One of the things you can’t help admiring about America is how convenient everything is. Thousands of little innovations everywhere, all designed to make one’s life a little bit easier.

For example, in many supermarkets, there is a man at the end of the packing area who puts all of your goods into a bag and then helps you transport the purchases to your car. In the less pricey grocery stores, the cash registry areas have plastic bags ready-mounted on a triangular-shaped revolving production line (see picture below) so that the lady* at the cash desk can scan your shopping, deposit your item** into the already opened bag and then swing the carousel around for you to put the packed bag into your trolley. Someone invented this device and it makes the cashier’s life a lot easier and mine a little bit more convenient. This is all so much better than the UK, where they just chuck an insufficient number of plastic bags at you having gleaned that you have yet again forgotten your bag for life***.


No dry cleaners would survive where I live without a drive in window. No fast food restaurant would flourish without free soda refills. Nail parlours flourish here. For $8, someone will trim and paint your toenails. I know this because Tilly and her friend had their nails done this weekend (and Tilly left a $5 tip!).

Unlike the UK, it’s very easy to get lots of services where we live in America. For example, if you want your yard to be free of leaves, there are tens of companies who will hoover up and remove all the foliage from outside your house. Five of them arrive in a pick up with five blowers and in team formation remove all leaves in about 5 minutes. You pay them $25 and they move onto the next house.

Some innovations only make a very small difference. I’m partial to an edamame bean. They’re very easy to cook: you steam them, put them in a bowl and finally sprinkle some sea salt on them. I hear you asking, Julian, how can you make that easier? Some American innovator found a way. They come pre-salted in supermarkets here.

I was reading the East Cobber magazine yesterday, undoubtedly one of the most boring magazines that was ever published. In it, Mr Scott Saffran MBA, CSA was answering that age old question “How do I clean up my garage and get things organised?” Apparently, “the best solution is to call a garage professional”, someone who can “help with all aspects of the garage makeover” and “will work with you closely to help sort through the chaos”.

Luckily, Scott – whose epithet is The Garage Dude – is a garage professional. I don’t know Mr Saffran****, but – no doubt thanks to his MBA – he has found a niche business helping people tidy up their garage. He is making someone’s life a little bit easier by offering help on all aspects of the garage makeover. I’m very pleased to hear the generalist nature of his services; I was going to hire a specialist in just the sweeping up part. But before I scoff too much, Mr Saffron – judging by his website – has a thriving business. Just look at the large numbers of before and after pictures on his website:

*Incidentally 1 – it’s always a woman who scans and packs and always a man who only packs the bag. This must be the multitasking nature of the first job.

**This being America, it is often only one item

***Incidentally 2 – do you know why it’s called a bag for life? Because you only ever use it once.

****I’ve done a bit of research on Mr Saffron. According to his LinkedIn profile, he was a senior executive at AIG and AON. He has a stack of endorsements for change management and strategy, but sadly none (yet) for tidying up

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lisa Dunn on March 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Great to see you blogging again!


    • Posted by Anonymous on March 22, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Of course America being America more people are willing to work and the structure helps them. In the UK such enterprise is surrounded by stumbling blocks of health and safety, diversity, NI and compulsory insurance. I look forward to my visit and getting my toenails dones but am wary of the flip-side of the US. What’s the cost of a visit to the chiropodist?


    • Thanks, Lisa. Haven’t been inspired for a while but the Garage Dude did inspire me


  2. Posted by Scub on March 25, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Maybe 12 Principles could expand into garage makeovers…..chris would be in his element


  3. Posted by Marilyn Bishop on March 29, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    With English postboxes being removed in so many places now (about 20,000 red postboxes have now disappeared) I think it would be a marvelous idea for someone to collect your outgoing mail. Presumably you have to have it correctly stamped. Do the Americans have post offices which operate all the functions we expect of English Post Offices>


  4. Posted by Johnk986 on April 29, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Very informative article post.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic. febdcddbkfge


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