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Early this morning I found myself searching through a pile of books looking for a Sufi teaching story to send to a friend, “The Horrible Dib Dib” re-told by Idries Shah in his book, “The Way of The Sufi.”

It’s a parable about an old woman plagued by the sound of a dripping faucet. A thief hears her crying out “Aah… the Dib-Dib, the horrid Dib-Dib! This abominable Dib-Dib will be the end of me.” Not having seen the faucet, and fearing that his close contact with the woman has infected him with a terrible disease, the thief’s wife contacts a village elder. As the very short story progresses, it touches on themes of fear, human nature and wisdom. In the end, the elder gets wisdom, the thief is rehabilitated, the thief’s wife saves her husband. Everyone gets what they need, even though nobody fixes the woman’s faucet!

People take from great parables what they need and what they are able to process. My take-away, for the purposes of this Editor’s Corner, is about customer service.

Just about everyone in the best retail organizations are responsible for giving customers what they need, so they can be happy and satisfied. Problem is, what they need isn’t always obvious. Horrible dib-dibs may arise as misunderstandings, service issues and quality problems. “Fixing the faucet” and explaining the situation may seem like the obvious solution, but customers create their own stories; about the horrible dib-dibs they’ve encountered that don’t always respond to reason.

What’s my advice? Sorry, I’m no customer service sage, or a sage of any kind. I do have an intuition that careful listening, patience, a desire to serve, and possibly reading “The Horrible Dib-Dib” will help you find your own solutions. Email me at russ@furninfo.com and I will be glad to send the text by return email.

Russell Bienenstock
Editorial Director/CEO

Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at editor@furninfo.com.