What we can learn from Rainy Days!

Ever been trapped in a rainstorm without an umbrella? It's not a fun experience, especially if you have just had your hair done, you're in a hurry and you're marooned under a building, just waiting for the rains to cease, or you are caught in an open area with no retreat!

Ever notice that in almost every "help me" scenario, there is usually a vendor selling umbrellas, and making a killing? Oh yes, I have had cause to buy umbrellas both home and abroad when foresight was lacking and rains caught me unaware, and I needed to get where I was going in a hurry and preferably as dry as possible.

Vendors are always ready for what life throws at them. Their awareness of their environment, their clients and market forces can make the most professional marketers hang their heads in shame. They are always ready to meet the relevant need at just the right time. New York street vendors have loads of scarves and gloves available during the nippier months (Thank God, says the Caribbean girl), but visit their stalls in July and you bet they have adapted to the change.

It's a lesson the shirt and tie, and high heeled wearing "vendors" can learn from the dude selling cold water on the highway in intense heat, during rush hour. I once was stuck in traffic and the Bobo Shantis who sell nuts approached me in the car to ask if I was interested in a pack of nuts. I am not a lover of peanuts, no matter how ravenous I am. So I told the dude this and explained that maybe he should expand his vending horizons and diversify. The next time I saw him, this particular vendor had indeed diversified and had gone into selling channa (fried chick peas for the Yanks), caramel bars and cheese balls. His primary product was still the small bag of peanuts but he took the feedback and walked with a few extra bags of other stuff, which I appreciated immensely. A lot of the other dudes have now gone into granola and other non-nut things perhaps for the same reason - not everyone loves peanuts!

So we have to be on the ball and be ready for any eventuality - ready for a rainy day, you can say - as well as not assume that what we have is what our customers want, and acting on feedback from the people we are targetting can more times than not, be in our best interest!

I have since started keeping a sturdy yet purse-compliant umbrella in my handbag, with the larger gale-resistant umbrella in the car. This post inspired by the thick black rainclouds circling Port of Spain and the rest of Trinidad today.


SanMan said...

no inflatable or tall boots for the high tide floods?

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