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A Fitting Point for a Classic Joke

Spoiler Alert: If you want to experience "The Suit Joke" in its unadulterated glory, scroll down and read it now. Our introductory "Fitting Point" discusses the joke's elements freely…

Like all timeless humor, the "The Suit Joke" is effective because it exposes deeply embedded human flaws. One of the points the joke makes is about blindness, specifically vendor blindness. Its second most important character, the tailor, is so concerned with his own vision that he convinces his vain client to contort himself to fit his “perfect” suit. 1•2•1 MSG (and some of our competitors) talk a lot about tailoring our services to fit our clients' needs. We thought the joke's observation was instructive.

The joke reminded us that, like all vendors, we have a vested interest in doing things our way. It's faster, it's easier and, doggone it, we know our business best! For the most part, our clients trust our vision. Why wouldn't they? The work gets done, doesn't it? And that's where the blindness can creep in. Both sides of the relationship can lose sight of the other's motivation and goals. And then a disinterested bystander takes a look and wonders why the process is so complicated. Hilarious in a joke. Not some much in business. Sometimes only a subversion like a joke can jolt us into seeing clearly again. For that reason, at 1•2•1 MSG we value jokes and "dumb" questions, why we mistrust the status quo in general. It keeps things interesting and, ultimately, allows us be be truer to our vision of excellent service that actually fits our clients. Now, about your next direct mail project, don't you think it would look better on gloss stock?

Just kidding, here's

The Suit Joke

All his life, Blevins wanted a tailored suit. With hard hard work and self-denial he was finally able to afford one. He found a classy tailor and was measured and fitted. After two weeks he went to pick up the suit. He tried it on and looked at himself in the mirror. He could not believe how elegant he looked.

“Gorgeous,” said the tailor. “Unbelievable,” said the tailor’s assistant. “Only one thing,” said the tailor. “You have a little scoliosis. Maybe you didn’t know. But your right shoulder droops. I did what I could to correct for it, but there’s only so much I can do. If you really want the suit to look good you’ll hoist your right shoulder a little.” Blevins lifts his right shoulder slightly. “Ooh!” says the assistant. “Wow,” says the tailor.

Blevins begins to go. “One more thing,” says the tailor. “Your right leg — maybe you don’t know — is about an eighth of an inch shorter than your left. I did what I could to correct for it, but you don’t want too much material on one side compared with the other side. So if you just straighten your right leg and bend your left leg a little, it’ll fall perfectly.” Blevins straightens his right leg and bends his left leg. “There!” says the assistant. “Magnificent,” says the tailor. “One final thing,” says the tailor. “Because you’re bending one leg and straightening the other, the crotch area is a pinched, so if you just tilt your knees out a little… there!” And the assistant says, “I’m crying it’s so handsome.” Blevins leaves and exits onto Main Street. He walks down the block with one shoulder up, one leg straight, one leg bent, his knees bowed out. He passes two men. One says, “Oh my, do you see that horribly crippled man? He must have been in a terrible industrial accident.” “Yes,” says the other, “but that’s a beautiful suit he’s wearing.”

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