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An Experience in Style

The Long-Term problem is to come up with a birthday present.

In regards to Style (selection 1 on the Style Scoresheet), instead of using the box that came with the gift, you choose to make a box. You do a really good job and are rewarded with a good score.

Every box needs wrapping paper (selection 2). Again, instead of store-bought wrapping paper, you create your own. It’s difficult and it’s hard to compete with a manufactured product, but you’re proud of the result. However, you’re rewarded with only an average score.

Every wrapped gift needs a bow (selection 3). You create a bow, though difficult again, and are rewarded with an average score.

Well, finally you require a birthday card for the gift (selection 4). You create a good, interesting card, decorate it with chrome washers and paper clips, but are rewarded with only a modest score.

Now, it turns out your gift is a Barbie doll for a 5 year old girl. Your efforts toward the first 4 style elements are terrific, but what do they do for overall effect (selection 5)? What does a 5-year-old really care about what you’ve done?

In truth, likely very little, as most 5-year-olds are going to cast the card aside, tear off the bow, tear open the wrapping paper, and rip open the box. Yes, they’ll be ecstatic over the Barbie doll, but the first 4 style elements are lost to the 5-year-old and thus the overall effect is low.

So what went wrong or what could have been done better?

Suppose the box were created in such a way that it could become a doll house. Suppose the wrapping paper could become wallpaper in the doll house. Suppose the bow could become wainscoting in the Living Room and Kitchen. Suppose instead of decorating the birthday card with chrome washers you used rhinestones which become jewelry to Barbie.

Now how do these very creative items enhance the overall effect of the gift? Unlike before, the 5 year old girl embraces each of the style elements. They dramatically alter the perception and impressions of the gift to the child. As a result, the overall effect of the first 4 items produce a much improved score for category 5. They (the first 4 categories) are also likely to each receive a higher score than the originally presented style elements.