Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Swinging doors.

Last night was cold and blustery in New York. The wind was howling. It felt more like March than like May. We had dinner with clients at a fancy restaurant in the West Village smack against the West Street and the Hudson River. And the restaurant's proximity to the river seemed to make the cold more biting and the wind fiercer.

I sat at a long table with colleagues and clients and I faced the door. What I noticed as the evening wore on and the wind got stronger was that people, accustomed to opening doors with one arm, couldn't swing open the heavy glass door to the restaurant. They saw the place was open but for a brief moment they went pale, thinking it wasn't open for them, that, given the general cool-ness of the joint, they didn't somehow pass muster and so were shut out.

Now, eventually either the Captain would help them with the door, or they would swing it open. Nevertheless the whole door thing got me thinking. How many businesses make their metaphorical doors hard to open?

It seems to me that in this internet age where you can, in most circumstances, try before you buy, that too many businesses bar entry. Car companies for instance allow you to test drive a car and then make you loathe to do it because you have to deal with a sales-spiel or other driving hazards. Banks promise bright white smiles and free this and that and then follow up those inducements with a skein of 6-point type that could choke Mama Cass. Even businesses actively recruiting newcomers seldom if ever tell those potentials what a day in the life is like. They'll proffer some bad "vision" writing and a few bios of key executives (whom you'll likely never meet) but you'll gain no real sense of what life is like there.

Keep your doors open. You'll never know who might come in.

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