Longtime readers of this column will recognize the name Eloise Simplkins. Eloise was a domestic cleaning woman who realized that suburban housewives were uncomfortable having their regular cleaning ladies see their husbands’ messy bathrooms. Eloise realized that these women would pay pre-cleaning ladies to touch up their houses before the regular cleaning ladies arrived.
Eloise created a nationwide business that sent pre-cleaning ladies to prepare homes for the regularly scheduled cleaning ladies. She had scores of franchises.That idea made her wealthy.
Of the various things we have said about Eloise over the years, we have never said she had a sense of humor. But Eloise does have a sense of humor. She often uses it to make a point. For example, she created the National Waiting Room Magazine Association.
Like most of us, Eloise spends time in waiting rooms of practitioners like dentists, medical doctors, financial advisers and specialists who enhance one’s personal appearance. Eloise recently was kept waiting by such a practitioner. As she waited (and waited) Eloise riffled through the waiting room magazines. They were dog eared and months old. Her eyes wandered to the walls of the office where framed credentials touted the practitioner’s professional qualifications. There was even a framed ribbon that the practitioner received for winning his third-grade spelling bee.
Eloise decided it would be easy to convince these certificate-happy bozos that their waiting rooms should be certified and organized and incorporated the National Magazine Waiting Room Certification Association. She hired a PR agency to place favorable news stories about the association in all the mass and social media.
Meantime, Eloise developed a large quantity of waiting room certificates. The certificates covered a variety of professional practices and included fee structures that each practice could afford.
Eloise added an incentive. For an additional fee Eloise would deliver the certificate personally and evaluate the waiting room magazines. She created categories for the waiting room magazines—including oldest date, most-dog-eared-but still-readable, most unusual foreign language, most appropriate content (for the particular practice) magazine, least likely to be of interest to the clientele of that practice, most unreadable type face.
Finally Eloise said she would pose for photographs with the practitioners. After she said that, orders poured in, nearly all of them specifying that Eloise was to deliver the certificates.
These projects kept Eloise so busy that she hardly had time to gloat. This leading physician and that nationally noted orthodontist, the other highly regarded financial adviser all wanted a waiting room certificate and a photo taken with Eloise. She traveled across the country, visiting waiting rooms large and small. She took a couple of assistants with her and they did a systematic evaluation of the magazines and put them in the appropriate categories from Eloise’s list. By this
time the mass media were covering Eloise’s movements without prodding from PR firms. The New York Times did an interview; the Wall Street Journal sent reporters to dig into her past and The New Yorker did a humorous short piece about her past and found it to be exactly as originally reported. She appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, the Today show, Anderson Cooper 360 and network evening news.
Overseas practitioners revamped their waiting rooms. All that activity was good for the industry and good for the wide variety of clients being served in the waiting rooms.
The analysis of categories proved popular and was picked up by social media as well as the media of mass communication.
Following are the results:
• Oldest magazine found in a waiting room: 1917 copy of Field and Stream.
• Most dog-eared-but-still-readable magazine: an April, 1971 copy of Ladies Home Journal.
• Most unusual foreign language magazine: Kalakaumundi Magazine published in Malayalam .
• Most appropriate magazine content for a particular practice’s waiting room: The Bark found in Veterinarian’s waiting rooms.
• Magazine least likely to be of interest to that waiting room’s clientele: Today’s Senior Magazine, found in a pediatric physician’s waiting room.
• Magazine with the most unreadable typeface: Saturday’s Guru printed in Frutiger boldface type.
-Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co