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There are several trade publications which focus on the paint industry or some aspect thereof. Perhaps the best written and edited of the group is PWC MagazinePainting & Wallcovering Contractor, which is published bi-monthly in St. Louis. This publication is not overly technical. It is geared primarily to high quality painting and wall covering contractors who typically work alone or with one or two helpers. The best part of each issue is a column written by a second generation paperhanger who happens to be a very astute observer of human nature. In the Nov/Dec 2003 issue, PWC Magazine explores an issue very dear to our heart at Fine Paints of Europe, “Why Do Most Painting Contractors Prefer to Use Good-But-Not-Excellent Paint?”“…My absolute favorite thing about painting? No, it’s not the fumes. It’s that I, me, moi gets to choose what brand of paint I’ll be using. Otherwise I tell them to get a real painter. It’s such a switch for me, because paperhangers never get to choose what brand of wallpaper they’ll be hanging on the job. The customer can even drop shopworn, defective rubbish in your lap and say, “Beep me when you’re done.” And that my friends, points out the simple economical fact that allows so many wallpapers to run the gamut from Good to Abysmal in quality, whereas paint brands span the Excellent to Mediocre spectrum. Paint sales are de facto more contractor-driven than wallpaper. …Of course there are exceptions but most of the time customers choose the color and painters choose the label. …

However, ironically there exists a situation where the interests of the painter are served by using a Good-But-Not-Excellent paint, and it’s not just governed by material price.

(What do you mean, Leo? How can a producer make more money with a flop than he could with a hit? – Max Bialystok to Leo Bloom in The Producers, 1968.)

I socialize with painters a lot. They imbibe more adult beverages than paperhangers and are therefore usually more fun. After I ply them with a few G & T’s they open up to me and disclose why they often use a Good-But-Not-Excellent paint. Here’s the way it goes:

Step 1. The customer, who knows zip about paint, insists that the painter use a heavily advertised brand which is OK-but –not-great. “Everybody knows it’s the best; at least that’s what the ads say.” Right?

Step 2. The contractor who knows that the heavily advertised paint is OK-but-not-great will oblige them because he knows he’ll be back to redo the job in five years instead of 10.

Step 3. When the paint becomes tired looking, or burnished, or faded, or chalky, the customer won’t blame the painter because as everybody knows, Wunderbrand Paint is the “best”.

Step 4. Cha-ching for the painter.

All the paint really has to do is look good when the check clears and subsequently not peel or craze or anything like that and it’s money in the bank for the painter, no?”….

This article appeared in the Nov./Dec. 2003 issue of PWC Magazine.

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