Do you like cookies? Did you like some cookies from your past that aren’t around any longer? Have you ever heard of Hydrox cookies? They were actually the precursor to Oreos and were around for almost 100 years before leaving the market. I just had to try them a few months ago and I did a video about it; check this out:
I can hear you asking why I shared a video about cookies. Because this post, although it’s not about cookies, is about the topic of change and how sometimes change turns out not to be a good thing. I figured the video about cookies was a good introduction to this discussion.
I’m one of those people who will acknowledge that things often need to change or be tweaked to make sure they either remain strong or get better. I’m also one of those people who decries change for change’s sake.
There are many good changes; at the same time there are a lot of horrible changes. Let me name a few; yes, a lot of them are going to be food related:
* Dunkin’ Donuts used to have all their franchises make their own dough and fully ice their glazed donuts. In the 90’s that changed to where the main company shipped the mix so that the stores could basically just add water and bake. The donut quality was diminished because the mix cost less. How do I know this? Think about the last time you saw them advertising their donuts.
* Pizza Hut used to talk about the quality of their ingredients, and their pan pizzas reigned supreme. At some point they not only decided to change up the sauce but some of the toppings they put on those pizzas to save on costs, quality dropped, and things were never the same again.
* For years McDonald’s milkshakes were the talk of the town. It was a pleasure going there to get a milkshake and fries. At some point the company decided to move away from real ice cream and the milkshakes were a mixture instead; I don’t know a single person who thinks the quality improved any and, for me, it took the joy out of buying Shamrock Shakes around St. Patrick’s Day.
* To update this some, there are a lot of coffee drinkers who own Keurig machines. Early last year the company decided to come out with a new machine and changed the size of the K-Cups, such that they wouldn’t work in the old machines. The company’s idea was to force everyone to buy new machines, but when other coffee companies decided to supply their coffee in the old cup format the Keurig people decided they were wrong (after losing lots of money) and rectified the situation.
Here’s my opinion. When changes are made because they’ll make more money or save on expenses and sacrifice quality, there’s going to be failure. People aren’t stupid and metrics never lie.
For instance, the quality of health care in many hospitals across the nation fell when nurses, who used to have maybe 5 or 6 patients to take care of, suddenly not only had to take care of upwards of 15 patients, but their hours were extended to the point where many of them had to work mandatory double shifts. Also, many hospitals decided they only wanted registered nurses because they were allowed to perform many other duties and thus they could hire fewer nurses and save money that way… even though mandatory overtime probably wiped out those savings.
Convincing people that change has to take place when you change computer systems makes sense. Making a new product that’s inherently superior to your previous product; genius. Making a new product like a smartphone where the only positive change is in the camera, while taking away the extra storage possibilities your previous version of that same phone had; idiocy (I’m talking to you Samsung).
I understand that businesses need to make money. I understand that businesses need to sometimes cut costs. What I disagree with is this belief that consumers won’t notice the obvious change in quality and the company’s attempt to convince us that quality hasn’t been sacrificed. To me, this is bad leadership and bad practice, and is disingenuous to the beliefs of those who were the original creators and those customers who helped make whatever that item or service was popular.
I might be a throwback to the premise that quality should always be supreme and that new and improved isn’t always the truth. Actually, the second video I ever did on my first video channel talked about that; this is a good way to close this discussion while asking you your opinion about change for change’s sake: