The Room and Board store in Atlanta is an attractive place, in a hip area and offers very nice furniture, window treatments, etc. Recently, I purchased a custom made ottoman from them and waited the usual 6 weeks for it.

Last week, my husband drove to the warehouse to pick it up, as it would fit easily in our X-3. He was given the wrong ottoman (and wondered why I had ordered it!). Upon seeing it, I called the warehouse to tell them of the mistake. A quick investigation revealed that our ottoman had been placed in the wrong box, which explained why the order number of the invoice matched that on the box.

Value leak number one. The invoice also said “chocolate brown leather” which didn’t come close to matching the object placed in our car. The label was correct but the contents were wrong and we ended up with the wrong ottoman.

It turned out the delivery folks were headed our way the following day, so we agreed to be home for a swap.

Value leak number two. To say the delivery experience was less than wonderful would be an understatement. He wasn’t on time, didn’t call, didn’t follow the instructions about where to park, and then parked his huge truck on a busy street which blocked traffic. I went out to ask him to drive around to the back and he replied “I do this all the time”, in a tone that was as surly and dismissive as I’d heard in a while.

Value add. I love the ottoman. Selecting it was fun, Dustin Smith was delightful to work with. He followed up to ask if I had at the ottoman and how I like it.

This is emblematic of why only quantitative ways to look at a business are insufficient. They give you a picture, but not the total picture. If you are buying a company, you need to look for these value leaks that add up but happen far from the balance sheet.

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