The perfect mustard

If you ask for mustard at a French bistro, you’ll get a strong Dijon, handmade in a little village three hundred kilometres away.

If you ask for mustard at a game at Fenway, apparently you’ll get Gulden’s.

Within a rounding error, all mustard costs the same. It’s not about the price. It’s about coherence with the story. When a Marriott brings you the little sealed bottle of fake dijon from Heinz, they’re not offering you mustard, they’re sending a signal about what they think is fancy.

And at the ball game, the yellow mustard in a giant pump tells a story as well.

Is one better than the other? It’s a matter of taste and context. Of course, I have a favorite mustard and a narrative about what’s appropriate in a given setting, and so does just about everyone else I know. But favorite is different than ‘right’. There’s no absolute scale. How can a mustard be yuppie? Pretentious? Down to earth? It’s simply a condiment.

And yes, there’s a mustard analogy in everything you do. In how you shake hands, in the typeface you use in your presentation (and whether you call it a ‘font’), in the volume you choose for your voice when in conversation.

Being in sync is a choice.


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