Life is full of questions. Which is brilliant. I ask lots of questions because I want to learn.
I am immune to that look a certain kind of person gives me when I ask ‘stupid questions’. You know the look. They smile, pan you up and down, inhaling and exhaling short and fast. Then they look around for someone to share their incredulity with.
I don’t mind. I just stand there with my mouth open, waiting for them to answer.
Anyhow, I wanted to talk about asking better questions. With particular reference to one question that comes up in the world of Always Wear Red sometimes. It’s a question I welcome. Because it gives me the opportunity to tell wonderful stories.
Why is your stuff so expensive?
This is a great question. I get to talk about why. I love doing that.
But on the subject of buying things, from chicken to clothing, there is a far, far better question than this.
Why is your stuff so cheap?
This question tends to flummox people. But I’ll tell you the real reason that I prefer this second question to the first one.
With the first question (Why is your stuff so expensive?) a good brand will give me a set of answers that I really like. Or even love!
With the second question (Why is your stuff so cheap?) a brand generally gives me a set of answers that I don’t like. For example:
“We produce them quick.”
“We make them in places where labour is cheap.”
“We produce them in massive numbers.”
“The material is very commonplace.”
“The design is engineered for mass production over all else.”
I don’t like any of that. I don’t want any of that.
I worry that a chicken is £3.
Last Sunday I crouched by the chickens in ASDA. Elbows on my knees. Frowning at the chickens.
They are £3 because (amongst other things):
- 94% of chickens sold in the UK are allowed by law to have an A4 sheet sized allowance of space in a shed.
- Chickens are kept in constant dim light day and night to discourage rest and speed up growth.
- Antibiotic use is routine resulting in 1/4 of chickens testing positive for antibiotic resistant e-coli.
These answers are even shittier than, “We produce them quick.”
And as I say; I don’t like any of that. I don’t want any of that.
Ask better questions.
If you think someone is taking the piss with pricing (profiteering) put them to the test by asking why the price is so high. If they are scared to give you clear answers then they’re in the wrong.
But if all you are interested in is the £3 chickens and you don’t ask why it’s so cheap because you are scared of the answers you’ll hear – you are in the wrong.