Ten years ago Tom Robison wrote an editorial for Products Finishing magazine that never made it to publication. The piece, "Road Hazards," was a commentary on the driving habits of young, professional women. The document passed through many hands (many female hands) in preparation for printing, and was subsequently pulled and replaced with a tamer piece. I was reminded of this editorial, which Products Finishing still has, this weekend.
As I mowed the lawn, ran errands, etc. the July editorial loomed in the back of my mind. I knew Barb, our managing editor, would "remind" me Monday that she needed it "soon." Also this weekend, due to certain circumstances, I ran my errands in my son's little, red bumper mobile. His Acura Integra is red with tinted windows. It has been lowered and sports rather flashy wheels. Oh, and of course, it has a stereo you hear two miles before the car arrives (when he is driving).
The combination of editorial and driving merged, much as it did with Tom ten years ago. He had had a bad driving experience on the way into work and decided to editorialize about it. Unfortunately, he generalized about one group of people, which is dangerous to do in any situation, and his editorial was shelved.
My weekend driving experience was disheartening. I have never had so many minivans tailgate me as did this weekend. I won't make assumptions about the drivers, but they were all near or over thirty with children in the vehicle. Other drivers decided they knew what was best for me, assuming I was a teenager operating this customized vehicle. They would beep and shake their finger at me as I slowly rolled forward after stopping. None of this happens when I drive my usual car.
Other incidences weren't so negative. Teenagers would pull up next to the car to see who was driving and then back off mystified when they realized it was some middle-aged lady tapping her fingers to Led Zeppelin.
What does this have to do with finishing? It shows how important first impressions are to people. The gloss and depth of the paint finish on a car. The luster of a polished silver broach. The brilliance of a copper-plated light fixture. Opinions are formed based on this first impression. However, finishers know that what really matters is what is underneath.