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February 13, 2007

Eliminate Lengthy Instructions

Dunkindonuts Barista: Hi. May I take your order?
Customer: I'd like a coffee, please.

Barista: Here you go. That'll be $2.50.
Customer: This isn't what I wanted.

Barista: You said you wanted a coffee.
Customer: You call this coffee? I've seen thimbles bigger than this. Plus, it's cold.

Barista: You didn't say you wanted large, and you didn't say you didn't want iced.
Customer: Why didn't you just ask before you served me this garbage?

Barista: Well we have the instructions on the sign over there. I figured if you cared what kind of coffee you wanted, you'd have followed the instructions.
Customer: This is ridiculous!

Barista: You think THAT'S ridiculous? Do you know how many customers we get in here on a single shift? Hundreds. You know how much time it takes to pull information out of a single customer? Minutes! I don't have time for that. If you don't come prepared, you get what you get. NEXT!
Customer: But I...

Barista: NEXT!
Customer: You lousy...

Barista: NEXT!
Customer: (leaves in a huff)

There are some things in life that are so simple that they shouldn't require instructions. In some cases (like "push" or "pull" instructions on doors), if you have to provide instructions, your product is too complicated and needs to be redesigned. Make an effort to simplify, but most of all, don't be condescending toward your customers by giving instructions that are not needed-- unless the courts have forced or are likely to force you to, of course.

Thanks to Seth Godin for the image.

- Cam Beck


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I loved this! I laughed because here we have Starbucks selling books on how to order their coffees and slowly training their customers to call the order to the T. But in a way that customers actually WANT to participate in.

It's that moment of "oh... that person doesn't know how to order..." when standing in line and watching some poor soul try to incorrectly order a "grande soy no water tazo chai". ;)

Hilarious dialogue Cam - I can't stop laughing...

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