Writing Contest Example: Keeping it cool when the temperature's rising…

I was a fresh and enthusiastic young clerk at the Early Winters store in Seattle in 1981. That day came a client clutching one of the new- fangled Zipper Pull Thermometers and he was clearly dissatisfied. He ranted for several minutes about how it was inaccurate, that a fellow's life might depend on it, and provided details about how he had tested it against several other thermometers that he owned.
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I was a fresh and enthusiastic young clerk at the Early Winters store in Seattle in 1981. That day came a client clutching one of the new- fangled Zipper Pull Thermometers and he was clearly dissatisfied. He ranted for several minutes about how it was inaccurate, that a fellow's life might depend on it, and provided details about how he had tested it against several other thermometers that he owned. Of course, these other devices varied in quality but during his tests the little plastic zipper-pull model, which commanded the outrageous price of $2.49 was never anywhere near the consensus figure.

The customer then whipped out a scientific thermometer (accuracy guaranteed by all sorts of numbers and regulations and standards) and insisted on taking 10 of the zipper-pulls out to the parking lot to compare. His test would select the exact zipper-pull that he would accept in replacement for the faulty example he had already purchased.

It's easy to be shocked, it's hard not to laugh. The customer is always right. We spent the next hour watching through the back window, biting our tongues and wishing we had that much spare time on our hands."
– Mark Twight, president, Grivel North America

Through July 1, retail sales staff answered the contest call to submit a story of survival and perseverance in the face of challenging customers. The story titles with summaries that made the first round of qualifications are listed below, and each is now in the hands of our judges to decide on the top 10. You can read each story in its entirety by going to the contest landing page -- click here.

Ten lucky story writers will each win over $1,000 in product prizes based on the contest judges' votes. Here is where you come in! Of those 10, one will be named the grand prizewinner, cashing in on a trip for two to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2007. Three others will be named official "honorable mentions," and in addition to the valuable prizes, each will receive a gift certificate that can be redeemed toward attendance at an Outdoor Industry Association-sponsored event, such as Outdoor University, Mountain Sports Festival or the OIA Rendezvous. The grand prize winner will be announced at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006. We will determine the grand prize winner and the three runner up winners based on popular vote (sorry judges) -- those among the top ten receiving the most votes win, it's that simple. This is for store pride, for knowing you have a winner amongst you, so vote as often as you like. Tell your friends. Tell your friends friends. Tell your dog -- but only if he can work a computer keyboard.

Deadline for voting is August 1, 2006.Click here to register your vote now!

Did you miss out on this year's contest? Bummer, but no worries. If you haven't already done so, outdoor retail staff can get ready for next year by activating a subscription now at www.snewsnet.com/freeretail/snewsarticle-contest.html. Then, watch your SNEWS® for announcements calling for our next contest entries and get ready to be a winner.

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