All good kitchen designers have one quality in common. . . patience.
It takes a very patient person to gently convince homeowners that they need design and selection assistance, because the majority of them believe that they don’t need it.
Customers with a little bit of knowledge can be frustrating. For example, having a customer tell you that since this is their THIRD kitchen renovation that they don’t need your help can make you want to pull out your hair. Kitchen designers know that it takes years for us to get good at our job. A full-time kitchen designer could sell and help supervise 50 kitchens a year. And each one is completely different requiring its own unique problem-solving skills and construction and budgetary considerations. We simply couldn’t be competent at our jobs if the designs and budgetary trade offs we recommended as experienced professionals weren’t superior to what a novice might propose.
Below are a couple of funny examples of kitchen designers and our battle with patience:
Doug Mottershead is a well-known Kitchen Design Professional featured in some of our YouTube videos. Patience should be Doug’s middle name. 20 years ago, when Doug and I worked together showroom walk-in customers would often have the following experience:
“Hello, how can I help you?” I would greet them.
The customer would tell me that they had all their measurements and wanted to sit down that moment and have me do a design.
“I’m sorry” I would explain, “but I work by appointment and to make sure that the design work I do is professional I need to come out to your home, see the space, and measure it. Can I make an appointment for you or answer questions?”
At this point the customer would be both annoyed and frustrated and seeing Doug at his desk, quickly by-pass me and ask Doug the same question?
Doug’s response was always the same if he didn’t have a customer presently in front of him. “Oh, I would love to help, please sit down! what’s your name?”
“I see from the measurements of the two kitchen walls drawn here that one wall is 10 feet, and the other is 12 feet. I need to enter the measurements into my computer in inches so should I put in 120 and 144 inches?” might be Doug’s first measurement question. “Yes” the customer would reply confidently.
“You don’t have a window on either of these walls, is there one we should put in?” might be Doug’s next question.
“Oh, there IS a window in the middle of the ten-foot wall”.
“How big do you think it is?” Doug would innocently ask.
With hands stretched about three feet apart the customer would reply uncertainly “About this big”
“That looks about 36 inches” Doug would enthusiastically reply. “Is that including the window trim? and should I put it right in the middle of the wall?” Doug might sheepishly ask next as uncertainly quickly grew on the customers face.
At some point during this interaction the customer would finally ask the magic question “Could you come out and measure?”
“Mrs Jones I would love to visit your home and measure?” Doug would reply, then Doug’s appointment book would come out and the first two appointments would be scheduled.
Flashing forward to about three months later I might see Doug and Mrs. Jones finalizing her cabinet order. “Mrs. Jones YOU have designed a beautiful kitchen!” Doug would exclaim. At this point I would lean over to see Mrs. Jones’s design on Doug’s computer screen. And of course, I’d see another signature Doug Mottershead kitchen design and simply smile approvingly.
Doug’s amazing patience has propelled him to record setting sales at every company he has worked for.
Another person that appears in one of our YouTube videos is Mark “The Pickleman” Mitten. Mark plays “The Engineer” in our video below. As a former standup comic Mark is very funny and as a good friend of mine, he has heard stories about kitchen designers having their patience tried. About 15 years ago Mark used his sense of humor and the information from my stories to torture Ed Sossich a kitchen designer friend of mine that Mark had heard me talk about. Ed is now Main Line Kitchen Design’s Operation Manager.
Fifteen years ago, Ed was working as a kitchen designer in a Lowes store when Mark approached him posing as a potential client.
Mark greeted Ed sitting at his desk with the following:
“Hello, since it looks like you aren’t doing anything, I’d like to get you to put my kitchen design on your computer. I have all the measurements in my head and because I have designed a kitchen before and I’m a Real Estate Professional I don’t need any design help from a designer. When you finish putting MY design on your computer, I would also like to speak to whoever’s in charge to get discount.”
Mark watched Ed’s expression slowly change and the color in his face turn red as he finished his prepared speech. He waited patiently for Ed to absorb everything and just before Ed could respond Mark blurted out. “Sorry man, I’m a friend of Paul McAlary’s and I couldn’t resist busting your stones. I know you’re a friend of his too.”
Mark’s joke is actually not uncommon. Kitchen designers will sometimes leave voice messages for other designers that they haven’t spoken to recently starting out in a disguised voice and leaving a frustrating message before revealing who they are. As designers we get patience testing calls and voicemails frequently, so it never ceases to be funny trying another designer’s patience. Much like getting a guard at Buckingham palace to smile.
Below is Main Like Kitchen Design’s variation of this inside joke: