If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I care a lot about how it feels to work in my office. (See The Pleasures of the Office.) My extensive collection of plants adds to my work satisfaction.
I needed some self-watering pots for African violets and located four beauties online — asymmetrical and with a green glaze that complements the color of the African violets’ leaves. The pots were on sale, so the value was very good — and I felt like a smart and accomplished shopper for finding them.
A Hole in One or More
African violet pots have an outer pot that acts as a reservoir, into which is inserted a smaller, only partially glazed pot that absorbs water slowly through its unfinished walls. When the pots arrived, I was excited to see a special feature I hadn’t noticed in the photos when I placed the order. Near the edge on the top of each outer pot is a small hole for inserting the spout of a watering can, so you can add water without having to lift out the inner pot and risk dripping and mess. The clever design was an added bonus, and made me feel like an even more skillful shopper.
But the packaging — well, that made me feel downright dumb. The cardboard shipping box was sturdy and marked with the company’s name and logo. But not only were the pots swathed in multiple layers of bubble wrap, and buried in those dreaded plastic peanuts that cling to everything and have to be taken to special locations for recycling, there were actual sheets of Styrofoam — an old-fashioned packing material that has long been out of favor and for which many alternatives exist. It’s remarkable that a business that sells such wonderful pots could also use such ecologically unsound — and undesirable — packing material.
Thinking Very Far Inside the Box
What’s a caring customer to do? As a smart shopper, I’d like to order additional pots from this company, and not just for African violets. But patronizing a firm whose shipping practices are from the early 1980s would make me an irresponsible shopper. Do I need to do the work of trying to educate this company so I can buy more products from it?
Why would a company put its customers in this awkward position? A satisfactory customer experience comprises many aspects or touchpoints, ranging from promotional appeal, product quality, to ease of transaction to delivery, and billing. Your company isn’t doing anything like this, is it?
Onward and upward,