Monday, January 28, 2013

Slippery Slopes & Tires

Nico spoke about slipper slopes. He had a friend over who wanted to exceed their allotted screen time by "just a couple of minutes" and Nico said no, it would be a slippery slope. I mentioned that some slopes were slipperier than others. In the example of the screen time, while a couple of minutes might be a short time, the fact that you are exceeding your limit is clear and absolut. The limit was 120 minutes and you are at 122. Yet other situations are much less Black and White. For example, what does it mean to avoid distractions while driving? Texting is clearly a distraction, but what about looking at the navigation system? How about changing the music? Speaking on the phone hands free? If you wanted to avoid slipper slopes you probably shouldn't do absolutely anything not strictly related to driving while moving. Don't adjust the climate control, don't talk to a fellow passenger. This might seem excessive, and I doubt anyone would go this far, but where to draw the line is not at all obvious...

The topic reminded of the myth about the Nordstrom customer who returned a set of car tires. Nordstrom was a pioneer of great customer service and would accept any return with no questions asked. Supposedly a customer once returned a set of tires even though Nordstrom doesn't sell tires! Maybe this was Nordstrom way of avoiding slippery slopes: if the customer says he bought something at Nordostrom and wants to return it, they would take it. If they start asking for receipts or checking inventory lists they would enter a slippery slope that might end up with some customers becoming unhappy.

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