Will Unwound #831: Evaluating the EvaluatorsAugust 9, 2013
When you are building a house, closets are just a boxed in area of square footage on the blueprint. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are an afterthought, but you don’t spend a lot of time planning them like you do a kitchen (the cabinets go here, the stove here, the dishwasher here, etc.).
You don’t really think seriously about closets until you are ready to move in and realize that you need a place to hang up your clothes. With the walk-in closet being the norm today, there are a lot of options of how to organize your closets.
As a librarian I thought this would be easy. I had outfitted a new 120,000 square foot main library. How hard could a 10 foot square closet with a little two foot square niche be? Harder than a 120,000 square foot library.
First, you take inventory of your closet stuff. Besides clothes, you have memorabilia boxes (3 kids, 4 grandkids), obsolete technology (slide projector and screen), bedding (we have enough sheets, pillow cases, and blankets to comfortably endure the coming apocalypse), knick knacks (objects d’art too expensive to toss but not good enough for the house), shoes, hats, and sun visors. Oh, and did I mention my wife’s hobby is pursuing the lost art of gift wrap? Today everyone sticks gifts into bags stuffed with tissue. Not my wife. Every present she gives is wrapped and decorated with creativity, whimsy, and delight. As a result she has a substantial collection of rolls of wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, and gift tags. When you get a present from my wife, you really don’t want to open it.
I drew up probably ten different closet plans when I finally decided I was in over my head. Time to bring in an expert. I got bids and plans from three different closet companies. Closet World had the best price and best plan. When I told the woman from Bay Area Closets that I had decided to go with Closet World, she looked me in the eye and said, “Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you check Yelp. You’ll thank me.”
“It’s an crowdsourcing evaluation site for all kinds of goods and services.”
So I checked Yelp, and sure enough there were a couple of negative reviews about Closet World.
Now I was in a quandary. Do I take the best plan and price and disregard the negative reviews or do I take the reviews seriously and go with their competitor? I thought back to my city management days. I remembered a city manager in California who gave me an absolutely glowing review about an executive job candidate. On the basis of that reference, I hired this person who turned out to be a dud who I had to can six months later. Then I thought back to a city manager in Arizona who gave a tepid review about another executive job candidate. I went with my gut instincts (this person gave a unique interview replete with action figures) and I hired him. He turned out to be gold.
After much thought I went with my gut again and hired Closet World. They did a great job and their follow up was excellent.
So much for on-line crowd sourcing.