The Engineer returned for three more nights. Here’s how it went.
Now the engineer, being a logical man, refused to believe that this man’s car was allergic to vanilla ice cream. He continued his visits for as long as it took to solve the problem. He jotted down all sorts of data: time of day, type of gas used, time to drive back and forth, etc.
In a short time, he had a clue: the man took less time to buy vanilla than any other flavor. Why? This was dependent on the layout of the store. Vanilla, being the most popular flavor, the proprietor had set up a separate counter near the door to serve only those customers ordering vanilla. All the other flavors were served at a larger counter near the back of the store. Also, since the store owner was understaffed, customers wanting flavors other than the vanilla flavor had to wait for longer times. Those buying vanilla were in and out of the parlor in a minute or two.
Eureka – Time was now the problem – not the vanilla ice cream!!!! Now, the question for the Engineer was why the car wouldn’t start when it took less time.
The engineer quickly came up with the answer: “VAPOR LOCK”. Due to ambient warm temperatures and humidity, a vapor lock formed in the new car’s carburetor when the engine was turned off. Now this vapor lock had plenty of time to dissipate if the man ordered any other flavor than vanilla. But if he ordered vanilla, he was in and out of the parlor so fast that the vapor lock hadn’t had time to clear, and thus the car wouldn’t start. This phenomenon of vapor lock happens under a combination of new car, thin oil, tight engine fits and low torque starters. However, after sufficient use, say, 1000 miles, this problem disappears. Funny, how sometimes, even crazy looking problems turn out to be legitimate.
It is good to put up our thinking hats and ask ourselves a question – However useful it may seem through this story, is it sometimes impractical to study the fallacy in the Voice of Customer? If so, why?