Authentic

In a (Gazelle) bike shop in Antwerp, Belgium.

My husband (to the shop assistant): ‘I would like a bike for myself – what do you recommend?’

Shop assistant: ‘Now, that I look at you, the Heavy Duty model for sure.’
My husband: ‘Heavy Duty – very authentic. Describes my whole existence. Let’s find a bike to my wife, too. Do you have also models like ‘Easy Life’?’

Sex – for the good cause

Antwerp Government Office (‘stadsloket’), health prevention campaign encourages inhabitants to choose the stairs instead of the elevator:

‘Those who take the stairs have better sexual life.’

Good news: there are still some governments which think that public funds should be spent on messages serving the public interest.

Who-is-it

I adore challenges, I simply do.

At this moment I’ve been talking to an acquaintance for 20 minutes, waiting for boarding at Budapest airport. We have talked about different things so far, and I carefully analyse everything he tells me, including indefinite articles, in order to

– not show I have no idea who he is

– try to change the above, preferably asap.

We speak English which means he is not a previous Hungarian classmate or colleague.

At this point he mentions that after landing in Brussels he also takes the train to Antwerp just like me.

OK, so that narrows down the search in my mind: he must be a papa from the children’s school or a neighbour from our street maybe.

Then he adds: upon arriving home he just drops his luggage, and heads immediately to the same place where my husband.

Of course!! He is a colleague of my husband! We met at the family day of their company, now I know his name, too: Olivier, and he is a really nice guy.

It’s a pity at this point I’ve lost all interest in our conversation: to participate in a discussion where I know both who the parties are AND what the topic is about, well, anybody can do that, this doesn’t require any special skills..

Design thinking

Question of the week: what is the major difference between the first 2 photos.

Pardon? That the 1st one contains whisky while the 2nd one chocomelk?

Nope.

Any other guesses?

Then I come out with the solution: the biggest difference can be found in knowing the target market segment: while the product designer of the whisky glass could obviously see the world through the eyes of a drunken person, the designer of the Chocomelk apparently had never seen a child before. It would be difficult otherwise to find a reason of a cocoa cup which dramatically narrows towards the bottom, making the whole mug so easy to knock over for 0-7 year-old citizens, being the target audience of the product – while the whisky glass stands solid, impossible to be knocked over.

And you know what? After creating the cup, the designer wasn’t completely satisfied with this Masterpiece: as there still might be children who eventually manage to balance the cup. So he didn’t take a rest, and went further to design an accompanying soucer – you know, with the little circle shaped edge in the middle. So children with exceptional manual skills, who survived Level 1 (not knocking the cup over), can still fail the Advanced Level (placing the cup back on the soucer), so the Chocomelk can still land on the table/ in their lap.

Of course I totally follow the mental process of the designer thinking that the cup works very well with those children below 7 who have perfect fine-motoric skills AND are able to sit at restaurant tables motionless for hours – and I would really not want to disturb him with the special needs of the children belonging to the rest 99.9% of the target group.

I can hardly believe that there have been mamas/ papas/ grannies in the past 20 years who have not seen a child knocking over a Chocomelk in their direct surrounding – or, if their child was lucky enough, have not been sitting themselves by restaurant tables with a completely alert nerve system, being terrified WHEN the drink will be knocked over.

I wouldn’t be surprised if one day it turned out that the Chocomelk designer was financially supported by the alcohol lobby, so to make parents promote their children’s getting used to drinking whisky as soon as possible.

There is always another solution

School yard, long break.

One of the teachers (dragging a sobbing 5-year old along to my daughter):

‘Noëmi, Tim says you have just called him an Exceptionally Wicked Child.’

My daughter (13): ‘Correct.’

Teacher: ‘May I ask you not to call him this name any more? You can see it hurts him a lot, he is crying.’

My daughter: ‘Tim hit my little brother a few minutes ago so hard from behind that Walter is still in pain.

If somebody is an Exceptionally Wicked Child, I think it is fair to call hem an ‘Exceptionally Wicked Child’.’

Teacher: ‘I understand now – still, could you please find another solution?’

My daughter: ‘Well, OK. Since this level of wickedness is really exceptional and does not occur very frequently in our school, in the future I will call him ‘Limited Edition’.’

Leuven

Recently I have visited a conference in Leuven University, Belgium.

Beautiful town.

From this fact and the quality of presentations I immediately concluded that one of our children should definitely come here to study.

I immediately started to contemplate which one of them should be The One, during which process I analysed highly scientific factors.

Among them the most relevant argument seems to be that the University is situated approx. 2 kms from the railway station, which distance needs to be covered completely on cobblestone, and that, on a daily basis, is really challenging on high heels, so it should be our son, Walter.

At the same time, if one of you is aware of a university which can be accessed on a smooth surface, please let me know, as apart from our 10-yr old son, I also feel like deciding on the future of my 13-yr-old daughter, is preferably still today.