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My Coffee Pot Caught Fire – and Other Lessons for Advocates
It was the SMELL – you know, that noxious, horrifying smell of burning rubber… That’s what alerted me to my smoldering coffee pot which was no longer just heating my coffee… No flames (OK – so that photo is a bit of exaggeration), no residual damage to my kitchen, but it did take two days to get the smell out of my house. Once the emergency was averted (I admit – the only real emergency was that I really wanted more coffee!) – it was time to get down to the business of purchasing a new coffee pot. So I did as all good consumers do – I went online. Truth is, that coffee pot was the best one I had ever had – with only one big drawback. So I thought… well…maybe I would just get a new one just like it. It wasn’t very expensive. It had lasted as long as any other (before it caught fire). It made good coffee. My favorite feature was the fact that my coffee was kept warm for 4 hours before it shut off automatically – meaning – hot coffee all morning long! My least favorite feature was that when I set the timer to brew the coffee before I got up every morning, it would emit 5 high-pitched beeps when the coffee was ready. Frustratingly, as often as not, I could hear those beeps from the bedroom, which (of course) would wake me up. No, that can’t be adjusted or turned off. And yes, that small annoyance was enough to make me look elsewhere. That’s when I realized there’s a lesson for all of us in my new coffee maker pursuit. Think, for a moment about the relationships between advocates and their clients. While they are far more personal than my relationship with my coffee maker, there are some parallels from which we can learn a lesson… If there is something that is going to cement the relationship between advocate and client, it will either be a big thing (“She saved my father’s life!” or “He negotiated my hospital bill to…