hubz? After all, we were in the middle of a very heated argument. Heated because the A.C. in our car isn’t working, arguing because I went overboard on my family-fix-it plans, but none of that is relevant.
Tartar sauce and the wrong pop make me angry.
And as luck would have it, we each sipped the wrong pop, so of course we ended up exchanging fluids against our wills. I felt so… violated. We were mouth-raped by the drive-through. I was so angry, it was almost as though I had swallowed a huge mouthful of… tartar sauce. *ugh*
Philosophically, however, the whole process made me stop and think about how many things the kid got RIGHT. I was hungry and he gave me food. I was thirsty and he gave me drink. I was in need of distraction from a ticked off spouse and he gave me that, too. Ultimately, the customer was served (sans tartar sauce, thank all that is holy!).
This process embodies the essence of Chapter Two in Chris Guillebeau’s book The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future. When he says, “Give them the fish,” this is what he means:
Serve the people what they want, even if the people themselves don’t know what that is. And don’t make it complicated. And for God’s sake, hold the fucking pickles!
Customers don’t want to be involved
in learning, making, or knowing the details
of the product or service.
(Especially if it involves tartar sauce!)
They aren’t interested in what goes on behind the scenes.
Customers do want to buy freedom and happiness.
Find a meaningful career by making people feel good about themselves.
Do not give them tartar sauce.
When Chris Guillebeau talks about VALUE, he defines it as “helping people”. This lends all new meaning to the VALUE meal I purchased today. I not only got more bang for my buck, I also received the following:
— service in the way of less hassle and therefore more free time
(I didn’t have to cook it myself)
— distraction from my current stress and therefore more happiness
(the hubz and I swayed our ire at the cashier-kid instead of each other)
— removal of hassle and therefore more ability to concentrate on other matters
(because of a set and limited menu, the burden of over-thinking choices was gone)
Ultimately, people “want more of something [a world free of tartar sauce, for example) and less of others [like, say, tartar sauce].” This simple concept is so obvious it often escapes further thought. Chris Guillebeau offers it up as a way of combining personal responsibility with freedom. Remember his equation from the previous chapter?
Take something that already makes you happy (FREEDOM), find a way to make others happy (VALUE), and you will be able to turn it all into a profit (SUCCESS).
My goal in life is now to eradicate the planet of tartar sauce, once and for all.