The Word on the Stair

My junior high school French teacher, who always dressed a little better than the other faculty, once explained that when you lose an argument in French, you generally storm out of your lover’s flat and down the stairs in a rage. It is only on the second landing that, coming to a full stop, you realize what you could have said that would have destroyed the other person’s will to live. He said the French call this “the word on the stair.”

This happens to me all the time, though never in French, and never with anyone I could call a lover, and never so repeatedly as after Redfin’s food-fight with “Why didn’t you say ‘the market sets the home price?’ one broker asked. Why didn’t you tell Dalton and Inman that they don’t have to use Redfin if they don’t like it, Joel Burslem commented.

But perhaps the most learned rebuttal comes today from Peter Coy, Business Week’s economics editor, who happened to be in the crowd during the debate. Peter gives the President an F in his debate with Redfin, for arguing that efforts to make real estate more efficient hurt the economy. Allan predicted we’d all living in caves if the Redfins of the world took over. Peter notes that, if not for the Redfins of the world, we’d all be living on farms, afraid that a plough might put someone out of work.

“More power to the Redfns of the world,” Peter writes. To which we can only say, “Vive la difference!”


  • youmustbejoking

    Viva Redfin, yes. A corporation giving low priced service. Viva Wal-Mart as well. Soceity is so much better off with Wal-Mart….and Redfin.

  • Glenn Kelman

    There is, as you know, no comparison between Redfin and Wal-Mart in how we treat our employees, partners, customers and competitors. We pay our agents more than the average agent earns, with full benefits, stock options, and the opportunity for career growth. Our customers prefer online service, and feel that compensating our agents on customer satisfaction is respectful of their needs. We compete with other brokerages, but also aim to be responsible members of the industry, listening carefully to our counterparts at other brokerages about how we can work together better. If you have a specific beef, e-mail me at glenn (at) redfin (dot) com.

  • youmustbejoking

    No comparison except that Redfin and Walmart are both profit-maximizing corporations with the same ‘every-day low prices’ moniker.

    The rubber needs to meet the road somewhere. Your profits (which probably aren’t there yet) will come from squeezing more and more transactions out of your agent-employees.

    Somewhere Sam Walton salutes you.

  • Doxiadis

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  • Christodoulos

    Sorry :(

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