Monday Morning Message on Lean – Lean Shopping – Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6, 2010

Well, I hope everyone survived Thanksgiving with nothing worse than a full stomach. We quickly moved on to “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.” I’m surprised we made it through all that no worse for the wear.

Now, I have to mention that a lot of things in my life I claim to be Just-in-Time (JIT). I think I usually say that if I am trying to do something right before the deadline. So I will admit that when it comes to Christmas shopping I can be very JIT, as in December 24th. A friend of mine mentioned “What of you applied Lean to your Christmas shopping practices?” What a strange concept, but here it goes.

My first thought was to not buy any presents at all, therefore saving me all the time and money involved. I could reinvest that time and effort into something more useful (like writing better blog postings). Just think of all the waste I avoided – no inventory, no transportation, no defects (as in getting the wrong gift). I might go down in history as one of the greatest Lean Holiday thinkers of all time! Oh wait, I also might go down as the ultimate Scrooge. Besides I think I should at least get something for my wife to be on the safe side.

That brings me to me second thought of how to apply Lean to holiday shopping – have my wife do it for me. Once again, I could save a lot of time not having to fight traffic to go to the mall, spend my time searching for the perfect gift and hopefully finding a salesperson that would check me out – all in time to make it back to watch the football game on TV. After thinking about this approach I found that there may be some flaws. For instance, if I allow my wife to get her own present, I may have gotten her something really, really expensive this year without even knowing it. Good for her; not so good for my wallet. On the other hand, she might get me socks, just socks. I think I need to alter this approach. Maybe I could hire a professional shopper. Well, once again I’m not sure what the results would be, plus the expense. I’ll have to pass on that one for now.

O.k. I think I am getting warmer. Maybe I could do all my Christmas shopping on-line this year. Do a few Google searches, find something that I think is nice and just plunk down the ol’ credit card. Sounds like a plan to me. I missed “Cyber Monday”, but maybe they’ll allow me a second chance. Besides everyone offers free shipping on-line now. I have a friend that tells me he ONLY buys if they offer free shipping. I have to remind him that “Free shipping is not free”, just ask Milton Friedman (Nobel Prize Winning Economist, “There no such thing as a free lunch.”).

Well, at this point I think I’ll have to come up with some other ideas on how to make holiday shopping lean. I could just rely on Santa, but he’s a pretty busy guy this time of year. If you have any ideas or suggestions for me, let me know. I only have three weeks left!

Thanks and good luck with your list! – Tony

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