KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
28th January 2021
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An article in my local paper got me thinking about how much the sales side of the industry has changed over the years. The Epsom Guardian drew my attention to the story by showing an image that was captioned: 'Simplicity itself: a little loo'.
Of course, as an ex-Council Member of the British Toilet Association and someone who's guest judged the Loo of the Year Awards, this was one story I couldn't resist!
The publication reports that Bourne Hall museum, just down the road from me, houses quite a collection of historical artefacts that aren't on display - including a porcelain loo complete with the beginnings of a wastepipe, measuring just five inches tall by two inches wide. A miniature of the Victorian 'Simplicitas' lavatory bowl manufactured in the 1920s by the renowned sanitaryware engineer, Doulton, it - and others like it - were handed out by travelling salesmen as samples prior to the advent of glossy advertising brochures and magazines (and of course the wondrous Internet!) to show potential customers just how the full-sized item would look and feel.
Nowadays of course, it would be impossible to demonstrate the attributes of most of the KBB items being sold by leaving miniature versions with potential customers. They're far too clever! I've held many a listener enthralled by my description of a loo which is programmed with the individual family members' preferences when it comes to seat temperature, direction/ type/temperature of spray that washes the user and temperature/velocity of air that dries them afterwards. Oh - and there's the choice of music too - all pre-programmed in and selected via a button on the remote control.
And then of course there are the dishwashers that leave your crockery sparkling on just six litres of water (having used the previous load's rinsewater for the pre-wash), fridges that tell you when your food's about to go off, ovens that do away with the headache of turning out a perfectly cooked joint of beef by calculating cooking times and temperatures for you and microwaves that glow a particular colour and play a certain tune depending upon the function being used...
Indeed times have changed and manufacturers keep coming up with new technology; turning out products with features we'd never have thought possible even a few years ago. How on earth the salespeople manage to keep up-to-date with it all I just don't know!
21st September 2012