You Know it is a Bad Day When

You know it is going to be a bad day for someone when you see Federal Government vehicle parked in a Casino parking lot at 6:40 pm on a Friday evening.

Official Use Vehicle

You know its going to be bad day at work tomorrow

Written on the napkin, “I use your money in gas to go to the Casino. Please take a Picture and share in Facebook”

Its going to be a long weekend for someone.

“Welcome back. What did you do with your weekend? Any gambling?”

Spanglish, the new Spanish

I order a cup of coffee and a plain sundae. A plain sundae means ice cream in a sundae cup with chopped peanuts (sometimes). I look up at the menu. I see an insert advertisement that I read as:

“Extend your vacay.
Ponle sabor a tu diaz.”

As I know just enough Spanish to be dangerous, I do not understand how the top sentence in English, and the bottom sentence in Spanish have the same meaning.

I also think, I do not remember ever hearing or reading the words, extend or vacay used in Spanish. I do not know what Ponle means, but the rest of the sentence is, “flavor in your day.”

As nobody is in line, I ask the man who is waiting on me, “What is Ponle?” He smiles and asks me to repeat what I said. “Ponle, p o n l e”, I say. He holds one hand palm up and makes movements like clapping in slow motion with his other hand. Now I am really confused.

He sees my confusion, and calls over a woman worker. She asks, “What am I asking about?” I point to the advert, and I say, “The word ponle, what does it mean?” She looks up and says, “You want a Mango Smoothie, is that what you are asking?”, a picture of which was on the right side of the advertisement.

“No”, I say, the word ponle, p o n l e, what does it mean?”

The woman laughs over the confusion or over me, and says, “To put, ponle means to put”. I say, “Thank you”, and we laugh and smile.

They both look at me like I am a simpleton. As I take my ice cream and coffee I wonder how the first sentence means the second sentence, and why English and Spanish, one sentence each are on one small sign.

As it is slow, as in I am the only customer, and the man is still in front of me, I ask him, “Could I order a hamburger, and then say, Ponle queso porfavor?” He smiles, and says, “No, hamburger con queso.” I think, ‘I already know that…I am trying to understand Ponle.’ Okay, we have a language barrier, and he has work to do. I thank him and go sit down.

Pondering the word, Ponle

Pondering the word, Ponle

When I leave, I am thinking, “…how strange one sentence in English and one in Spanish, and both sentences saying different things. It must be a play on words that with my two year old level Spanish vocabulary, I do not get.”

I look at the advertisement one last time, so I will remember the words, and I now read, “Extend tu vacay. Ponle sabor a tu diaz.” I had read the words wrong.
The first three words must be Spanish because of the middle word tu which I automatically translated the first time I read the sign into ‘your’. I never heard the words, Extend or Vacay, used in Spanish before. I am also not to sure ‘vacay’ is a word, more like a contraction. How do the two sentences mean the same thing?

I had totally missed the word ‘tu’. “Extend tu vacay”, was English to me, my brain made ‘tu’ into ‘your’. Vacay it turns out is slang, for vacation. The advertisement is really saying in [mostly?] Spanish, “Extend your vacation. Put flavor in your day.”

So now I am wondering, Spanglish is the new Spanish?

Happy Customers Get Repeat Sales

Tale of three national chain stores. I wanted one package of un-waxed dental floss. In two stores I found ten to fifteen types of waxed dental floss and no un-waxed dental floss. In the third store I found one package of un-waxed dental floss, but it was too thin for my needs.

I emailed two companies about their not carrying any un-waxed dental floss. The third store I emailed carried only one choice a store brand. In all three stores, the shelves were overflowing with waxed dental floss but void of un-waxed dental floss.

Un-waxed Dental Floss

Have you complained to your store lately?

 

For what its worth, waxed dental floss is more smoke and mirrors according to my Dentist. Feels good, slides around easily, and does a poor cleaning job.

Un-waxed dental floss cleans better, but is less popular because it does not feel so good to use.

Check with your Dentist for confirmation and direction on what type of floss is best for you..

 

Store number one never responded. Store number two sent me a marketing email, that had nothing to do with lack of un-waxed dental floss. Store number three exceed all expectations. My email had been sent directly to the company CEO and sent down the chain. A phone call from the CEO’s direct report resulted in an effort to understand and fix the problem.

Wow, talk about a company that puts in some effort! Walmart was the company that responded by telephone over a paltry package of dental floss. Talk about customer service, and satisfaction. That is a five star response to me. What more could I ask for!

When it comes to customer relations, anyone can sell a product. When it comes to repeat costumers it boils down to satisfied customers. I could not have been any more satisfied than with Walmart’s timely response.

Clean Water, Clean Toilets

I do not know if you have heard it, but a few months ago there was a major push to make everyone aware of how important fresh water is for all of us. Commercials ran on radio and television. Big corporations got behind the effort.

It is true. Clean water is no longer only a problem in the worst areas where people are forced to live. Caffeine, mostly from coffee and soda pop, has found its way into our streams and lakes. Hormones used in contraceptive pills have also made their way into streams, rivers, and lakes.

Other medications too, which are not fully absorbed or stored in our bodies are in the water around us. Municipal sewer plants can only do so much to return used water to its normal state. In the past it was manufacturing plants around the world that dumped unregulated waste into the water.

Fish died, streams died, swamps and lakes died. Finally, when it could not be kept quiet any longer, there was action taken and legislation passed to prevent wanton pollution of one of our most important resources, our fresh water.

The problem now, is how do you regulate the amount of caffeine in someones body, the amount of excess hormones from their birth control pills. The flushed out chemicals from blood pressure, diabetes, or depression medicines as people empty their bladders, with their urine eventually ending up in the Eco System’s water table we call home.

Dirty Urinal

How Bad Do You Really Want To Pee?

Until recently an animal trait shared by some few men is marking their territory. Nowadays, not flushing is becoming the right thing to do and is no longer solely a territorial act.

One of the changes brought about by the barrage of commercials over clean water in the last months has been flushing of toilets and urinals. Once the domain of back street bars, and city toilets, flushing the toilet is becoming something not done to save clean water.

 

One problem however is business being slow to spend money on the right equipment so not flushing is healthier and safer. Right now business is happy not spending money because customers are not flushing. Business watches the bottom line first and foremost.

There are urinals, and toilets out there for sale in the market place designed not to be flushed, or have severely reduced water consumption. If you own or frequent a business with public restrooms, you may think about making a pitch to upgrade the toilets.

As not flushing becomes more prevalent, so will disease caused by the drop in sanitation. Bathrooms are not clean places to start with. Let’s try to get public bathrooms at least modernized and make them safer and cleaner.

Most business can afford the upgrade. They may not want to spend the money doing it, but if they feel you will quit supporting them due to the condition of their bathroom, they will be quicker to respond. They are in business because of your support. You can choose to go somewhere else and spend your money, and relieve your bladder.

When is it an attempt to steal?

There is an article over on the Verge, about how person tried to take advantage of Amazon.com, when Amazon made a major price mistake on a product, changing the price from ~ $200.00 to ~ $60.00, and was rewarded with $20.00 for their trouble.

Here is a quote from the article:

“Like any other person who inhales the internet like life-giving oxygen, I saw news of this mistake immediately and took advantage of it within moments, receiving an order confirmation before Amazon made its fix.”

Here is one of the responses, which is fairly typical of all the responses that were not arguing about the legalities of Amazon refusing to make good on their advertised price.

“One time a guy revealed the Ralph Lauren employee discount code and I got quality underwear for less. I felt like a criminal and was so relieved when they honored it.”

Do Morals bottom out?

Do Morals bottom out?

I am not sure where these people keep their morals. Where do they draw the line?

Where does the morals gondola stop? Is it okay we pay extra for people who have no qualms about taking advantage of a situation because a company is faceless? What about doing this to friends or family?

Would you try to take advantage of a company mistake? How about a friends mistake where money is at issue?

Everything You Need to Know About Your Dust Bunny Collection

List or numbers posts are getting silly. A blog post used to be an article about one general idea. Until some bright SEO driven marketer, wanting to drive more traffic to their site came up with topic titles using lists.

“How to improve your Dust Bunny Collection” would have been a popular post title in the past.

This type of post could be hashed and rehashed into several different follow-up posts, all focused on collection, care, and maintenance of Dust Bunny Collections.

MadBunnyAmbitious Bloggers or web site owners focused on marketing decided they needed to one up single topic posts. They started producing posts with thought provoking titles such as:

“Two ways to improve your Dust Bunny Collection”

Of course this was the beginning of the numbers trend in post titles for web content. Everyone was producing content with their post titles starting with numbers. One way to… Two slick ways to… Three unbelievable ways to…rehash Dust Bunny Collections.

Eventually numbers two and three in a post title became passé. Those sharp marketing guru’s out on the bleeding edge decided to up the ante:

“Five great ways to improve your Dust Bunny Collection” became the new norm. If you couldn’t come up with at least five creative ways to improve someones Dust Bunny Collection, you were behind the power curve in the SEO marketing world. It was probably time to throw your keyboard away.

If you have a garden variety reading interest like I do, you may notice that five ways is being supplanted by six or seven ways. Those marketers out on the leading edge of going one better seem to have skipped a few numbers.

The newest numbers trend I am reading on the web these days is:

“Ten ways to improve your Dust Bunny Collection”

Soon ten ways will not be enough. Maybe a dozen or more ways to improve your Dust Bunny Collection is more fitting? Create e-books maybe? I can hardly wait.

Has content fallen to quantity? Content no longer seems as important as quantity. Content is stolen, filtered and reposted almost as fast as it appears.

It is all about the numbers now, both post titles and web traffic. You the reader are ebing cheated. What happens if I am curious about one specific item about my Dust Bunny collection? What if I want to know whether I should spray each of my precious bunnies with hair spray to help them last longer?

Do I need to read repetitive clone posts containing a dozen or more ways to maintain my Dust Bunny Collection when I want advice on one specific item? How did we ever manage before marketing and post titles by the numbers became so popular?

There are times where a number of points are better to cover a topic, or make a point. These times are limited however. Do I really wish to read 11 points I already know about looking for one great insight to put my Dust Bunny Collection over the top? Why waste my time in this manner, reading  watered content. I bet you do not want to waste your time reading rehash either.

I find myself skipping articles I may be interested in when the title starts off with numbers. I would rather read a post about what I want to know rather than waste my time on an article I have to wade through looking for something, which may not even be there.

Shame on me for wasting your time. Excessive reading about Dust Bunny Collections, and what did you learn? I suppose this post is really lacking in quality, though it is filled to the brim with quantity.

The Hustle, The Hard Sell

Door bell rings with excitement, dong-dong, dong-dong, dong-dong. Man at the door looks like a cross between your average Joe, and acts like he is my favorite puppy, almost bouncing with enthusiasm. “Hi, I’m Jim, how are you?”

Almost without waiting for an answer, “Hey we were in your neighborhood, going to drop off a purchase for a customer who’s not at home. We sell _____, interested? Just come out and look, no buy, no foul.”

I do not mention I saw them around the neighborhood last week too….

“Hey, its cold out here, you might want to put on a jacket, you don’t want to get cold. We would rather sell off the purchase than haul it back to the warehouse.”

“John is over at a house across the street, he will be back in a second. Small pause. Here he is” in an upbeat voice.

“John this is Michael, he wants to take a look at what we have.”

John opens the door to the van. John, “Do you have any interest in _____, ______, or ____?”

Michael, “No, about all we use is _____.” John is not impressed, “Sure you don’t have any interest in ____ (much more expensive)?”

“No thanks, ____ is about it. Rarely use anything else.”

John, “What’s your name again?”

My best buddy Jim says forcefully, “His name is Michael. Are you losing your mind?”

John acting in a very professional manner inside the van takes out a large carton and proceeds to open it. Jim is continuing to do a ‘my favorite puppy’ imitation on my left.  John removes the product and explains to me why it is superior to what I can buy at the store. Jim stands still and remains quiet.

John, “We normally sell on-line”, and pulls out a brochure showing me their choices. “This is our asking price”, showing me the price below the product he has displayed. “Because we don’t want to drive it back, we can let it go for $xxx.xx (which is almost thirty five percent off brochure price).” “Am I anywhere close in price?”

Michael, “It’s a great price, but more than I want to spend.”

John, “What is your price?” “A lot less than that.” “Can we get close on price” “I would like too, but it is just too much to spend.” “You don’t have to pay cash”, John say’s showing me the brochure again with all major credit cards on the bottom of the back page.

“Sorry, it’s too much for me…”

John turns his back on me and starts packing up the goods.

In this moment, I feel rejected, which is what was intended. Here are a couple of guys on quietly excited, and the other acting professionally, and I turned down their offer.

I back up and look at Jim, the human puppy. He is looking dejected, like I scolded him for peeing on the floor.

“Thanks for the offer Jim, wish I could afford it.” John is still putting the offers away, and refuses to acknowledge me – more rejection in the making.

I walk away and Jim continues to look like a lost puppy who lost his best friend.

What a hustle! These two men deserve an award! As smoothly as they played it out, I was feeling rejected, and I expected to be put in a situation. I am curious how many people after feeling rejected, decide to be a do-good take the offer. After all, all’s well, that ends well.

Why Some Waiters Make Bigger Tips Than You

I stiffed a waiter today, leaving no tip, and suggesting the other people with me also not tip. If you wait tables and this is has happened to you, you may want to read on as my tipping standards are very liberal, at times up to twenty-five percent for exceptional service.

1. You work for me while I am seated in your section. Your boss pays you you something, but your real income should come from your tips. I am your customers and make or break your paycheck. Sounds brutal, but that is how it is.

2. Doing a three second drive by after the meal has been delivered is not enough. I do not sit at the table thinking if I would like a refill, clean fork, or another napkin.

I am talking with whomever I am with, and focusing on the conversation. I don’t appreciate your pausing two or three seconds to interrupt, ask a question, and answer it yourself as you walk off. As you are walking away there is usually something someone at the table wants, but you are gone.

3. Instead of seeing how efficiently plates can be removed, look for what you can do.  Check the drinks on the table. Refills should not be something one has to ask for. An almost empty glass is a good indication someone will likely want a refill.

For example, I like my coffee. For what I pay, I expect more coffee than the first cup. Same with soft drinks and water.

4. Performing a drop off the check drive by, assuring me you will be be back is a waste of your breath, and my time. You rarely come back until I am standing up to leave. Do you really think I am going to ask for something at this point and sit down again?

If you say you will be back, I really expect to see you before I am ready to leave. Otherwise do not bother to tell me to take my time, and you will be back to check on me.

5. It may not be obvious to you but you are in the people business, not the food serving business. I can serve myself at home for less money no matter where I am eating or what time it is. Make it an expectation of yourself to visit your customers and use proper manners.

Look over the table and see what you can bring that does not need to be asked for. Otherwise wait until there is a break in the conversation, before asking if anyone at the table needs anything. Wait a few seconds for people to shift from conversation to their wants and needs.

6. Whenever you get stiffed, and it is more often than occasionally, it is usually something you are not doing. Telling me, “Thanks a lot”, in a cynical tone, when you do not see a tip does not improve your skill set. It may however spark a fire in me to speak with the manager about your slovenly performance in taking care of us.

Usually I am a very good tipper, having worked in food service myself, and knowing how hard and unrewarding it is. For me not to leave some kind of tip, well, you really blew it.

When you have a customer, they are not generally their to visit a feeding trough. They are their to eat and leave the world outside the door. They may not want anything from you, and they will let you know. They may have a five a five dollar bill for a ten dollar meal, that you may never see because you think throwing plates around is doing doing enough.

Money For Nothing and Chicks For Free

Money for nothing and chicks for free – MTV Song, Dire Straits, 1985. I think this is fitting for the beginning this post. Maybe the ending too.

Cruising the Internet last week, I ended up looking at search hits about subliminal advertising, or subliminal messaging. The things you do when you are bored! There was so much nonsense and half truths. Maybe I am immune to them, and they do not effect me?

I started almost skimming the articles from links I clicked on. One link after another, with some amount of blah, blah and nothing to catch my focus. I had been skimming for too long, and it showed up in the last article I had time to read.

From previous articles, I learned that people respond better when they have responded before in a positive manner. For example, a homeless person walks up to you and asks you for the time. It seems outwardly an innocent request, but it is anything but.

The homeless person is changing your relationship with each other. By asking you the time, they become someone you are having a dialog with. They are asking you to do something for them, “Do you know what time it is?”, or something along those lines. Now you have an exchange of dialog, and you have a loose attachment.

Now the homeless person, being successful with the first request, goes on to their real point of the relationship encounter. They now either ask you something else that doesn’t matter, or they ask you for something, usually money.

Of course now that the homeless person is part of your circle of friends you are more likely to give them money, food, or otherwise fulfill the request. If you walk in the city, you have been well trained to respond to this situation.

This explains why children usually reserve what they really want when in a store for their third or fourth request. They know from previous times, their third or fourth request is more likely to be granted than their first few requests for some toy.

Then I found the article that surprised me. The article was about how our brains filter out information as we watch, listen, or read. Same as when we already know the story before the person talking finishes talking. We know what is going to be said, and simply fade the sound to white noise. I was already to this point, skimming and half reading, looking for the jewel in the ground, so to speak.

…you are in a conversation for someone, a person of the opposite sex, with whom you may want to pursue a romantic relationship with. I was skimming along having mostly ignored a few previous paragraphs as they did not seem important. There were some questions, where I totally missed the whole question. Even after prompting to read it again I misread the question, and had to compare the quoted question to the original.

You ask three or four simple questions that are always likely to be acted upon. Remember the Homeless Person? You ask other questions that are always likely to be answered with ‘yes’.

Do you think diet is important to a happy life? Me too, good food makes for a healthy body. Do you think exercise is important to a happy life? I do too. In fact I try and walk every day. Do you think sleep is important to a happy life? I know I feel better when I get enough sleep..

So you agree with me then that diet, exercise, and sleeping with me are important to living a happy life? If so, what are some of your favorite healthy foods? What do you do for exercise? How many hours a day do you sleep?

Listening to advertisement of products that are trying to break into their niche market operate in a different way. They use little three or four word phrases like, Feel better fast, Power you body, buy now, send money, easy payment, improve your mind.

I was so amused by this idea of being manipulated, I had this conversation with six people, three women and three men. One woman asked me to repeat what I said three times. The men for some reason listened better than the women.

Until last week, I thought I was aware of all these ad bombs, yet I thought I was immune. In general conversation, I now see how often they are being used, and perhaps we are not immune. We are always being training to respond to requests, whether in advertising, or person to person, or general commentary.

Web Based Advertising and Your Values

I use Ad blocking add on my browser. An adblocker protects me from most ads on ad saturated sites. I mean really, who is not insensitive to web based advertising any more? This isn’t a story about adblocker’s though. This is some thought about how and where companies advertise on the web, and what it says to me about those companies.

Recently, I used a computer without adblocker software installed. I was shocked to say the least at what I saw. Ads wanting me to partake of a companies offerings. Wholesome family value companies, who’s ads are inserted randomly in very disturbing stories. I found what I was observing ad and story wise very disconcerting.

Clicking a story with a disturbing headline about a women murdered, there is a picture of the woman, the story of how she was brutally murdered, and an advertisement for a family value company embedded in the upper right and offset to the middle right of the story text.

I could not believe a national chain, advertising on the net, has no interest when or where their ads are placed? As I clicked through article to article, there they are, ads from upstanding red, white, and blue wholesome companies ads right there among all the trash stories.

I thought there must be some oversight on the part of the companies. I emailed one company who had their ad placed in the above mentioned murder story. The company responded they have no control over where their ads are placed. This is a national chain, not some Mom and Pop Shop desperate for any type of online presence.

I am surprised at myself, and I am surprised at you. I am disturbed by these ads and their placement. We have become so immune to web advertising, ads are not noticed when reading the text. I do not know if these ads effect you or not, but at this point in my life, I know who I am, and I know what I want or need. An ad embedded in a story is not going to sway me to utilize them, or make them a part of my life.

The indifference to the placement of these ads however does lead me to question what these companies are really about. Read a sickening murder story, and book a room for your next vacation? Feels a little bi-polar to me.

Go ahead and check this out yourself. Go to a website that collects news of any type, and does advertising. Click on any disturbing story you find, and look at the ads, their placement, and values they want to portray. I think you will be a little awed too, maybe disturbed by companies who want advertising so badly, they do not care where their ads are placed.

In the future, I am going to pay more attention to these ads when I see them. They have started me thinking about the values that are important to these companies, and whether their values align with my own. How about you, will you see web based ads differently in the future?