The problem with perfect

When was the last time you excitedly told someone about Fedex?

They’re perfect. The only time we notice them is when they screw up.

And that fancy restaurant with the four star reviews? They’ve got the fine linen and the coordinated presentation of dishes… it costs hundreds of dollars to eat there, but it’s okay, because they’re perfect.

Which is a problem, because dinner consists of not much except noticing how imperfect they are. The second course came five minutes later than it should of (ten, even!). The salad was really good, but not as perfect as it was last time. And the valet parking… you had to wait in the cold for at least ninety seconds before your car came. What a let down.

A let down?

The place is a gift, a positive bit of karma in a world filled with compromise. And all you can do is notice that it’s not perfect.

As the quality of things go up, and competition increases, it’s so easy to sell people on perfect. But perfect rarely leads to great word of mouth, merely because expectations are so hard to meet.

I think it’s more helpful to focus on texture, on interpersonal interaction, on interesting. Interesting is attainable, and interesting is remarkable. Interesting is fresh every day and interesting leads to word of mouth.

I think our Fedex delivery person is interesting. I like her. I talk to her. And yes, it changes my decision about who to ship with. I also think that Spicy Mina is an interesting restaurant. So far from perfect, it’s ridiculous. But I talk about it.