Things That Make You Go Wow

Three items that made a big impression on me
recently:

– First, some quotes, from the Reuters
summit on luxury
that illustrate what is going on with the market in China:

“During the Basel watch fair,
a Chinese retailer offered to buy our entire annual production of the automatic
Golden Bridge model,” Swiss watchmaker Corum’s chief executive Antonio
Calce said.

That’s right: a retailer wanted to buy his entire annual production. Amazing. Also, this is interesting ..

[Lamborghini’s chief executive
Stephan Winkelmann] said new wealth comes hand-in-hand with a passion to own
the finer things in life.

“They come with their
suitcases of money to buy. For me it’s still astonishing that these things
exist. It’s the child-like enthusiasm for the things, which is something for me
unknown in the western world”.

– Apropos of our discussion yesterday, some facts and insights about the Apple stores:

– Apple’s sales per square foot
are now $4,406—higher than luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co.

– More people visit Apple Stores
in a quarter than visit the four biggest Disney theme parks.

– In-store technicians are asked
to deal with emotional customers by using “simple reassurances” that
they are listening, such as “Uh-huh” and “I understand.”

– Employees at the Genius Bar are
asked to say “as it turns out” instead of “unfortunately,”
for a more positive spin on their bad news.

— Employees are forbidden from
correcting customer mispronunciations, because it would make them feel
“patronized.”

— Apple’s retail philosophy is
described by the acronym A.P.P.L.E.—”Approach customers with a
personalized warm welcome,” “Probe politely to understand all the
customer’s needs,” “Present a solution for the customer to take home
today,” “Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns,” and
“End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.”

— New employees are made to
shadow more experienced co-workers and are forbidden to talk to customers until
they’re ready—which takes a few weeks, or more.

– And finally, a story that emerged from the
violence in the Marange diamond fields in Chiadzwa, Zimbabwe. This story was
included in a paper from the Zimbabwe-based Center for Research and
Development, but it’s also been posted elsewhere
on the web. I am including this story because, first off, it’s pretty incredible (and also heartbreaking; you have been warned). But it also raises a larger
point. By most indications, the worst of the violence around the
Kimberley-compliant mines is over. But this anecdote illustrates,
in starkly human terms 1) why the Kimberley Process cannot just give Zimbabwe a
blank check to export from Marange, as some seem to want, and 2) why retailers
should (for now at least) be wary of carrying stones from the region, because
of the troubling past history….

[A] Police Officer,
born in Rusape close to three decades ago, is one of the torturers based at
Zengeni diamond base deep in the jungle of Chiadzwa. On 2 March 2011, in the
company of officers from ZNA, they rounded up more than 150 diamond panners
scattered around Chiadzwa diamond fields and took them to Zengeni diamond base
for torture sessions. The overzealous officer, together with his colleagues,
started assaulting his captives, beating them 80 strokes each 3 times per day
for 3 days.

Then he came to an old woman, estimated to be over 60
years, and started assaulting her. The old woman begged for forgiveness but to
no avail. The officer interrogated the old woman why at her age she was
engaging in illegal panning activities. He said he wanted to teach her a lesson
that she must never return to Chiadzwa again. The beatings continued. The old
woman told him she was desperate to find money to remain alive since she had no
one to take care of her. The officer asked the woman why her children were not
taking care of her, to which she replied that she had five children but all of
them went with her husband when they divorced about 2 decades ago.

The officer said they must be grown up by now and it was
impossible that no one among the five could take care of her. She replied that
she last heard that her last born son was training to be a Police Officer at
Morris Depot a few years ago. He asked the name of the officer and he was told.
He then asked when was the last time she saw her last born son and she said
that was when he was doing grade 2 in Rusape. 

The guy asked where the old woman came from, her village
and the names of her husband and the other four children. Then he realized he
was beating his own mother. He moved away and told his boss that he had beaten
his own mother. The mother was immediately invited to a military tent where she
was given food and drinks before being ‘introduced’ to her son-cum-torturer.

The officer started weeping and begging his mother for
forgiveness. The mother told him that she was in the diamond fields because he
was not taking care of her. The two wept uncontrollably for several hours.

JCK News Director