Archive for November, 2005

El Tour De Tucson

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

19 Nov was El Tour De Tucson, a bicycle event in our town. The longest path was 108 miles, and they had shorter versions for people who didn’t want to ride the whole way. Nearly 8000 people rode, and they said they even came from other countries. So I guess our city and hotels must have been packed.

The interesting thing is that for a one-day event, they said that it brought $14M to the Tucson economy. $14M for a one-day event, though I’m sure people stayed and ate in town longer than one day. Tucson should come up with more events like this! We could really boost the economy with special events that attract people from all over. Why not do this more often? Seems like a win-win. The only downside from the point of view of being a resident was that police were directing traffic around most of the town so that the riders could have the right of way. So you couldn’t get to places as fast as you’d want to.

But it was still fun to see. I guess the rules weren’t as serious as the Tour De France. I saw people on racing bikes, mountain bikes, there were kids, and there were people on those bikes where you’re almost laying down and your legs are out in front of you. There were tandem bikes, as in two riders on the same bike. I saw lots of parent/child combinations on those, and I even saw a tandem version of the one where it looks like you’re laying down.

Good marketing for The Old Pueblo, as Tucson is called.


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Best Deal In Town

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

We have a free weekly newspaper that gives great food reviews. We’ve agreed pretty much every time, and when they like something, we try to go try it.

They loved Sushi On Oracle for it’s large portions and low prices. They got both right. We eat there once or twice a week, we love it so much. My favorite meal is off the menu. I have them do a vegetable stirfry donburi (rice bowl). It’s $4, and it comes with miso soup and a small serving of edamame. When I was in NYC in October, you could barely get a donburi in a restaurant I was at for less than $14. Amazing.

What the newspaper didn’t mention was how nice the staff are. The waitress we tend to get is a college girl who seems like the nicest girl ever. She tells us she’s majoring in geography, and she just got 101 on a test. We’re proud! And what career does she plan? "I hadn’t exactly thought of that when I chose geography." She told us her boyfriend lives in New York City and got a job with _______. I eventually figured out through her accent and bad pronounciation that he got a job at Ernst & Young. We told her that was a big deal and possibly a good job! She says, "Oh, now I have to marry him! All of my friends say to marry him."

We saw her last time, and she gave us a big open mouth smile and wave, the wave I call the "Jewish Mom in the audience of her kid’s school play." She rushed over to say she was going to visit her boyfriend in NY for Thanksgiving… and he was paying for her to come! She was so excited. It’s hard to not be excited for her.

Sushi On Oracle is delicious, inexpensive, and friendly. It’s fun to go there. We always hope to see the waitress. Someday we have to ask her name. Even when she’s not there, we usually have an amazing and filling dinner for like $15 after tax and tip. :)


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Visually Inspired Again!

Monday, November 28th, 2005

Breville is at it again. Evidently, a juicer that visually inspires you is just not enough. People are not getting enough visual inspiration in their kitchens.

The ultimate expression of kitchen form and function, or so their website says. In addition to the juicer, there are three more Breville products. The commercial for the espresso machine promised that the coffee-maker would visually inspire me.

So what are the products now? In addition to the $400 juicer, we have a $250 "indoor BBQ + grill" (translation: George Foreman grill), a $200 citrus press (remember hand-juicing? I guess this’ll do it for you… and why would you need this AND the juicer?), and a $500 espresso machine. In this economy, who is buying a $500 espresso machine when I can get a bunch under $100 at Target?

When I’m drinking my juice or espresso, will I be reflecting on how inspired I feel thanks to my "die cast" coffee maker? What does visual inspiration in my kitchen feel like? How will I know when I’m visually inspired? Bad marketing!


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Children’s Play Place and Knife Store

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

This past weekend, we went to the main mall in our area to do our Xmas shopping. The mall has a few "children’s play areas" scattered about, and they are always packed with tired parents and wired kids.

Today I noticed that one of the children’s play areas is 10 feet away from "The Knife Store." So I said to Dave, "Yes, I think that the best place for the children’s play area is as close as possible to The Knife Store."

This just seems like a recipe for disaster. If I were the landlord, I might consider NOT putting The Knife Store by the area where parents may not be paying the best attention to their kids.


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Who Wants To Go Deep?

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

My partner, Dave, has pointed out that the new Papa John’s Pizza ad we’re getting is homoerotic.

Football legend Dan Marino seems to be joining Papa John and some random people for a hometown game in a park. They’re all bent over in a huddle when Dan asks, "Who wants to go deep?" An EXTREMELY smiley Papa John gleefully says, "I DO!!!"

We recognize that this commercial could have gone in a number of directions. Maybe Papa John could have said, "Our new deep dish pizza goes deeper than the competition!" Still a bit odd, but not exactly a bent-over man announcing he wants to go deep. And the commercial’s not for deep dish pizza either, so I’m not sure what the relevance of the whole going deep thing is anyway.

I always wonder if the gay community sees homoerotic commercials and then runs out to buy the product. Do they identify with this stuff and get into that brand?


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Go Ahead and Be Suspicious

Monday, November 21st, 2005

I’ve had my eye on a certain new cell phone. I was thinking about getting it on eBay as it might save me money.

A new seller came on yesterday with zero feedback. Well we’ve all had zero feedback at one time or another. He (I don’t know the gender, but I’ll say "he" anyway) offered my phone and had 2 listings for other high end cell phones. I emailed to ask if the phone had been used at all. He wrote back that he had powered it up to make sure it worked.

I always hate the sound of that in an eBay listing. If you get your items from a good source and you can return them if they’re defective, you don’t have to power them all up. Powering phones up don’t necessarily tell you if they’re fully functioning anyway. So it always makes me think these phones were used for at least some period of time. Even the Sprint store doesn’t power up their phones "just to make sure."

In this case, zero feedback, 3 different models of phones for sale, all vaguely used, and 1-day auctions added up to something not good. Not tangible really, just a bad feeling.

So I wrote him back that I was suspicious of the whole thing and I would not be bidding. He wrote back, "OK, that’s your choice." Well, that made it worse! If someone wrote me that he was suspicous of my item, I’d be emailing images and serial numbers and anything I could to remedy that. I wouldn’t say, "OK, go ahead and be suspicious."

My suspicion paid off. I just checked back to see how that listing ended. I was right. All of the listings had been ended by eBay and the user was completely suspended. All within 24 hours.

Trust your gut, your instincts.


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The Dry Erase Board That Doesn’t

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

Who is it who said you should do one thing and do it well? That’s the story of a dry erase board certainly. It only has to do one thing. Let people completely erase things they wrote with special pens.

I bought a dry erase board from Office Max. Wrote all over it. Tried to erase a few things a few days later, and it didn’t erase. You’d think they’d work that out at some point in development.

I exchanged it today. I grabbed the same type of board. We opened it at the store, and it didn’t erase either. !!!!!

I ended up with a bigger board, and that DID erase. It was the same brand, so I have no idea what happened with the smaller board. Beware of the Quartet brand from Office Max. Some of them just DON’T erase!

That’s bad marketing! I only need my dry erase boards to do ONE thing.


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Nutritional Information

Monday, November 14th, 2005

A few days ago, I was predicting that McDonalds will try to make its items seem healthier by following the industry practice of breaking them into multiple servings. You see that with a can of Chunky soup. Most people will eat the whole can, but if you read the label, it says the can has 2 (or sometimes more) servings. That means multiple all the calories, fat, and other data!

Last night, we took out from Pizzeria Uno. I eat mostly vegetarian now, so I got their Farmers Market small deep dish pizza for one. It has cheese, tomatoes, eggplant, and a few other things. None of that high-calorie meat! Besides, it’s only a little 8" pizza. It’s TINY! They cut it into six pieces that each look slightly larger than a tea bag.

After ordering it, I went to the nutrition part of the website, and found something very interesting. My pizza is considered 1 serving. Well thanks for your honesty! My pizza is 2330 calories.

2330.

A diet website I visited earlier this year suggested that if I ate 1330 calories per day and got some exercise, I’d lose 1 pound per week. If i ate closer to 1500-1600 calories, I’d be likely to maintain my weight. So I try to underdo the calories where I can considering I have little time for exercise during our busy season.

If I had eaten that pizza for dinner, I would have had how many calories for the day?!?!? Well, I estimate my breakfast at around 500 cal. I had a 120 cal snack. My lunch was around 300 cal. I was being good! :) So I ate 2 of the six pieces for a 777 cal dinner. I could have one piece for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for dinner. That’d be a good calorie day, but I think I would have eaten maybe 8 ounces of food. :)


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Competition Through Copyright Infringement, Part 2

Friday, November 11th, 2005

Remember when I found someone copying my marketing word-for-word?

Last week, the plagiarist replied, citing two reasons why I saw the copied material. I think both excuses are interesting though not very compelling.

1) She claimed that my entry was presented (by eBay staff) as a sample of a great entry.

2) In June, she had asked our contact at eBay to revise her listing with new text in time for the annual eBay convention in June. But she just noticed (now in November) that the new text never went up.

My commentary is that if a professor shows you an example of a great term paper, you can’t take a paragraph out of that sample paper for your paper. I don’t think that would fly. Second, the second excuse sounds like, "If ____ had changed my text back in June, you never would have seen that I was copying you." Third, I don’t appreciate this person firing two shots at our contact at eBay. That eBay staff woman works her butt off for us, and is NOT to blame for this other person ripping off my text.

The person who copied me is lucky that I’m not a vengeful type or a typical blogger. I’m not naming her company or linking to her site. I already found a Canadian company who’s ripping HER off. So the lesson is what goes around comes around. And please don’t copy people’s marketing. I don’t even want my writing style emulated or my words paraphrased.

Bad marketing for her. It would have been nice if she had just taken responsibility, but that seems to be too much to wish for nowadays.


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A Slogan For Nobody

Thursday, November 10th, 2005

There is a chain of mattress stores here, and I’m convinced they have one of the worst slogans ever.

"The nobody who beats everybody’s prices."

You’re a nobody? Exactly how does that psychologically positively connect to people? People usually want to be associated with "the winner" even if they hadn’t been previously backing that horse. Who wants to be connected to "the nobody"?


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