Sunday, January 14, 2007

Forced Chaos

Have you ever walked into your room (office, etc...) and found that someone has arraigned your slop into neat little piles? I've done this before, and found that whoever I've neatened their piles, immediately get mad at me and always say "Now I won't be able to find anything!!" The whole idea behind this is that organization, however well devised, is useless if the person is used to disarray.

Take for instance my bookshelves. No alphabetization, no order at all, but I know where all my books are. In the kid's section at Borders, I wouldn't have to have organization to know where all the books are. The underlying motive for this Chaos is simple. It's the same reason I never put TO and FROM tags on my Christmas presents. It's control. Pure and simple. If you are the only one that knows where anything is, only you can control everything there. And this is also why if you clean up someone's desk, they will proceed to jam a stapler down your throat.


Now, take that idea of no organization and apply that to the real world. Are there situations in which chaos is better than neatness?

Definitely!!! Go down the cereal isle at the grocery store. Are all the cereals alphabetized and neatly arrainged? Nope. There might be some semblance of order, but normally, the cereal are simply there.... Now, they're always in the same place each time, so clearly there is some plan. It's what I call "Forced Chaos". The plan is, that the semblance of order is actually a plan to force the customer to go looking for what they want, so that they might find something new, something different that would give the store more profit.

When dealing with books, things that scream for order, it is sometimes better to just put them on the bookshelf and mix them up, so that what the customer is looking for would be found, along with two or three other books that the customer picks up just because he/she can't just go to the book they want, select it, and leave. You don't go organizing the clearance rack. In this instance, "craptacular" is the best policy. Mix everything together, so that you have to go lookin'. The bargain book section is the same way, and it works. Then put in charge of that section someone that knows exactly where everything is (like on the messed up desk, the filthy room), and you don't need organization. Forced Chaos. Make it so where the customer has to go looking.

Try going to a garage sale or Flea market and find one that is organized. You can't. It would defeat the purpose of actually having one. But make sure that you know where everything is. That control pleases the people that want exactly what they want, even impressing them (good customer service), but it leaves the browsers to find whatever they're lookin' for, and then some.

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