Sunday, January 07, 2007

Understanding Engineers 101

After several less than happy experiences with sales personnel, I feel it is time for a bit of a public service. Since I am certain that none of the contractors with whom we have met in the last few weeks would ever read this blog, I must appeal to spouses and friends. If you have a friend in sales, please pass on the following lessons:

When you are on a sales call to a home and the homeowners mention that one of them is an engineer, they are not making casual conversation. They are also not just telling you this so that you have confidence in their ability to pay for the item or service that you are selling. No, this bit of information is actually a warning. If your potential customer is an engineer, you will NOT be making a sale today. This is especially true if both members of the couple are engineers. No amount of wheeling or dealing will get you the sale today. In fact, the more you drop the price or offer different options, the less inclined your engineer customers will be to buy from you at all. Engineers need to carefully weigh the alternatives. Offering more options will just slow the decision making process to a pace that would make even a snail bored. Give us the data, give us a single price, and go away so that we can think. A deadline for the price is a good idea, but saying that it is only good for that day will not get you any business.

As you may have gathered, Mr. Engineer and I are dealing with contractors to enhance Chez Engineer. We have spent the last 12 or so years considering adding a patio room to the unused area that is usually called a patio. Our "patio" is now a concrete slab that used to have a nasty cover over it. We removed the cover two years ago in preparation for the patio room. This year we are actually going to have one installed. Really, we are. The past two weeks have been spent gathering data and getting bids. Making decisions like this is a very stressful thing for engineers. Dealing with contractors who do not understand us makes it more difficult.

I am getting lots of knitting done while I decompress from each bid experience. FLAK is nearly finished. I have either 12 or 50 rows to complete before starting the bottom ribbing. I have entered the knitting twilight zone where I measure, need 1 1/2 inches more, knit 12 rows, measure, and still need 1 1 /2 inches more. Another 12 rows should do it. Maybe.

I'm also knitting my first pair of socks with Austerman Step. I like the feel, but the yarn seems to split a lot. A nice, plain pattern seems to work the best. Marguerite gave me the idea for this simple 6-2 rib.

Finally, a little sky. This is actually from 26 December. Yesterday's sky was blue. Today, it seems a little hazy from the dust blown about by the wind.

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