Thursday, June 27, 2013

Little Things

Small, pleasant surprises are hard to come by. I think it's the small things that build loyalty.

My first car was a 1995 GMC Sonoma. This was one of the first cars with factory-installed keyless entry, and my dad had to order it from the dealer to get the option. It was a nice convenience, but unless you were close enough to hear the mechanical locks move, you had no way of knowing anything happened. The range decreased to almost nothing as the car aged, making sure you'd always be in earshot of the locks. Still, an unlock sounded almost exactly the same as a lock -- which meant one could never be confident the doors were locked without trying the handle.

There have been lots of cars floating through the family over the years. My grandfather has a Chevy Equinox, designed more than a decade after the Sonoma. My mom and sister both have Honda Civics from the 2010's. All three give a friendly beep when locking the car from the remote. But they're all missing something I never would have noticed without my car.

Now, I have a 2004 Volkswagen GTi. It was made in 2004, but the design dates back to 1997, making it almost as old as that first truck I had. It has keyless entry, too, but it gives me a reassuring beep every time I close it. The range hasn't seemed to decrease at all, despite being 9 years old. And my favorite part? I can open the hatch, hit the lock button, grab something with one arm, close the hatch with the other, and hear a reassuring beep -- it remembered my request to lock the car, and told me when it was done.

Newly understanding just how much the little things matter, I'm thinking about how to build these niceties into everything I make.

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