The Worst Thing: From Shoe Shopping to Software Development

Have you ever come full circle with a childhood lesson, where you have that “aha!” moment years later, realizing you’re embracing that once-forgotten lesson? I just want to share my personal experience with a time like this.

child in department store shutterstock photoA few years ago, I went to the mall with my mom and dad to look for shoes. My dad found a pair he liked and my mom approved. However, they both quickly disapproved after checking the price tag. My dad put them down, and we kept looking. All the other shoes were too tacky, not in his size, or too expensive. Finally, we returned to the pair of shoes my mom had kaboshed.

“Why don’t you ask if they’re on sale?” my mom told my dad. “They might say no, but what if they say yes?”

I groaned. I always felt awkward when my parents bartered in places where bartering was expected, but when they bartered at the mall, it was the worst. I watched as my dad took the pair of shoes up to the register, and began to talk with the cashier. She smiled, and giggled, and pushed her hair behind her ear. Although my dad could be hard to understand, when he did articulate, it was to ask his question.

“Can I get a discount on these shoes?”

“Oh, no, I’m sorry these are not included in the sale,” the cashier answered politely.

“Do you have any discounts for senior citizens?” He continued.

“Oh, you’re not a senior,” she said waving her hand. “But, let me see if I can get you our friends and family discount. It’s only a twenty percent discount, but it’s something.”

She focused on her register, and my dad turned his head to me and winked. My mother, who had been watching from the other side of shoes, walked over to me.

“Don’t look so surprised,” she said. “Your dad is never shy about asking for things. Sometimes, he’s a bit shameless. But you see, that’s twenty percent we get to spend on you, and not on shoes. The worst thing that could happen is someone will say no.”

That mentality stayed with me through my career in tech development. At CONSENSUS, the question, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” drives my work. It’s not the relief that there is no real worst thing, but instead a constant search for the worst thing. I want to find all the ways a client may trigger our worst thing, and catch it before it becomes the worst thing that happens to him or her that day. As a quality assurance engineer, I take on the challenge to find the worst thing so that clients using the CONSENSUS app have a smooth experience creating demos, sharing them, and getting closer to their sales goals. I find the worst thing, and with hard work from our wonderful development team, make it possible for clients to save that twenty percent and spend it on the things that matter more.