Selling lightbulbs

I’ve been trying to come to grips with CF lights. Saving money on my electricity bill is a good enough motivator, however I’m a stickler for nice lighting and won’t settle for something that saves money yet looks ugly. The saving the environment in the abstract makes a lot of sense, of course, but I also want an attractive room. Do I need to compromise on that?

So my first experiment with CF lighting was bad. Light bulb burned out at home, unscrewed it, saw it was a 60w, went to the hardware store, go to lighting aisle looking for a 60w, see nothing, ask clerk, clerk knows nothing but says check the packaging “usually says what wattage they are similar to”, find something that seems to be 60w-ish, take it home, screw it in, turn it on and nothing! Is it broken? Oh wait, now it’s sorta glowing. It has to warm-up? This is crazy. Now I’m bathed in a cool blue chemical looking light. Great. This is progress. So just knowing a wattage doesn’t work anymore. Now you need to know obscure terms like lumens and measuring color using degrees and spiral or reflector and will it dim or not and on and on.

The CF light industry thinks if it just repeats “SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT” over and over again it has done its job. How wrong they are. There’s a growing body of criticism online: Seth Godin weighs in with Why CFL Doesn’t Sell, a piece in the Washington Post last year back about the “wife test” for CFL, Fluorescent Bulbs Are Known to Zap Domestic Tranquillity, and Steve Portigal has a few posts, e.g. I wanna push you around, well I will, I will, too. Wrong story, bad story, whatever. It needs work CFL industry.

I fear for you CFL industry. Need I remind you of another industry that thought it was OK forcing people to use trivia & jargon? That’s the computer industry. And it’s full of weird words and measurements and spawned a whole new industry, the computer support business, to help everyday folks. Can you imagine a Geek Squad for helping people find & install the right CFLs? How wrong is that? CFL industry, before it’s too late, start working on a new story with a better ending. Educate us, don’t assume.

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