It all began on July 23, 1991 — at 10:07 AM PDT
I walked into a convenience store near 12th Street and Northern Avenue in Phoenix, AZ. My apartment was just across the street and I’d stop by a few times each week. Rick, the manager, was working that morning and after catching up on the weekend events, I asked him a very simple question based on the signs he had above each of his two registers:
DON’T FORGET THE ICE
I asked him how his ice sales were going, and he replied, “actually, they’re pretty bad”. I paused and asked if I could make a suggestion. After all, this is Phoenix—in the desert—in the middle of the summer. (110+ degrees in the shade)
“Do you have a couple of pieces of paper and a magic marker?” He gave me the items and I quickly made two new signs.
REMEMBER THE ICE
I left with a knowing smile.and purposely waited about a month to return. When he saw me crossing Northern Ave, he vigorously banged on the window and motioned for me to come over, meeting me by the large Ice Box in front of the store:
“What did you do? My sales are up over 500% in the last 30 days!!”
I smiled and said, “Let me explain it this way. If I say to you: Don’t think of the color blue. What color are you thinking of?”
“Why blue of course” he replied.
Now if I say “don’t forget the ice”, what will you … AND your customers forget?
“Oh my gosh… the ice.“