Finishing Touches, or How to Treat Your Customers Like Idiots

My company, Vision Critical, recently held a management conference at the new Vancouver Convention Centre. The interior struck me as somewhat cold and spare but functional and nicely designed. However, there were a couple of things I encountered in the men’s washrooms that made me (and my colleagues) laugh out loud, and marvel at how a couple of ill-considered finishing touches can degrade the experience of being in a building. (It reminded me of visiting the Terasen building in Surrey a few years back: a nice design pretty much wrecked by the liberal use of the Tekton font throughout the interior.)

First, a sign posted above the urinals informs us that we shouldn’t drink from the toilets:


Of course, what they really meant to say was that they are being environmentally conscious by not wasting drinking water in the urinals and toilets. Poor writing results in raw material for a running joke in session presentations.

Then I noticed a sign by the sinks, “How To Wash Your Hands:”


I assume the intention here was to convey the importance of washing one’s hands, rather than condescend to the users of your washroom. Add to this that if someone really needed this much hand-holding, the sequence isn’t even correct: we’re told in Step 6 to turn off the tap, but Step 1 is “Wet Hands,” not “Turn On Tap.” Of course, they were motion-activated taps, so Step 6 was unnecessary. But so were the others, really. Perhaps the most important thing I’ve seen suggested elsewhere is the length of time to rub in the soap.

At least there wasn’t a “How To Use The Toilet” sign in the stalls.

Cedar Creek 2008 Riesling

Yet another BC Riesling. This one is light to medium yellow-gold with a solid ripe pineapple-grapefruit nose. Dry with medium acidity, good body, and a sharp apple-grapefruit palette making a deeply buried hint of sweetness. Perhaps slightly more depth or complexity than some of the others I’ve tried, this is a good drink but I think I prefer the Kalala to it. At about CAD$17, another good value.

Kalala 2007 Riesling

Third on my recent list of BC Rieslings is this organic wine from the Okanagan Valley. Very light clear silvery appearance. Nice grapefruit-petrol nose with just a hint of apricot. Dry with good acidity; grapefruit notes are most prominent and there’s a very nice earthy mineral quality. So far the best of the BC Rieslings I’ve been tasting; sometimes I think that organic wineries have that edge because of the purity of growing methods: flavours are preserved just that much better. Well-priced at about CAD$17. Kalala Organic Estate Winery.

Road 13 2007 Riesling

Second in my current string of British Columbia Rieslings. I tasted the Road 13 2008 Chardonnay at the Fine Vintage Wine Club a couple of months back, and was impressed.

This is a clear, medium yellow-gold-green. Nice nose with apple-grapefruit qualities, with an earthiness and a hint of apricot. Dry with good acidity, strong citrus quality, and that good old Riesling stone/slate palette. Good value at about CAD$17. Road 13 Winery.

Red Rooster 2008 Riesling

Riesling is my grape, and I picked up a number of local (British Columbia) Rieslings at Taylorwood Wines the other day, so will be making some notes on those over the next several weeks.

First is the 2008 Red Rooster. Clear medium golden-yellow with a grapefruit-honey nose balanced with a hint of grassiness. Sweeter than expected on the palette, with perhaps not quite enough acidity to balance, but a nice honey-peach quality. Higher alcohol than I’m used to with the varietal at 13%. About CAD$17, a good drink at this price, and very nice to see the development of quality Rieslings in BC.