Selling Half a Cauliflower

I recall a joke where a huge, mean-looking guy, probably a former boxer, approaches the produce guy in a grocery store. The store sells half-watermelons, nicely wrapped in plastic, but … this customer wants to buy half a cauliflower. Wait, what? The store doesn’t sell half-cauliflowers, says the produce guy. The customer insists and gets more and more angry. Eventually the produce guy sighs, and tells the customer he’ll go ask the manager. Shaking his head, he walks into the back and finds the manager, and says “you’re not gonna believe this, but some damn fool out there wants to buy half a cauliflower.” He sees the manager’s face looking aghast and looking past the produce guy, and … yes, the customer had followed the produce guy and was standing right behind him.  So, the produce guy smiled, turned, gestured to the customer and said: “… and this gentleman wants to buy the other half. May I proceed?”

That’s sort of how things work at our little business.  We might think we have things broken down to an atomic level where nobody would want to buy a sub-component of a particular part, and then someone does. Unlike the produce guy, however, we’re delighted when something like that happens.

Let’s use the glove box as an example. It has a latch on it.  Some customers will want just the latch, some want the glove box without the latch, some want both.  So, we happily sell every combination and it’s all optimal because this way our customers only spend the money on what they really want, not anything extra. Someone else can buy that.

I really thought the tool tray that goes into the trunk lid of an E30 would not be a part that would be broken down more, but a new customer wants to buy a glove box latch, and he also needs the tool tray knob — just the knob. The knob would fit nicely in the same small box as the latch, but if I have to mail the entire tool tray also, not just the knob, it’s a bigger box, so the postage costs more, plus it’s more of a hassle for the customer to remove his old tray and transfer his tools to the new tray.  Besides, he’d also be spending extra money on buying the tray with knob as opposed to just the knob. Him wanting to buy just the knob makes perfect sense. Lower price, lower postage, less hassle.

2015-09-026Problem is, until 2 a.m. this morning I didn’t know how to remove the knob from the tool tray, but my new assistant figured it out for me, yay! So, yes, as of today, I do sell the tool tray knob separately for those who want it. The customer was happy, and placed the order … a nice “win” for everybody.

2015-09-25 14.44.18

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