Miss Management: Many are cold, but few are frozen
October 29, 2009 | Galynn Nordstrom
Here in Minnesota, we rarely seem to be anybody’s first choice. Dozens of television shows about vampires are all over network and cable channels, but I’ve yet to see one that takes place in Duluth. We don’t seem to get a lot of national attention, except when we elect ex-wrestlers to govern us or can’t finish our senatorial recounts. When we’re at the forefront of the nation’s consciousness, it’s often because some mechanically creative but judgementally impaired drunk crashes his motorized easy chair into a parked car, or a plane flies over us and misses our airport entirely.
(Of course, there’s at least one occasion each winter in which the temperature in Embarrass, Minnesota, reaches some absurdly subzero reading and news stations all over the country show people throwing water into the air and gleefully watching it freeze before it hits the ground. Most of us are quite proud of our state’s reputation for cold and snow, but we have yet to convince the rest of the country that their constant whining about the weather is contributing to the wimpification of America.)
Despite all of that annual identity angst, however, there’s also a certain perception that people in Minnesota are steady, polite, practical and effective in that just-under-the-radar style, much the same way that politics in Minnesota are perceived to have a noisy process but usually a reliably centrist if slightly liberal product. It can work to our advantage: Looking at the remarkable excesses on the edges of this country, why wouldn’t people choose the quietly effective middle for their next venture?
I figure there’s probably an economic lesson buried in all of this somewhere. Smaller businesses, like most of those manufacturing specialty fabric products to order, probably can’t be top-of-mind in public perception either, especially because they most probably produce many different kinds of products, and expend so much attention and effort doing so that they have little time left for marketing. But a national news story about an out-of-control motorized easy chair could be an ideal vehicle for an upholstery shop to produce an offbeat but sensible campaign to convince local residents to upgrade.
On the east coast, some energetic and over-eager entrepreneur will immediately open a showroom filled with motorized loungers. On the west coast, an overdressed enigmatic ex-surfer will fill a parking lot with loungers using see-through fabrics mounted on pontoons.
In Minnesota, we’ll just reupholster with durable, attractive fabrics, and limit mobile furniture to the state capitol, where it probably won’t move much at all.