I was recently in San Francisco on my way home from a Giants Baseball game at AT&T Park.
As I was leaving the stadium I passed two hotdog stands on my way out. The first, a guy who was absolutely loving it. The classic American bellowing at the top of his voice “hotdogs! get your hotdogs!” He was so passionate, so clear and direct it seamed like he had his shit together. His hotdog stand screamed quality.
The other was a more timid man, quietly standing behind the grill muttering “hotdogs, hotdogs, hotdogs” under his breath as if he were trying to do a sneaky drug deal on the side of the street. Although selling them for a whole dollar cheaper, the impression I got was that his dogs were potentially lined with bath salts.
I’m sure now that these two vendors probably were selling a very similar product. And maybe if I had bought my hotdog off the dodgy dealer he would have given me a better deal and an experience that would have made me a regular customer. However, I wasn’t willing to risk it.
First impressions can be everything. We associate quality so much with the image, the line-up of people and the confidence radiating from their bellowing voice that it becomes our only option. In that moment I wanted the best hotdog, even if it cost me a whole extra dollar.