Yesterday’s salad

Traveling on Monday morning, and hoping to avoid on-board food, I picked up a $9 Caesar salad at the Balducci’s in the Delta terminal at JFK. A few hours later, my laptop dead, I popped open the plastic box to dig in.

The salad looked beautiful, but it was very sad indeed.  The first clue was a squishy crouton. The second crouton also didn’t crunch. Then I picked up a piece romaine, and it had turned a little red from spoilage. So had nearly all the lettuce in the salad. Red, wilted lettuce and soggy croutons for lunch? No way.

It turns out that I had paid, at 9 in the morning, $9 for a day-old salad at one of the upperiest of the upscale food chains in New York.

It’s so easy to convince yourself to sell the day-old salad, to give your customer something other than your best because it is cheaper or easier or because you’re just plain lazy. Plus, you convince yourself, they won’t notice.

The thing is, they will notice and so will you.  The only question is which will happen faster: you losing them as a customer, or you quietly begrudging yourself and your organization for delivering such a shoddy experience?

There’s old salad somewhere in your organization – old reports or analysis or ways you treat people that might have been good enough when they were fresh, but they’ve passed their expiration date.

Throw out the old salad. Today is a new day.

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