When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

26 August 2006

"Product sabotage"

The "short cappuccino" is a metaphor for a lot of what goes on in the technology market today.
Why would a company deliberately damage its best product?

Many hi-tech companies do that, and even my favourite local restaurant does.

It doesn't sound like a winning formula, but it's at the heart of the way many companies do business.

Take the secret cappuccino, which you can buy in two of the leading coffee chains, Starbucks and Coffee Republic.

The sales assistants know what the drink is and they have a little button on their cash tills to ring it up. It's cheaper than the other drinks on offer, but it doesn't appear on the menu.

Starbucks claims that's because they don't have room on the menu board. Coffee Republic doesn't even have that excuse: there's a blank space with no price where this drink should be listed.

It's called the "short cappuccino", and it's smaller, cheaper and better than the smallest size on the menu, the "tall".
BBC News | Business | 'Product sabotage' helps consumers

Hat tip: Seth Godin

Update: In the comments, John asks, "Why is the short capp better?"

Answer: The mystery of the "short cappuccino" revealed

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