Archive for February, 2006

Olympics

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

That Bode Miller sure was more marketing hype than actual product.


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Same Company Name

Monday, February 27th, 2006

We do a website for the Finnish Tourism Board, and every year, we update it to match the brochure they put out for the "Kings’ Road" packages. One page lists tour operators who have Kings’ Road excursions, tours, or packages.

We saw two companies with the same name, so we took one off. When the client checked the page, she wrote us that they were actually two separate companies… different phone numbers and different websites. One company is Scandia World Travel and the other is Scandia World Travel, Inc.

Somebody ran out of ideas or somebody loves trademark infringement.


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Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and along with it, the surreal commercials for what to get the people in your life. Two commercials stood out to me this year.

First was a local flower shop, who said that getting your date roses really said something! Getting her roses AND a bottle of wine said a lot more! I agree. It says, "Lie down on your back." :)

Second was a national ad for that pillar of romance, K-Y Jelly. The commercial announced that K-Y is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. I guess it answers that age-old question of what romantic gift do you get the woman "suffering from personal dryness." Is it like getting OdorEaters for your man and his smelly shoes? Meanwhile, it’s another lovely gift that says, "Give it up." :)


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More Kindness (?) From Strangers

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

Last year, we bought tickets to see Dave Chappelle live in our city. We had to use Ticketmaster for the venue, but we bought them when they went on sale, which was around 2 months before the show.

Eventually the tickets came in the mail. They sure were Dave Chappelle tickets, but they weren’t OUR tickets. We were sent tickets for some guy in Illinois, who had bought the expensive seats. We bought general lawn seating, which was the cheapest seats. How many of you would have kept the better seat tickets and let the guy in Illinois work out the problem?

As the tickets print with a sheet that has the name and address of the buyer, we found them in the phone book and called them. We spoke to them, and they had OUR tickets. We agreed to mail each other the tickets. We mailed them their expensive seats right away, so they surely got them in time.

We had to beg for replacement tickets at the show as the people in Illinois didn’t return our kindness… until last week. Yes, I have an envelope postmarked February 13, 2006. Inside is one sheet of paper with "THANKS" hand written on it. Inside were also my tickets for the Chappelle event, which was November 2005.

Yeah, thanks.


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TurboTax Refund Options

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

I liked this one so much I used it. This was my second year using TurboTax.com for my personal taxes. It’s quick and easy, and I feel it’s worth what I pay to use it. 2005 taxes were especially sticky considering I lived in two different states during the year.

I was due a small but nice refund, and the website gave me an interesting option. Would I like to put some or all of my refund towards a gift card from one or more of certain merchants? Why would I do that? Because each gift card was being offered for less than its face value. What an interesting promo!

As the size of my refund surprised me and felt like found money, I decided to put $170 of it towards a $200 SpaFinder gift certificate. That can be used at any day spa or resort spa in the world that takes the SpaFinder gift certificate. Many famous and fantastic spas here in Tucson take it, so I figured it was something small I could do for myself.

If you choose to use TurboTax, check out the offers for your refund. I think it’s a clever idea, and why not turn $170 into $200. :)


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I Will Call Until You Answer

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

I hate when people call me over and over in a row. I can’t answer their call, so they let it ring and ring and ring. They could leave a voice mail, but they hang up and call back.

Evidently, this is urgent! This is huge! They’ve called a second or third time IN A ROW.

And haven’t left a voice mail. It’s that urgent. They always call back later or another day, and when I finally talk to them, it’s always something like, "Oh, I was just wondering about your company’s services."

I don’t want to burn a bridge, but I’m always tempted to ask where the fire was when they called over and over as if they were the most important thing I could possibly do in that moment. I don’t ask. But I wonder what they’re thinking!

I don’t do that to people unless I consider it EXTREMELY important or I’m not sure I called the right number. Of course, if they listen to the voice mail, they’ll know they have the right number.

Grrrr!


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Maori Pronunciation for New Yawkers

Monday, February 20th, 2006

Maori is the language of native New Zealanders. The language is of Polynesian descent, so it’s similar to Hawaiian and Tahitian. I was looking up some words and wanted to find out more about proper pronunciation. I found something I never expected to find.

Or say "bring," and, if you are from Long Island, pretend that you are not.

Tips for Long Islanders. That’s where I grew up, and I’m not sure that people with the LI accent can pretend they don’t have it. But I see the author’s point. A Long Islander, who will say "LongIslander" as one word with the G going right into the I, would probably say "brinGUH" for "bring." The "ng" in Maori is not pronounced like that at all. Meanwhile, the Long Islander is not likely to understand what the guy means about pretending you’re not.

So a lovely, interesting, and very specific tip for a few million people trying to pronounce Maori. Love it.


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The Kindness (?) of Strangers

Friday, February 17th, 2006

Yesterday, I got an email from a stranger with the subject line of "Can you help?" He wrote:

    I was suspended from eBay because of a hi jacked account. Can you help me get back?

He gave me his eBay user ID, which I won’t repeat here to keep him anonymous. I wrote him back:

    We’re not eBay. You should go to the eBay home page at www.ebay.com and look to the top right for "Live Help." They are trained eBay customer service reps who will help you.

He wrote back:

    I wouldnt have asked you if I could go and seek help from ebay. Ebay now is losing hundreds of sellers by the day. Look at ioffer.com it is now a haven for former ebayers who have been unceremoneously suspended due to others misdeeds. You wouldnt want to wake up and find out the company you work with is no longer there.

    If you have close connections with the ebay president, Meg Whitman. I hope you can bring up the subject of granting amnesty to those suspended ebayers who have positve feedback of over 100 and who have been members more than 2 years. My account had more than 800 and was a member for 8.5 years. Paid my dues religously until some scammer from China hi-jacked my account. You would be doing a great service to thousands of suspended ebayers who would like to go back but cannot. Instead they have found a sanctuary in iOffer.com which grows day by day.

    Thank you for your time Miss Levitt.

Well, I don’t have eBay in my pocket. I certainly don’t know the CEO, and I’m not in the habit of taking individual complaints from strangers as high up in eBay as I can. I don’t know what this guy’s real story is, so I can’t run to eBay with this story! I also felt that this was some sort of weird marketing campaign for iOffer.com, and I didn’t want to get involved. I replied:

    I do not have any relationship with Meg, and I’m certainly not going to take some sort of protest or problems to eBay when they’re not my problems! I wouldn’t ask you to fight the post office because they lost an important piece of my mail. :)

    This situation has nothing to do with me, so I will not make myself a part of it.

The reply I received was:

    Thank you Debbie. I understand your position. Well lets just see what happens. I will go back to ioffer.com and start a discussion. I will include excerpts of our conversation. Will give you a copy of what the members over there will say.

Now wait a minute. I thought I was having a private conversation with one person. I didn’t think anything I said was going to be broadcast to a bunch of strangers, and anything they say is not going to change my position on this. I told him that private email conversations are private, and I did not give him permission to share our private conversation on a public website. He replied:

    I accessed your website through the Google search engine which is a public domain. I emailed your company about a legitimate inquiry via the link which is in your website. The most I was expecting was a reply from a representative but I was surprised you the president of AS-WAS did. I know you are intelligent enough to know what is public and what is private. By all means our conversation is public and the whole world has the right to know what kind of people are behind your company. As for me I have made my judgement but allow the others who are in the same predicament as myself to make up their minds.

    See you in iOffer.

I will not be bullied into being part of whatever iOffer is, and I will not be bullied into "being seen" there. The most interesting thing is that this guy wanted my help. He came to a total stranger to ask for help, claiming to want his eBay account back, and ultimated just wanted to bully me into coming to iOffer. It’s not my responsibility to help people who got suspended from eBay for who knows what reasons. I know that eBay can tell the difference between an account hijack and an account that was not hijacked, so I don’t buy his story! But it’s nice of him to say in writing that he will try to defame my company.

I say good luck to him. There is only so far you will get in life with that attitude. It sounds like the child who asks to borrow a dollar, and when you don’t have it or don’t want to give it to him, he calls you names and tells everybody you’re a loser. Some people don’t deal well with disappointment!


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Dinnertime Selections

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

Lean Cuisine’s doing a lot of ads lately about how all of their food is better quality (than you thought). I noticed fine print on the commercial saying some of the meals are excluded from this goodness. The website says the same thing.

  • Our varieties have from 340-700mg of sodium, 14-29% the %DV (percent daily value) of sodium*
  • Our vegetables are fresh-picked, then flash-frozen to lock-in their nutrients and flavor.
  • Our meals use no artificial flavors**
  • Our meals contain 0g TFA’s per serving

    * excludes DINNERTIME SELECTIONS™
    ** excludes DINNERTIME SELECTIONS™ Chicken Portabello


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From Ove Glove to Bagel Place

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

I recently told you that the heavily advertised product, The Ove Glove, could kill me.

In January, I found myself in the San Jose airport at the bagel place as there was really little else in my terminal. I asked for a bagel with cream cheese, and asked them to please NOT use the same knife they use on lox. The woman was totally confused. What? She wasn’t sure she HAD another knife. She offered to rinse off her knife but then use the same one. No, I told her that I had a serious fish allergy, and if she uses a knife on lox and then on my bagel, I could get a very serious allergy attack.

She had NO solution. How’s that for customer service. Nothing she could use to cut my bagel. This tells me that that place must be a tribute to cross-contamination. If one knife is used for EVERYTHING, and people have to be ASKED to wash the knife, then let’s think about what’s going on there!


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