Andrew Burke

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The Last One Lingers
Posted on: 2006-08-14

Now that essentially all the music that I care about is on my computer and iPod, I've rethought my CD collection. Over the years, my set of Ikea stackable CD racks has filled up half of an entire bookshelf. I recently decided that much of this bookshelf space would be better used for, you know, books - so now the CDs are all stacked up, taking up about half the space.

This is a roundabout lead-in to the real point of this post. I don't have a lot of storage space, so i decided to leave most of the racks out at the front of my building on Saturday monring, with a note taped to one, saying "FREE IKEA STACKABLE CD RACKS". A friend of mine had mentioned that in my part of town they would be gone before I could get back into the building. He wasn't far off: coming back up to my apartment, I passed one of my neighbours going downstairs - looking out of my window, I saw her walk past the racks, stop, consider, and then take half of them back inside.

The funny thing is, all the racks were gone in a few hours - except for the one rack that had the sign on it, which stayed around until the evening and eventually did get taken, just before I was going to go bring it back in.

I'm not sure if it's Canadian politeness, like not taking the last cookie on a plate, or whether the single rack was somehow less appealing or harder to notice than the set.

There's probably some kind of retail or marketing lesson to be learned here - but I'm not sure what that would be. The new business bestsellers:

  • Always Have A Float: Secrets of Successful Giving-It-Away
  • Who Took The Last Cookie? Sales and the Problem of Politeness
  • Never Have Just One: Getting Consumer Attention with Volume
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