I suppose this is my Peter Kaye moment – shower gel is my garlic bread!

In my household there is a need to produced detailed specifications of some things which are not important to me, but that’s my problem.

Shower gel being one. Which I don’t understand. I struggle with the rules, which I clearly don’t know. Or perhaps want to. I have design issues…

We must have shower gel which:

Is of a colour (or range of colours – more difficult) which matches the bathroom;

Has a smell of some sort, which will complement the other unguents applied (deodorant, perfume etc) and not overpower or conflict (non smelling shower gel fits that criteria, but no smell is a no no!)

Be female oriented (I wash too by the way)

Be appropriately priced (I can do that – have you seen the cost of this stuff?)

By the way, we cannot use the various hotels’ products we assiduously collect on our travels, nor can we use them at the hotel; we have to bring our own.

And all for something, which by design and definition is poured down the plug!

So time is taken, over something which, in utility terms, can be obtained quickly and cheaply.

It’s about design you see. Not function at all.

In these days of abundance, we can choose from many different shower gels (or washing powders, toasters, kettles, and innumerable other essentials of modern living). But how do we choose, and what is their real function?

Obviously shower gel is for washing. That’s its function? Right?

Well, it’s one of its functions, and maybe not the most important. The amount of time you spend showering is 10 minutes a day? Times how many people in your household? Not long then, out of all the waking hours available. You may (or in my case, may not) appreciate exactly what you are using to shower with. In which case smell, texture etc may be more important to you. For what is, after all, a fleeting experience, this is of little interest to me.

All the rest of the time the shower gel is fulfilling its other function. Looking pretty in your bathroom – adding to the bathroom experience, and general ambience of your house. Telling visitors, (and reinforcing to you too) what sort of people live here. What their style and ethos is. Which is why so many shower gels are on the market (or toasters, kettles etc). The only way one manufacturer can differentiate its product in ages of abundance is through its design!

Design is increasingly the predominant purchasing driver – we assume that all shower gels get you clean, toasters toast bread, kettles boil water. Sometimes, after reading the technical bits, we still buy the one that looks good over the one that tells us it performs best. Just through better design. Look around your home – why is that product that colour, material etc? Because you decided it fitted best for you. Now look around your work. The same rules apply.

Now look around your products and services – are they designed to fit your customers’ needs and wants? Should they be…?

For someone who prefers minimalism (me), just go for the one which is quick and easy to find and buy. Time management is my driver. I’ll tell you why one day soon. Here’s a hint – it’s the only resource you can’t replace or extend.

And just don’t start me on fabric conditioner…!