Archive | February, 2010

Do I have sucker on my forehead?

28 Feb

Today as I left Safeway, a homeless man was panhandling for change outside the entrance. “Any change?” he asked.

I gave him my standard answer, “Sorry –  I don’t carry cash.”

To his credit, he came back with, “Can you use your card to buy me breakfast?”

This response appealed to me for two reasons: First, I am wracked with guilt when I see homeless people. I’ve been fortunate to have a life in which I can take care of myself, and I try my best to pay it forward. Ignoring the request of a homeless person – when I can clearly afford to help – makes me feel like I’ve lost my grounding in humanity. Second, I coach salespeople and advise them to come back to any objection with another question to remain engaged. This guy was a MODEL closer who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

Ergo, my guilt and his tenacity worked in his favor. “C’mon,” I told him. “I’ll buy you a few things.”

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To quote a wise man: never trust a fart.

26 Feb

This is about the last existing photo of WOW chips. Lay's has done an amazing job scrubbing any reference to WOWs from the internet. That's SEO well played.

Remember when WOW potato chips came out in the late 1990s? They were the first – and to my knowledge – ONLY food to ever bear the warning that they may cause anal leakage. At the time, they were the subject of many late night jokes, and my colleague Sara dared to test the warning by consuming an entire bag in one sitting.

Her response: “Wow!”

Apparently the chip was well named and the warning well phrased. Score one for marketers AND the USDA. (Ironically, they ended up re-branding as “Ruffles Light” because they became infamous: deduct one for both marketers and Olestra.)

It got me to thinking that THAT was a good practice. Why don’t companies include warnings on any food that might spoil a date (as opposed to simply including a spoiled-by date)?

Based on the number of times the word “shart” has worked itself into a text from one of my friends (and you know who you are), I’m thinking there are PLENTY of foods (or people) that would be well-served by a cautionary label.

I won’t share the stories that accompany these foods (must protect the innocent – at least until I have a bottle of wine in me) but here’s a list that may cause disastrous results if consumed:

  • Kashi frozen pizza
  • Kashi Go Lean Crunch
  • Fiber One bars
  • Atkins diet
  • Kielbasa and sauerkraut
  • More than three diet sodas in one day

This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a starting point. In any case, don’t say you haven’t been warned. And feel free to add to this list or add your own cautionary tales – consider it an act of citizenship.

Service with a smile… no, really!

25 Feb

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck.

Have you ever tried Cosi’s flatbreads? They’re essentially pizzas, but they don’t call them that. They should, because it would help set better expectations. I’m fine waiting 10 minutes for a pizza to come out of an oven; I am NOT fine waiting for a “flatbread” to be handed to me with melted cheese.

I only order a flatbread if I’ve packed an activity in my pocket – like my iPhone – so I don’t have to twiddle my thumbs waiting for it to crawl through the oven. Yesterday I ordered a pizza flatbread, tucked into a chair and amused myself while it cooked. When it was ready, the woman who presented it to me was wild with enthusiasm.

“Pepperoni! Pepperoni! Pepperoni Flatbread!” She had actually invented a SONG using my Pepperoni Flatbread as her inspiration. I will admit, it got me slightly more excited about my impending meal. Continue reading

Reminder: Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you have to be lame.

24 Feb

Today when I went to the DC Pool to swim, a little girl skipped past me up the sidewalk and shouted, “Hi!” Inside at the check-in desk, she explained to me that her mom would be signing her in later. Friendly little thing, I thought.

In the locker room, separated by a row of lockers, she shouted, “Do you have your swimsuit on under your clothes?” I assumed her mom had shown up. But then, ten seconds later, she yelled the exact same thing, only louder, and came walking around the lockers to look at me.

I faced her, topless, and said, “Apparently not.”

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Book Nazi

23 Feb

I love DC’s public libraries. It’s a great system with a wonderful selection and lots of locations. What I don’t love is the woman they’ve hired in the last year to work the desk at MY branch in the West End. I first encountered her three weeks ago in the wake of DC’s big snow storm when I stopped in to pick-up a book they were holding for me.

Note: I said this was in the wake of the storm, so the streets were hardly passable and there was absolutely no parking available. I swung by for what I hoped was a quick errand on my way to stick my car in the parking garage under my office. The challenge was that parking outside the library was lacking.

Because there was NO other traffic, I double parked, right in the middle of the street, turned my hazards on, and ran in. The book was behind the desk, marked with my name, I had my library card in my hand leading me through the door – all told it should’ve been a 30 second transaction.

That is, until I encountered Rita the Regulator. Continue reading