Archive for the ‘That’s Bad Marketing’ Category

Cell Phone Companies Hate Their Customers

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

That's the only conclusion I can draw. Cell phone companies hate existing customers. It's all about new customers. But once you're a customer, you can get f***ed. And I'm so tired of the game.

Sprint, my carrier, who I'm happy with, is coming out with a new phone. It comes out on 4 June. I want it. I have been a Sprint customer for over 6 years (without leaving). If I want to buy this phone, it'll cost me $450.

If I am new to Sprint, say I'm one of the iPhone people who will dump AT&T to get the HTC Evo 4G phone, well Sprint wants to welcome me right in by offering me the phone for $199 if I sign a two-year contract. I'll extend my contract two years. Nope, I can pay $450.

Here's where it becomes the stupidest math problem on the planet.

The early termination fee is $200. If I didn't care about losing my phone number (and so few people have it that that's not so scary), I could cancel my phone for $200. I could then say HEY, I'm new! I'd get the phone for $199. I would come out $50 ahead in the deal… but have lost my old phone number. Which will mean less and less as I give out my Google Voice number more and more.

I have another option. Chew on the wacky stupidity of this one. I have a 2nd phone on my line. It's a phone I had gotten for a previous boyfriend, and hey, the contract lasted longer than the relationship. Shame! That phone is due for an "upgrade" special according to Sprint. On 1 July, I can get the HTC Evo 4G for $199 by using my "upgrade."

I can then cancel that other line, and pay the $200 early termination fee, but finally shut that line off, saving me around $40 per month (over the remaining 13 months of the contract). Another win for me. So this is what I'll do. I'll get the new phone on 1 July, and then cancel that line (paying the fee) because the fee is less than the difference between a $450 phone and a $199 phone!

But look at how many hoops I'd have to jump through to do either of these things. Sprint and other cell phone companies should make this easy. You want me to use my phone. You want me to like my phone. You want me to need my phone. As a long term customer, I am worth way more to you than the $250 extra you are trying to get out of me. When I tell people how happy I am, I am bringing you business. I am worth more than $250.

It's like that bank commercial where the bank gives newer people better things, and they tell you that businesses should know to not do that. Same for cell phone companies. If you cared more about keeping your customers, it wouldn't be so easy to lose them to a hot deal from someone else.

I was recently in the AT&T store, just to see what they had. I don't like their products or services, but I was curious. They tried to make it sound AMAZING that if I signed up with them, I would get a $75 discount. A whole $75!!! I told them I don't give it up for that little money. They were surprised that in this economy, I didn't want to completely change cell phone companies to have $75 that day. I guess people are that fickle or desperate or excited about $75.

Cell phone companies should reward me for sticking around. I don't want anything special. Just the same price on the phone that other people are getting. If I agree to a 2-yr contract extension, what's the difference between me and the guy who is new and gets a 2-yr contract? We are worth the same… except I'm worth more because I've proven that I'll stay. The guy who jumps for your deal will jump the next time he gets another offer.


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5 Things That Reveal Your Hotel As Not As Classy As You Thought

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Having stayed in some weird places, I thought I'd write a list of the top things that make your hotel room seem way less classy… once you get there. Disregard pictures on the internet.

Counting them down…

Number 5! Outside doors. That means the hotel was built WAY long ago as some sort of bungalow colony or motel. That's usually not as safe. A lot of those places don't have elevators either. You have to carry everything up and down steps.

Number 4! The restaurant staff are chain smoking while cooking and serving you. I think I had that in rural Virginia on one of my road trips.

Number 3! There is a sign in your room about how much you will be charged if you steal any towels or pillows.

Number 2! The mini bar has condoms for sale (at bizarrely high prices). I'm in town on business. But according to my hotel, I am going to have sex with someone I wasn't planning to have sex with (or didn't know). Because if I had PLANNED to have sex, I would have brought my own condoms. According to my hotel, that's who's staying in their rooms. The sexually voracious with no foresight.

Number 1! The number one spot can ONLY be taken by the Radisson in Branson, Missouri. I stopped there on a cross-country road trip, just to see what Branson looked like. Heard the commercials. Had to see it. It was basically on the way. And figured the Radisson would be a step or two up from my usual Hampton Inns, which are nice and consistent.

The room had bugs. The bathroom light didn't go on (but we still saw the bugs). The made bed had hairs all over the sheets, and some blood stains. The room smelled like pee in a garbage can. Checked out 20min after checking in, and refused to pay. Manager asked what was wrong. I said that this was a room only a crime scene investigator could love. She looked completely not surprised. Went to the Hampton Inn, where I should have gone in the first place.

That's our winner! :)


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I Hate El Charro Cafe

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

El Charro Cafe isn't just a handful of restaurants around Tucson. Having started in the 1920's, it's an institution. Hating it makes people look at me funny. Like growing up on Long Island and not being a Billy Joel fan. I'm just an outsider.

But hear me out. Why I hate them goes beyond opinion. I have some interesting facts people should know.

My first trip to legendary El Charro was in 2005 with a then-boyfriend. We sat down, looked at the extensive menu, and ordered an appetizer. The teen waiter apologised that they were out of that. Normally, that's all the waiter says, but there is something bizarrely honest about where I live. He continued, "The factory didn't send us enough of those today."

The factory? We asked him to tell us more. And he did.

He explained that most of the food on the menu is made off-site, somewhere, I guess in some big thing this kid wanted to call a factory (whether it is or isn't, I don't know). It's then delivered to each restaurant, and the food is mostly warmed up and presented.

We were not happy. We ate there anyway. We found it mediocre. We swore to never go back. I'm a great cook, and for what restaurants charge, if I want something defrosted or rewarmed, I can stay home and power up the microwave for a lot less money. For a lot less money, I could cook something really fresh and organic.

I have been back to El Charro twice since, both because friends of mine love it, and like to do special nights for groups of friends there. I love those friends, and hope they're reading this. Love you guys! But in that couple, the husband's parents won't eat at El Charro (the Mom is of Mexican descent).

The first time this couple invited me there, I took a menu over to the manager. I opened it up. I asked him to show me what on the menu will be made fresh for me right there. Hmmmm, he had to think. Salads. The salads are put together fresh. And I think he said some of their dishes with chicken. I guess chicken doesn't freeze and unfreeze well or something. I had a mediocre dinner, and wondered why I go there.

I was there last night. I'm paying for it today, but that's another story. Same fantastic friends, husband's grad school graduation. Super proud of him!! I didn't ask a manager for help. I tried to think of how I could have something made fresh for me, right there. El Charro is famous for their carne seca, so I figured I'd try that. But my plan was to CUSTOMISE my order so they'd have to make it fresh.

I ordered a carne seca quesadilla. For those not in the know, a quesadilla is a Mexican equivalent of a grilled cheese. So you get tortillas with melted cheese, and often some sort of other filling. I asked him to add onions. He told me it already has some onions in it. OK, I asked him to ADD pico de gallo to it. Sure, he said.

When dinner came, I knew I was in trouble. The pico de gallo was on TOP. It was not added and melted in with that cheese. The cheese looked melted. The food was colder than room temperature. The middle was refrigerator cold. Imagine serving someone a refrigerator cold grilled cheese. 

It didn't even taste good. It was incredibly bland. Flavourless tortilla, flavourless cheese, flavourless meat, and this really lame pico on top. I ate it anyway. What else should I do, and I didn't want to draw attention to myself for taking one bite of something and totally freaking hating it. My graduate friend sitting next to me asked me how my dinner was. I told him I refused to answer that question. I didn't want to lie, but I didn't want to start yapping about how bad the food is there… or how his chile relleno was probably made yesterday 100 miles away.

So that's it, I'm done with these people (El Charro, not my awesome friends!). I paid a lot of money to eat something crappy that is making me sick today. I'm sorry to people who think their food is amazing, but I will not eat there ever again. If that is where you are holding your party for something, I will have some chips and guacamole, and I won't order anything else. It's just not worth it.

If you are in Tucson and love Mexican food, head over to newly-renamed La Botana at First and Fort Lowell. It's a bit of a hole in the wall, but the food is so incredibly fresh that you will fall in love. The service is friendly and helpful. They're a really sweet family. They hand-make everything including the chips. Their pico is bursting with flavours, their bean dip is spicy. Their shrimp are so plump and fresh-tasting. Everything there is amazing. That's Mexican food to me. Fave combination over there… get something with their shrimp and poblano peppers.

PS: I now have a habit of going to chain restaurants, and asking them what on the menu is made fresh. I did that at NASCAR Cafe in the Sahara on the Vegas strip. The waiter could only find ONE thing on the menu they would make fresh, and I ordered that. Honestly, it seems awkward, but it's a good question to ask.


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Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich?

Monday, May 10th, 2010

A new TV commercial shows happy, healthily-sized children playing safely. One guy is setting up a lemonade stand type of thing with Pop Tarts.

A cartoon girl asks for a Pop Tart ice cream sandwich. The cartoon showed 2 Pop Tarts with a scoop of ice cream between them, then flattened to make a sandwich. I decided to calculate the calories.

A Pop Tart typically has around 200 calories. A sccop of ice cream typically has around 250 calories. That means your Pop Tart ice cream sandwich, as shown in the commercial, would be 600 calories.

I then wanted to look up how to burn calories. To burn 600 calories, a 70-pound kid would have to…

  • Ride her bike as a casual speed but non-stop for 3 hours.
  • Do light cleaning around the house for 7 hours.
  • Sit and watch TV for 19 hours. That might be the same for playing video games.
  • Swim around a lake for 3 hours.

Seems like a lot of empty calories to me. Why not make an ice cream sandwich by cutting one Pop Tart in half and putting in half a scoop off ice cream? That would be 325 calories. That's a great snack size. And it's important to be thinking about this if you have one of the millions of kids who are overweight, gaining weight quickly, or mostly sedentary.

I'd probably suggest something better than a Pop Tart anyway. Why eat something terribly overprocessed and full of chemicals. Maybe a graham cracker would be better? Just wondering.

Disclaimer: I don't eat Pop Tarts.


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I’m Special, But Not Special Enough For A Personal Email

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Another in my series of "please don't do this on online dating sites." A guy I was not interested in sent me an email. Sure, he could have said, "Hi. You look interesting. Please check out my profile." That could have been it.

But no. He sent me this long email… that was clearly not for me… that he probably sends to everybody. I am not going to even BOTHER pointing out everything that is wrong here. From the fact that I don't start wars to the idea that this guy wants to kiss all his female cousins… well, I'll let you enjoy.

I emailed him back with, "Boo to copy and paste," and set the online dating system to block him.

The email was entitled, "Greetings." But really, it's like a bad forward we would all delete.

    You are a very pretty woman. I prefer brunettes. You have a face that could launch a 1,000 ships. Do you know what that saying is from? And not a song by Bread.

    You have an interesting profile.

    Auction Humor

    The bidding was proceeding furiously and strong when the Chief Auctioneer suddenly announced, "a gentleman in this room has lost a wallet containing ten thousand dollars. If returned, he will pay a reward of two thousand dollars". There was a moment's silence in the auction house and from the back of the room came a cry: "Two thousand five hundred".

    I enjoy traveling. That is why I am in Tucson. I am from Chicago. In 2005, the Chicago White Sox won the World Series. In 2006 and 2007 I came here for spring training and decided to move here. I have traveled throughout the USA and Canada. New York City, Boston, New Orleans, LA, Phoenix, Toronto, SF, Mrytle Beach VA., skiing in VT, MI, OH, KS, IA, MO, AR (been to the Hot Springs), LA, MS, AL, GA, Atlanta, Disneyworld, TN, Nashville, KY, IN, WI, MN, ND, SD, IA, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, Glacier Park, Yellowstone Park, and a helicoptor ride over the Grand Canyon. Overseas:Paris, Fance; Rome, Italy; Ireland and Australia.

    Family is important. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. One of my sisters is 2 years older than me. When we were young, she thought it was her personal responsibility to teach me how to treat a girl. I open all doors. Women ask me why I do that. Well, it is because of my sister. My mother's twin sister had 9 kids. Boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl, boy. The 3rd oldest boy was a year younger than me. In grammar school, I lived every summer with them. I am from a big clan. I always thought my uncles and aunts were the best in the world. Being a Catholic clan. Everybody was baptized, first communion, confirmation, graduations. The clan got together for all of them. I was close to all my cousins. It was mandatory that all clan gatherings to shake all uncles hands and kiss all aunts. Of course, I kissed all my female cousins.

    Communication, honesty, integrity loyalty and respect are important to me.

    Please, tell me more about yourself.

    Johnny


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Another Online Dating Profile Tip

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

I'm giving online dating another shot. Partially, I hope to make good friends. Partially, it seemed to be an endless source of blog, Facebook, and Twitter content… so much so that when I left online dating sites, there was a mini rebellion. People told me they loved those posts, so I guess they're back!

I read a dating profile yesterday that made a good point. He said he's not interested if most or all of your profile is about who your perfect match is. He's right. The profile is YOUR chance to get me interested in you. It's your commercial! It's your, "This is who I am… want to know more?"

First, I thought he was being a bit jerky with his list of things that if you're doing, he doesn't want to hear from you. But he's right. I got a profile this morning where the WHOLE thing was what the right woman will be… an do… and understand… and be into. Someone has been watching too much Weird Science.

And to make it worse, his profile says he doesn't have kids, probably doesn't want kids, I don't have or want kids, and his ONLY profile picture was him holding a baby. That's a turn ON for women who want kids. That's a turn OFF for women who don't want kids. :) This guy claims to not want kids. Wrong picture!

So men and ladies, use your online dating profiles to show me who you are. What are you into. What are you passionate about. Hobbies, favourite bands, fave comedians. Recent live shows you saw. Your fave vacation. Get me interested by telling me actual things about who you actually are!

Aaaaaaaa!


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Take Pics of eBay Items Before You Return Them

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

I bought a spare battery on eBay. Based on the mAh, it should have lasted twice as long as my standard battery. I got the battery. I tried it out. I was lasting about the same as my standard battery. It was some off-brand, so maybe that explains it not really living up to the claimed time.

I contacted the seller. He was willing to take it back and give me a refund. OK that sounds great. He sent a UPS return label. Also very nice! Didn't have to. He sent me an email asking me to please give him very high ratings because he is trying so hard to make me happy. I thought it was a shame that he felt he had to say that. I said of course I'd give you good ratings… you are helping me out.

I returned the battery. A week later, I get a phone call from the seller, and then an email. They tell me they got the battery back, they gave me a full refund (which was in my PayPal account, so it was true), but I sent back a badly damaged battery that they cannot resell. The email said that they knew I resell to my customers, and they thought I would want to know.

I was surprised. I don't resell. I used that battery. I told him that in my email when I wanted to return it. And I didn't think I had damaged the battery! The battery went from my desk to the couch… that's about it around here! I emailed telling him that I do not resell, and I would like pictures of this badly damaged battery.

He emailed back with two pictures. The battery looks scuffed and badly used. I didn't think it looked that way, but can't prove it. Note to self, take a zillion pictures of things before you send them back. The email with the pictures came with an email asking me how I could do this to him.

Excuse me? How could I do this to him? Like I planned to get a crappy battery, send it back scuffed up, and be a jerk?

He thinks that I purposefully sent him back a damaged battery? And what do I gain from that?! You couldn't ask me if I saw that the battery looked badly used? And if this is so damaged you can't sell it, why did you refund me in full? Why not refund me like $20 or nothing? If my return doesn't fit into your return policy, you don't have to refund me!!!

I sent a pretty angry email. I thought it was pretty jerky of him to accuse me of that. Why not ASK me? Why not show the pictures and tell me they can't refund any or all of it? I really don't like being accused of things I didn't do. Don't treat me like a jerk until I act like a jerk. If he had emailed me and said it was too damaged to give me the return, and I saw the pictures, I would have had to go with what he's saying and not have gotten a refund.

I won't say how this ended, but I sure wish I had taken a video of the item in great detail, and then me sealing it up in the box. I even had all of his original packaging.


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How To Get Me To Hang Up On You

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Guys calls my music business phone line. Tells me he's a drummer, and he would like to get a list of everybody who works at my company. He wants that so that he can try to get my staff to find him drumming work.

I'm not OK with that. My staff are very unlikely to want to go to bat for some guy they don't know. And my staff are not here to market you, random, unnamed guy. It doesn't make sense to expose my staff and the important celebrities they know to anybody who calls. And with blocked caller ID, who KNOWS who this guy is, and what he would really do with that information!

I told him I did not think we would do that. His response was, "Well, is there someone else there I can talk to, or are you just the secretary."

(That's how to get me to hang up on you.)

I replied, "Sir, I own the company," and hung up on him. He called back. I decided to not answer. He left a voice mail saying that was going to tell all his celebrity friends to watch out for me.

Are these the same celebrity friends not hiring you right now? So many celebrity friends that you needed to call me try to get access to my and my team's celebrity friends?

Just a tip. When you do something stupid, APOLOGISE. It goes MUCH farther than threatening to hurt my business.

Another tip. Don't call a company to ask strangers to give up all their celebrity contacts to you. Not gonna happen.

I said good day. :)


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What “Don’t Tattle” Teaches

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Many people grew up hearing "don't tattle" and "don't snitch." Evidently, the idea is that if you see someone doing something wrong, keep it to yourself because nobody will like you. Nobody likes the person who reveals the truth, and wouldn't you rather be popular.

I've never understood this. I don't understand why people continue telling their children this. To me, this is what leads to unreported crimes, sexual abuse, and other issues. And for those of you who think that you don't want your kids to "snitch" but when they grow up, they'll know right and wrong, guess again.

I cannot tell you how many times I watch unjust things happen, and nobody says anything. Except me. I grew up being told you are your brother's keeper. Stand up for people. Stand up for the person who can't stand up for himself. Say something if you see something wrong. We were taught to tell the truth, and instead of lying to cover up bad decisions, we were taught to make better decisions.

In high school, we learned about the famous case of Kitty Genovese, who was evidently screaming while being murdered, and nobody wanted to call the police. Nobody wanted to get involved in what was someone else's trouble.

Last year, a bunch of teenagers watched a girl get gang raped. One decided to call AFTER it was over. How many kids didn't stop the attack or call the police earlier. They were standing there. Someone taught them that you don't tattle. If they had been taught to act on these things, someone would have seen this, and even if they didn't think they could stop it, they would have walked off and called the police. The attack evidently went on over an hour.

I recently saw something in an advertising blog about an ad that was being run to remind people to report things they think are crimes. The ad shows a guy feeling annoyed that his neighbours are loud… in the ad, he can evidently hear the man beating the woman. The ad asks how he will feel when he stops hearing her cries (and it's too late… and he did nothing). Good question.

It's about more than crimes. It's about standing up to what you see as wrong. It's how I was raised, and if you know me (or read my blog), you know I'm not afraid to say something. Someone recently asked if I were some sort of trouble-maker. I said I am a whistleblower.

Yesterday, I went to my apartment's sales office to ask why the leasing office is always closed (they sell some of the units here as condos, and run two different offices). The girl said she had nothing to do with that office, but heard the leasing agent is never there when she should be there. I said we should talk to the property owner about that. A grown woman said to me, "I'm not going to tattle."

Really. Someone whose job has nothing to do with you is creating a bad experience for customers who COULD be yours (if I like living here, maybe I'd buy a unit), and you don't want to say anything to your bosses. You'd rather your customers get poor service and a poor experience so that you don't have to report the problem.

I tend to think that people who don't want to tattle as adults have something or a lot to hide. I'm happy to stand up and say something because I know I have no closet skeletons. I can cast the first stone. :)

I would like to see today's parents teaching children better decision-making with the future and multiple possible outcomes in mind. I would like to see today's parents teaching children to stand up for what they believe in and what they think is right. How much less abuse, crime, or just day-to-day negative situations would there be if our children felt responsible for themselves and for their fellow man?

Just a dream.


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I’m In A Foreign Country And Need You To Send Money

Friday, April 30th, 2010

It's a scam. I'm not in a foreign country. Hey, I'll take any money you want to send!

But beware of these. I just got another last week. A client's email was hacked, and I got an email saying HELP, she was in a foreign country, she got mugged, and needed me to wire her money.

Clearly, if that happened to her, she is probably NOT thinking, "I will get Debbie from As Was to send me money." But your natural reaction is to think someone is in trouble and you have to help.

Just be careful of these. If you think something could be real, call the person. Are they really in some other country? Then somebody knows at what hotel they're staying. Call and ask to talk to them.

Never wire money to anybody. Period. Don't wire money to a stranger. Don't wire money to someone who claims to be eBay. If your friend really is in trouble and really needs money, then you will be wiring to your friend's American bank account with his or her name on it. And you would have spoken to your friend to get all of his or her banking details.

Just be very careful of this stuff. It plays on the heartstrings. Think before you act. Take a moment to be logical!


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