Rick Dubrow’s “On The Level” Column in the Cascadia Weekly; Published 11-21-07
Over a year ago we successfully designed and bid a remodel and addition for Ted and Nancy Seifert, who, for several reasons, postponed construction until early 2008. They had sought us out because of our business philosophy for building small, green building, downsizing, fostering community, and green business practices.
So last week I contacted them for an update on their schedule. “After many hours of deliberation”, wrote Ted, “we’ve decided on another route. Instead of bumping out we’ve decided to stay within our original footprint. We realized, as a family, that bigger isn’t what we really needed or wanted. I guess listening to your philosophy really struck home with us and we’re very happy with that. So at this time we have no plans to expand and the work that needs to be done we’re able to do as a family.”
I replied to Ted that… ”I so honor your ultimate decision to pass on building your project and the path you walked down to get there. Imagine the diversity of emotions it sparks within me. Am I supposed to thank you or curse you? With my activist hat atop my head, your message brings me joy. With my single-bottom-line CEO hat atop my head, your message hurts. With my triple-bottom-line (economics; environment; social equity) CEO hat atop my head, your message is a mixed bag.
“Ted, I’d like to do my next Weekly column about this: your path; your decision; my reactions; a vision of our society’s economic future and the need to downsize. What a great way to engage the minds of other business owners; of other consumers! I can do this two ways: I can reveal your name or I can do it anonymously. What say ye’?
“Ultimately, no matter what you decide about this column, I thank you for your project decision! We gave you the design and information you would need to decide; we gave you some philosophy within which to frame it. And you have done what so many of us need to do: decide that enough is good. That good enough is a wonderful thing.”
Here’s Ted’s reply: “This whole ordeal was a very trying process for us. It pulled and tugged at us the entire way. We always knew we wanted to stay small and keep the family together, not living apart in another area of a sprawling home. At first we liked the new design but the cost didn’t feel right. We felt we could do much more with our money, like pay off our house. Debt is something we have always taken seriously….. living within our means. We are very wealthy in many ways, maybe not financially, but we’re not socked in with debt. We take pride in expressing that with our children. We find ourselves battling this big consumer feeding frenzy on a daily basis. America needs to stop and stop today.
“Unfortunately for you this didn’t bring you the work. But I think it does in the long run. It was your philosophy that helped guide me with my decision. In my business selling wine and being 100% commission, I never have sold a bottle for the instant reward. It’s all about helping people make the right decision and one day they will come back to seek my advice.
“Regarding your column, if we can help get our society to change its feeding frenzy and over-consumption, I’m all for it. If my little world decision can help, go for it. Use my name.”