Spoons – a lesson in quality

One of my non-theme park related jobs over the years was working for a home theater and satellite installation company out of Hampstead, NH called Tkachuk Associates.  In modern retail terms, Tkachuk (ka-chuk) is what you might call a ’boutique’ operation.  It’s run by the husband and wife team of Dave (pictured) and Nancy Tkachuk and when I was there, I was one of 3 employees.  As bosses, I would describe Dave and Nancy as beyond generous, but I’ll explain more about that in a future post.  I know right now you just want to hear about the spoons! dt2003

Dave had a very subtle way of getting his point across, and for teaching us things about the business.  He was adamant about us using the right tool for the right job so we wouldn’t waste time or make things look sloppy.  The most profound (in my memory) example of one of his teachings had to do with snipping the excess material off of wire ties.

In the home theater installation game, there is a lot of wire.  “Wire is cheap”, Dave used to say, meaning it’s better to have extra than to run out!  Because very few people like looking at the “clutter” and “mess” all those wires make, we use wire ties to bundle them together.

Rightfully so, Dave was concerned not only with the fact that the wires were bundled, but that they looked neat and tidy and didn’t pose a safety hazard.

The example on the right shows wire ties that are cut properly – straight across and as close to the main housing as halar-ties-largepossible.  The right tool for this job would be wire cutters.  Even with wire cutters, and unskilled (or hurried) technician could haphazardly cut the plastic, leaving the nub jagged and sharp.  Dave referred to this as “spoons”, because it looked like someone had tried to cut the wire ties with a couple of spoons.  Unacceptable.

I think of the “spoons” often, especially when cutting wire ties or doing anything that requires patience and precision.

Use the right tool for the job, take your time, and do the job right the first time.  That… is the lesson of the spoons.


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