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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Bad Sign: Parking lot encounter leads to perspectives on cost of quality


QUALITY IN THE FIRST PERSON

by Farhad Moeeni
I kept my head down as I played hopscotch with the puddles on the mall parking lot. The icy mist made my eyes tear up as I held the Christmas packages in one arm and fumbled for my car keys. I started the engine, wiped some fog from the windows and started to back out, looking behind for cars that might be careening toward me from any angle.
Suddenly—what was that? I looked around and saw a signpost next to my windshield. I pulled forward and got out to survey the damage. Sure enough, my car’s left-front fender was caved in to form a perfect fit with the bright yellow concrete base of the stop sign.
The base had clearly been painted recently, and I quickly found a bright red paint blotch matching the paint on my car—along with maybe a dozen other marks in various colors. I was only mildly relieved to know that I wasn’t the sign’s only victim.

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