We are an instant-gratification society; if there is something we desire, we want it now. From the ability to get a hold of someone without a busy signal (without them ever being off the grid), to the capacity to buy anything at any time, there is no longer the need to wait. In a world where children do not know what a commercial is and any song is available anytime from anywhere, indulgence is simple.
Whatever happened to “good things come to those that wait?”
I remember a time before computers, when a customer came in to order a television. Sony Wega TVs were a breakthrough technology with their new flat screens. These were picture tube TVs with flat glass fronts that weighed over 300 pounds (or at least felt that way). They came in huge boxes that took up precious square footage. When someone came in to buy one, their name went on a list (list, as in, pen to paper), and once we had enough make freight, we ordered. The client sometimes had to wait a few weeks, and they were happy to do so.
(Side Note: This was the good-old days when, after a big delivery, we had to climb over the TV sets to get to the back offices. If I was by myself when the sets arrived, and they were over a 27 inches, I could not even drop them off the truck. Today I can unload a 75-inch TV by myself. How times have changed!)
This weekend my dryer broke. Saturday morning I was the first one up in my household, and while running around, I threw the clothes from the washer to the dryer, pushed the button, and nothing happened. As all people do, you check things again. Door was shut; nothing was caught; timer was set – still it did not start its cycle.
Here I was, the one who preaches that these types of things (malfunctioning appliances) are not emergencies. I could give you all sorts of excuses about how my family was skiing the next day, so this was my only chance to wash our duds. I could go on about how busy I am, pretending I am somehow more important than anyone else, but these are no more than justifications to make myself feel better about wanting instant service.
The technology of dryers does not interest me in the least. On the contrary, the more electronics the new driers had, the more concerned I had about its longevity (Does that seem ironic to you, too?). My interest was just for one that would last and dry my clothing, as the hunk of metal before me had a 15-year lifecycle. After some vague online searching, we settled on a Samsung, and we did have it up and running by the end of the day.
In a way, this experience enlightened me as to how most people feel about their televisions. Sure there are those that care a lot about what specifications the set has, but I’m betting most just want the same thing as I was looking for in a dryer – a step up from mediocre that will last and do a good job.
There are many AV companies out there that cater to those looking for the above and beyond. The client looking for the dependable, will also be the client that wants it “now,” so you better have a lot of showroom hours. When that TV breaks on Sunday morning, they will want a new one before the day is up.
I’m caught in the middle of these two worlds; I want to provide dependable products to the masses, but I do not want to commit to long showroom hours. Where does that leave me?
At the end of the day, it means that we are not really a TV company anymore as we were all those years ago. We will continue to research and provide the right sets for our clients, but our niche is the install and the overall solution. Who knew a broken dryer could be so enlightening?
Do you still consider yourself a TV company? If so, how have you fought against the human inability to wait?
Heather L. Sidorowicz is the president of Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.