Blue and White weekend consumed University Park this past weekend. It is a really big deal for Penn State. I know that the alumni and development staff were in preparation for a very long time for this. And it got me to thinking about Penn State’s alumni network and how I’ve heard people refer to Penn State’s alumni as “rabid,” which doesn’t seem far off the mark. Before Penn State I had never been associated with a school with such a proud student and alumni base. It’s actually quite magical.
All of this led me to think about how what you put into something depends on what you get out of it. We’ve all heard the old adage about how what you get out of something depends on what you put into it. But I think it works in reverse as well. Penn Staters love their school….they get/got a lot out of their time here…and the development staff are happy to take their donations in support of that connection. They get/got a lot out of their educational experience, and they make alumni donations to put something back in.
This kind of connection between intrinsic satisfaction and financial outlay doesn’t stop with your alma maters. It easily translates into retail establishments as well.
For example, I used to do all of my grocery shopping at one particular store. And as time passed, the prices rose and the quality declined. It just wasn’t a pleasant experience any more. So I stopped going there. Completely. I now split my grocery shopping between two other stores where I feel like I have a better experience and receive what I pay for. I wasn’t getting anything out of it, so I stopped putting anything into it.
On the flip side, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of my local brew pub. I’m there at least once a week. The food there is consistently good, but not great. The beer is consistently good, but not great. So why do I keep going back? The experience is fantastic. There are enough employees on duty to serve the large number of customers they have. Always. And the employees are friendly and good at their jobs. The restaurant is always clean and pleasant. I never have a bad experience. Is it the best restaurant in town? No. But it is a great experience. That’s why I continue to spend my money there. I get a lot out of it, so I continue to put a lot into it.
We all know that what you get out of something depends on how much you put into it. But in the retail world, how much money you put into someplace depends on what you get out of it.