I don't want to be WOWed.

When exactly did we start believing that bigger and fancier is always better?

I had a little excursion to the mall today with my mother. That is always a traumatic experience for me (I am just not that into consumerism), but we planned on ending with a visit to The Cheesecake Factory, which sounded like it would make any general annoyance from shopping worth the effort. After all I like food, especially cheesecake like food.

I have not been to that restaurant (or any like it) for some time, and was looking forward to it.

Now I remember why I stopped going to places like that.

The restaurant was so busy trying to impress; trying to show how much they had to offer and how excellent it all would be that they missed excellence by a far margin. The place is huge, which is the first warning to me that mediocrity is imminent. Then one sits down to a book sized menu with all sort of exotic and seemingly wonderful meals to choose from, so many in fact that it is practically impossible to choose. So I simply picked one of the daily specials because it too sounded yummy. Only to get a wholly ordinary meal without any special flair whatsoever.

Beyond that, my mother too wanted a simple meal, and ordered a shepherd’s pie, which is about as simple as it gets. But in their pursuit of “excellence”, they went and “improved” the traditional shepherd’s pie to something that if cooked properly might have tasted pretty good, but was a mere cousin to a shepherd’s pie.

Generally, I am pretty easy-going about such things and just move on with my day, but I was so disappointed in the whole setup that when the waitress asked how my meal was I said, “Frankly I am not impressed.” I was not fishing for a free meal or dessert, was not expecting anything to be fixed. Just felt this opinion was worth stating.

Of course this made it back to a manager who came over to address my concern. He said something to the effect that “I understand we did not WOW you.”

I am not writing this to badmouth The Cheesecake Factory, but to illustrate a point. When he said that, it popped into my mind “That is exactly the problem!”

This restaurant exemplifies how we often approach things in this modern world. We somehow have gotten it into our head that more is preferable; that bigger is better; that appearing amazing is more important than actually being amazing. Now sometimes bigger may be better. Sometimes more is preferable. Sometimes appearance is the important thing. But more often, this is not the case. How could one expect a kitchen staff for a huge restaurant to prepare each meal skillfully when there are so many possible meals, all of them “unique”, to make for so many patrons. Makes more sense that they will rush it out and one will end up with mediocrity. As I did.

Sometimes just doing one small thing extremely well will WOW someone a lot more than attempting to master everything when it is not realistic that you can in fact master everything.

We need to stop trying so hard to WOW people that we trip over our own feet. Sometimes simple excellence for a simple product will WOW a person so much more.

SIMPLIFY! Stop trying to WOW!