Categories for Rants

Starbucks Did It Again

November 7, 2016 9:57 am Published by

Each year, Starbucks comes out with a special holiday cup. Last year, the company’s choice of design for their seasonal cups struck up controversy and they’re apparently not disappointing in doing the same this year – whether intentional or not. A green holiday cup (as opposed to their previously red holiday cups) has been described by Starbucks as a “unity” cup, displaying a drawing of several people of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. Starbucks wanted to show that, during this divided and chaotic time, we are still all humans and all one people.
So why the uproar? Many customers seem to feel that the cups being green instead of red is an utter lack of respect or acknowledgment for what Christians believe to be the meaning of Christmas. Apparently, those who are causing a commotion over a cup have no thoughts that perhaps we need a little hope this holiday season and a reminder that people are just people. Or maybe they don’t remember that Starbucks does not claim to be a Christian company. If Chick-Fil-A had done something like this, I might understand the confusion…even extreme upset. Chick-Fil-A proudly advertises that they are a religious company, even closing on Sundays to recognize the importance of this day of rest and worship for Christians. But Starbucks does not affiliate with any religion.
There has also been a bit of an uproar from the other side. Those that truly don’t care about the color of the cup are making their voices heard as well: essentially, they’re all saying, “Shut up! It’s just a cup!” Twitter particularly has been taken over with #starbuckschristmas, including the annoyance of those who are tired of hearing people complain about the color green.
Interestingly, there is rumor that this is not the official holiday cup of Starbucks this year. A photo was leaked that the holiday cups are supposed to be revealed on November 10th. Guys, today is only November 7th. So what will happen on this upcoming Thursday? Maybe the company will reveal a line of spiritual-based cups – possibly based on the beliefs of several religions. Maybe they will laugh and say, “Ha! The green cups really are the official holiday cups!” Maybe they will announce that they will discontinue the holiday cup tradition altogether, since people can’t seem to handle it. No matter what they decide to unveil on Thursday, it’s sure to stir up the controversy pot since that is apparently what people are most concerned about these days. Didn’t you know that the color of a cup that’s holding a $6 coffee is a vital part of society and a defining piece of the individual drinking from it?!
What was Starbucks thinking when making this crucial decision about their holiday cups? Honestly, after the outrage from last year about a simple red cup – lacking anything other than their logo – you would think that they realized that this reaction was definitely a possibility. But maybe they did think about this. The 2015 Starbucks pandemonium kept the company’s name on the tongues of everyone throughout the entire holiday season. For better or worse, people were talking about Starbucks. As they say, there is no good or bad publicity – just publicity.

On Taking "No" For An Answer

October 24, 2015 11:00 am Published by

We can all agree that no one likes to hear the word “No.” Business or personal it doesn’t matter, being denied something you’ve worked long and hard for is no easy thing. Most of us don’t take it very well.
consumer-reports-sales3That’s really not a problem unless you happen to be selling something. Then taking “No” for an answer had better be in your repertoire, or you’ll turn off a lot of potential customers. There are ways to make the most of a sales rejection, but you’d better, at you core, be capable of hearing (and understanding) the word “No”.
This most simple of skills was utterly beyond the capability of the salesman who presented a rather expensive product (replacement windows) to us recently. True his product was good, had lots to offer, including a hefty price tag. This gentleman made no secret of his astonishment when when we didn’t jump up and sign on the dotted line.
He could not seem to get past us leaving, “x amount of dollars on the table.”

Lamenting The Loss Of My Promotional Calendar

February 12, 2014 10:59 am Published by

I am sick with disappointment. This year, unlike all others since 2005, my beach house realtor has eliminated the promotional calendar and (gasp!) replaced it with a double sided (get ready) word search. Yes, you read correctly — a word search, two sided no less.
Now I don’t know about you, but there aren’t too many people over the age of 7 who enjoy these things. Part of the reason may be that in the end you’re left with a bunch of overlapping ovals and a list of crossed out words. Once the “fun” is over, that’s it. A throw away. Being two sided is almost like a slap in the face… as if one word search was not enough.
Completely unlike that awesome promotional  calendar, sized to fit just above my keyboard, that displayed the whole year at a glance. I looked at that calendar (and saw my realtor’s name) from one to  ten times a day, every day. I relied on that durable little strip to plan ahead, get a quick glimpse of the upcoming months. This calendar was what every promotional product needs to be, high quality, intuitively useful and delivered right on time.

Effective Promotions Or Extraneous Expenditures

December 1, 2011 11:29 am Published by

Do you think of promotional products as extraneous promotional items?
We don’t. The way we see it Ed O’Keefe had it right. No one wants to see government wastefully spend more of our money… cuts do need to be made, there’s no argument there. But there’s a difference between making smart cuts in unnecessary spending and throwing out the baby with the bath water — getting rid of an affordable, effective way to deliver a message in an attempt to look productive, to deliver results.
Promotional products are both effective AND affordable. Beyond the many business owners and organizations who can attest to this, politicians themselves know it to be true… or else why would they choose these items for use during hotly fought political (even presidential) campaigns? Further evidence of effectiveness comes from government programs themselves — including the 2010 Census, which had response rates that far surpassed the 2000 census — at savings estimated to have reached $85 million.

Promotional Products – One Of Many Ways To Support A Cause

October 3, 2011 1:35 pm Published by

In a season of vibrant reds, oranges and yellows, there’s one rather unlikely color that’s become associated with the month of October. Pink. In fact, those now all-too-familiar pink ribbons first appeared in the fall of 1991 at a cancer fundraiser and were adopted as the official breast cancer support symbol the following year. As we mark the 25th anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month that pretty pink is looking a bit mud splattered… a bit tawdry.
You see growing numbers of consumers are becoming wary of what’s been termed “pink washing” slapping pink on anything and everything to sell to women rather than offer any kind of genuine support to the cause. Fortunate then that more and more of us are starting to wonder if all the pink ribbons and pastel t-shirt clad marchers are really doing anything.
An obscene example of pink washing comes just as the month begins, with the stink (sorry) raised by the perfume commissioned by breast cancer fundraising giant Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Known as Promise Me, the new product has been found in independent testing to contain toxic chemicals that aren’t listed in the ingredients… hardly the move of an organization dedicated to women’s health.

Proudly Patriotic

July 1, 2011 8:39 am Published by

Hard to believe that we’re already at the time of year when patriotism takes center stage. As we gather at backyard cookouts or lounge on the beaches, attend parades or gaze up at fireworks to celebrate the birth of this nation, every one of us is proud to be an American. Yet how many can say, with a clear conscience, that we truly love our country? And just what are we prepared to sacrifice for that love? Is the Pledge of Allegiance a few words recited by rote, or something more meaningful?
Now is the time to think about how you (and your business) express your patriotism. There are many things you can do, simple everyday acts, that can contribute to making this nation what it is meant to be… great.

Call Them What You Will, Promotional Products Work

February 25, 2011 3:51 pm Published by

According to multiple reports including a recent Technorati piece, California Governor Jerry Brown referred to promotional products as “doodads and plastic gewgaws” and has forbidden state agencies from buying them, expecting to save his cash-strapped state somewhere between $7-$8 million over the next three years. He wants no more state money spent on items that make people feel good but in the end are probably unnecessary and likely to end up in landfills anyway.
Never mind that these items have successfully built awareness of public initiatives and environmental issues as well as to promote health and wellness. Forget too that promo products are far less likely to end up in a landfill than the brochures, posters and other printed pieces used as advertising by the state.
At least the Governor first invoked a hiring freeze on state jobs, cut back on cell phones for bureaucrats and halted the purchase of new vehicles for the state, so promo products fans can’t feel totally slighted.

Reusable Bags Loaded With Lead? Not Exactly.

November 23, 2010 1:25 am Published by

It being sweeps, you’ll likely have heard news reports about unsafe lead levels in those handy imprinted reusable bags we’ve all gotten used to carrying to help the environment. Now that more and more communities are banning the landfill clogging plastic bags, reusable ones are making it onto the radar of a scandal hungry, ratings driven media.
And so last week’s report from the Tampa Tribune sounded the alarm on lead content in reusable shopping bags. For their story, the Tribune bought two dozen reuseable grocery bags sold by Florida retailers (Winn-Dixie, Publix, Sweetbay, Wal-Mart and Target) and paid for two rounds of testing by Thornton Laboratoories. In response to the report on elevated lead levels, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-Ny) to is calling for an investigation by no less than the FDA, the EPA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to determine the lead risk to the public.

Lessons from the front: How NOT To Do Email Marketing from Chili’s – No Place Else!

November 17, 2010 2:05 pm Published by

I’ve been a customer and fan of Chili’s for a long, long time. In fact, my ex-father in law actually built the first one in Dallas, so we go back a little.
Imagine my joy when I see an email from Chili’s in my inbox, with the subject line “That Happy Little Place Between Work And Home” – offering some kind of happy hour special. Then imagine my disappointment when I see that their email marketing vendor has somehow screwed something up and caused the email to be worthless.
Chili's Email Marketing FAIL
Now imagine potentially half a million (HALF A MILLION? YES!) Facebook fans talking about this messed up email.
I head to their Facebook page, and it looks like this has been going on for at least 2 hours.
So here’s the skinny: Fish Bowl sends out a non working email on behalf of their client, Chili’s. The email falls apart and is totally confusing and non-functional. Recipients begin to talk about this on the Chili’s Facebook page.
Somebody should be fired over this. Epic fail.

In fact, you can make your own chili. Here’s an awesome recipe from Jen Reviews.

Since When Are Bad Manners Good For Business?

August 19, 2010 6:11 pm Published by

Am I the only one who’s noticed that more and more businesses just don’t care about service anymore? That bad manners and an indifferent attitude are the norm?
In fact, within the last six months I’ve had experiences that illustrate this point only too well — when a major retailer makes it nearly impossible to buy a product from them, when a service business is utterly indifferent to legitimate complaints, or when a sales associate is so intent on making a sale they didn’t care about my interests or budget. I’ve waited patiently as clerks took their time finishing up personal calls, had questions go unanswered and been rushed right along when closing time is approaching.
It’s like my business… my money… doesn’t matter one bit. Like companies just don’t care enough to earn my loyalty.