Without telling you more than you need to know, there are not too many situations more frustrating for a woman than trying on a bathing suit in the middle of winter. You have to pretend you're gonna lose the handful of kilos you put on eating snack food while you were watching Seinfeld reruns because there was nothing else to do once the sun went down at 4.30pm. Even worse, you have to imagine a tanned, taut, buffed bod when your skin's currently the colour of a giant squid, you're having trouble even finding your waist most mornings and you haven't had your legs waxed since mid-February.
Now most of you men will have no idea of what I'm talking about, because 99.999 per cent of you never try bathers on before you go out in public. If you don't believe me I have one word: Speedos. I rest my case.
Recently, in preparation for a holiday, I found myself in a DJs changing room in the aforementioned circumstances and a series of events brought to mind (as it so often does in my column) something that is increasingly pissing me off: there's a right way and a wrong way to deal with something that isn't quite what the customer needs (in my case a fuchsia thong bikini).
Here I was standing in all my misery, looking quite "unimpressive"(thank-you Word thesaurus, for a kinder, gentler term) when a saleswoman stuck her head in my cubicle. If God is kind this woman will be sent straight to heaven, for she didn't immediately ring Greenpeace to rescue a beached whale (curiously wearing a fuchsia thong bikini). Nor did she suggest that perhaps I should limit my holidays to Antarctic expeditions - in the winter. She didn't even mutter: "You stupid twit."Nope, instead this fine lady diplomatically suggested trying a black one-piece bather, which in truth I had planned to buy all along, my days of thong bikinis having passed some time around the birth of my youngest son and the medical discovery of cellulite.
Now here's my less-than-diplomatic suggestion: I believe more than a few overseas-based IT vendors should track this woman down and hire her as their CEO - immediately. If they did, they might actually start selling product.
Since the beginning of the year, I've met with, or listened to, a swag of corporate CEOs who have done the long haul over the Pacific and crikey they are certainly an abrasive lot. Look, I know they're frustrated. Revenues are down because nobody's buying much at the moment, but that doesn't make CIOs (or the rest of the C-suite) stupid. And stupid is a word I'm hearing from these CEOs a little too often for my taste - as in "CXOs are stupid if they don't embrace (pick a three-letter acronym - you know 'em) because 1) their competitors will murder them, 2) their competitors will murder them again, and 3) they won't be in business in a year. My bet is CIOs are hearing stupid, even if it's implicitly, a bit too often also.
Time for a reality check. Maybe some of these technologies, like my fuchsia thong bikini, aren't quite what the customer needs at this point in time for reasons best known to him or her.
I think it might be a good idea if some of these CEOs went to DJs, tried on a Speedo and asked one of the salesmen what he thought. I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the response is: "You stupid twit."After all, you're never too arrogant to learn.