The art of selling, part 1/2

I just had lunch in town and on the way back to my office I think I figured out how to tell this little story. It strikes me as Tom Peters / Seth Godin kinda stuff. Actually, it comes in two little stories;

First I'll tell you what happened during my lunch break today.

I had parked my car on the street, close to the lunch restaurant. Paid a parking fee in advance for 45 minutes. Usually that covers a quick lunch for me.

However, towards the end of my meal I got into an interesting conversation which I really didn't want to cut off. As a result, my parking time expired and when I got back to my car, it was 5 minutes overdue.

From a distance I saw some yellow-and-white paper under the window wiper, so I thought, oh o… (the parking authorities in Mikkeli are known for their swift response time).

Well, what could have been a greater relief and a nicer surprise than this? The "ticket" under the wiper consisted of a parking voucher for another 15 minutes, so that I was in fact still parking there legally. It was stapled to a, yellow, A5-size ad showing the brand names of the 7 small shops from around this area who were now apparently sponsoring my parking fee – and actually preventing me from getting a fine.

[UPDATE: The 7 sponsors are:

Lastenliike Pikkabuu
KuvaMirja – "Mikkelin monipuolisin kuvavalmisto"
Sport Club
OpinOvi Etelä-Savo
Hotelli Uusikuu]

Only then did I take notice of several youngsters cruising up and down the street on little kick scooters, jotting down the expiration times of all the parked cars. They were literally racing against time and against the parking authorities (who were at a disadvantage as they tend to travel by foot).

Do you think I will visit (some of) them one of these days to thank them for the service rendered and perhaps buy something as a token of my appreciation? I think so, too!

Next I will tell you what happened to me yesterday.