If the customer wants vanilla, give them vanilla

Tucked in a corner of the Parker’s Maple Barn gift shop, which is hidden in a quaint town in Southern New Hampshire, is a sign that says it all…“If the customer wants vanilla, give them vanilla.”  What at first glance appeared like a mere wall decoration, I came to learn it says a lot about this place.  
After first hearing of this place from my friend Michael Ensley over a year ago, I finally got the opportunity to make the trek to get me some fresh maple syrup.  The sojourn quickly turned into one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in a long time.  I had never been to Parker’s but had been to a couple of other maple syrup destinations.  Similar to the experience Terry Starbucker recently had in a small produce shop in Paris, from the decor to the owner’s down home Yankee hospitality, everything I observed in the shop made it clear that the sign on the wall was not just decoration, it was a business philosophy.
So, if you find yourself in the neighborhood of Parker’s Maple Barn in Mason, NH, make it a priority to stop in. When you park, put your name in with the restaurant.  Grab a maple donut and a little hot chocolate on your way up to the manufacturing barn and take the tour.  Do the whole thing, eat up this experience. 
Why? Because the slogan on the wall at Parker’s Maple Barn captures what is sometimes lost in the all the noise of our experience economy.  The latest flash, glitz and glitter are not always what’s needed to deliver a superior customer experience.  If you know what your customer wants, and you give him exactly that, no more, no less; mission accomplished.


  1. Barry

    Excellent advice. Pity I'm in France not, NH but I can go see Paris shop. The thing you notice about France is that the greeting, the engagement is normal. The Bonjour Monsieur, Madame, the shaking of hands, the kisses on meeting and departing – all quite natural

    The French must be amongst the most polite people in the world … but you may need to live here (or visit) to learn that.

    regards and thanks for the above.

  2. Jim, isn't that a big part of the issue? Where did that basic social grace go here in the American culture? Especially, when you're asking someone to spend their money with you.

    The Pew Trust conducts a surve and found that, as of 2001, 80% of Americans believed the constant coarseness, disrespect and genral lack of consideration between people wa so pervasive that it affects them on a 'personal gut level' The survey indicated that the 'ripest examples of rude and infuriating behavior' was experienced in the way people feel they are treated by business and customer service employees. In fairness, this cuts both ways too. We as American consumers need to understand we get what we give.

    I have been to Paris several times and have experienced this. I would put the Mexican culture in that same category. I have had such pleasurable experiences interacting with folks in several places in Mexico.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting…and thanks for giving me a little pang of envy at your pleasure of experiencing that on a daily basis. :) Dites merci et ĂȘtre bien

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