Making your customers uncomfortable

Tomorrow is the ridiculous Black Friday ritual, gaining in steam every year, in which large American retailers run big sales that start at 6 am. People line up even earlier to get in first. Kids are stampeded. Muscles are pulled. Friendships frayed. Credit cards exhausted.

Why? In an always-on internet world, why force people to do something they would ordinarily avoid?

Because they like it. It feels special. They are somehow earning the discount. The store creates discomfort and then profits from it. And the customers save money…

Southwest did the same thing to load their planes. By getting rid of boarding passes, they create a small sense of panic. People line up and push and shove to get on the plane in the mistaken belief that somehow they won’t get on.

Southwest created discomfort and then got their planes out faster. And the travelers save time…

Better is not always better, at least according to some measures.