Archive for the ‘business’ Category

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conversation with a customer

March 17, 2009

i worked my second to last shift today at bn.  sometimes customers can be the worst part of the day.  anyone who has worked in retail knows exactly what i’m talking about.  i don’t need a lecture about how the customers are the reason i’m there in the first place, or anything similar.  i am well aware that without customers retailers have no job.  i’m not talking about all customers, but every retailers knows what it’s like to have that one person who comes in, has had a bad day (or life), and decides that it’s his purpose in life to ruin the day of those he comes into contact with.

normally for every jerk like that there is the customer who catches you off guard and instead of being the customer mentioned above, they become the highlight of your day.  i had one of these today.  our conversation follows.

brad:  thank you for calling barnes and noble.  this is brad.  how can i help you?

older woman:  i’m looking for two books.  the first is “self improvement title a” and the second is “self improvement title b.”

brad:  it looks like i would have to order the second title, but the first title may be on hand.  let me put you on hold real quick and i’ll walk over to verify.

brad:  thanks for holding, i do have tha…

older woman:  no, thank YOU for picking up.  that music was horrible!

brad:  i’m sorry.  you didn’t like the music that was playing while you were on hold?

older woman:  no.  [with a hint of a smile in her voice] i didn’t like it, but i don’t like anything.  that’s why i need these books!

good times.

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the worthless bastard award

March 15, 2009

my freshman year of college we (somewhat lovingly) gave out the worthless bastard of the week award. this award was normally given to one of the guys on the floor when they did something stupid. it was done out of fun and everyone who received it took it in stride.

a showed me an article this afternoon that has prompted me to break out the award again. this time it’s not given in jest. it’s not funny. it’s not awarded lovingly. i am awarding this again because the recipient is, as proven by their actions this week, a worthless bastard.

and the award goes to [insert drum roll here]

…edward m. liddy, the government-appointed chairman of aig. this week aig revealed that they were contractually obligated to pay out $165 million in bonuses to executives within the company even thought they had to accept $170 billion from you and i just to stay afloat.  i know i’m not the only person who is incensed by this.  according to the nyt article, the agreements for the bonuses were agreed upon before all the poo hit the fan and that lawyers have looked at it and said that the company must pay out.  many average joe’s (not joe the plumber) are having their pay frozen or losing their jobs completely, but these bums who almost ran the company into the ground and helped cause this wonderful recession are raking in the cash that you and i paid for.

really, this isn’t all mr liddy’s fault.  there are so many more who he can accept this award on the behalf of, but as the head of the company, everything that happens under his watch is his responsibility.

congratulations mr. edward m. liddy.  you are this week’s worthless bastard.

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lessons learned

March 13, 2009

so i’m starting my last week in my current job and counting down the days until i start the new one (10). to be truthful, i can’t wait until i get the chance to be intellectually stimulated again. my current job has many positive aspects, but i don’t get much of a chance to think, to strategize, or to plan. unfortunately that is what i need to keep my brain happy, fulfilled, sharp, and out of trouble. anyways…

why do we always wait until we are saying goodbye to tell people things we should have told them a long time ago? i have talked to several people over the last week and let them know just how important they are the the organization. these are people that i have worked with for several years, have written and delivered annual reviews for, and have spent long nights and busy nights and all nights and holidays with. i know them all well. they are my friends. if i think someone does a great job day in and day out, why do i wait until i have submitted my resignation to tell them how great and integral they are? why didn’t i tell them earlier? lesson learned. next time i will do better, letting people know that i appreciate them before i leave.

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super bowl commercials

February 3, 2009

i am a sports purist. i hate big games if only because of all the drama and pageantry.  i don’t see the point of pre-game, half-time, and post-game concerts.  i find the need for having half of the former players and every photographer in the u.s. at midfield for the coin toss asinine.  i loathe the crowd that is brought on to the field to jump around for the concert-dejour in hopes that i’ll be fooled into thinking that i am at a concert instead of a football game.  generally speaking, i just can’t stand anything that consumes your attention and detracts from the significance of the game.  i understand that the nfl does all of this to try to bring and capture the attention of those who otherwise would not care about the game.  i understand that there are millions that watch the game just for everything else besides the game.  i also understand that i’m never going to be able to change it, but i just want a game.  give me a good game (and i got one this year!).  if the millions that would rather be at a broadway show don’t watch it, so what?  it’s a football game.  if they don’t want to watch it, fine.  they don’t have to.

rant aside, there is one non-football aspect to the super bowl i enjoy:  the commercials.  before i go on i have to be clear about something.  commercial time is time to go to the bathroom or reload my plate/bowl/drink.  as great as the super bowl commercials are, they still take a backseat to gluttony (and that’s what dvr and hulu.com are for).  assuming my bladder is relatively empty and my plate is full, i truly enjoy most commercials.  the last several years have had a few good ones and a few bad ones.  this year was no exception.  my thoughts on some of the individual commercials follow.

top three:

1.  bud light – swedish conan.  quite simply, anything with conan is destined to be hilarious.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

2.  pepsi max – “i’m good.”  pain is funny.  pain several times is several times funnier.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

3a. monster.com – moose desk.  the guy is sitting in between the moose’s legs.  hilarious.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

3b. e-trade – baby with the golden pipes.  the baby pretty funny.  add another baby and use the phrase “golden pipes” and you’re in business.  good stuff.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

the bz honorable mention (in no particular order):

now for the commericals that were failures in my eyes:

  • castrol – grease monkeys.  i just don’t get it.  it wasn’t funny.  i’ve watched it several times and it’s just not funny.
  • coke commercials.  i thought these were mildly clever at best, but not overly entertaining or relevant.  a guy napping on a spring/summer day while bugs take his coke bottle airing while the midwest is stuck under a foot of snow and ice and most of the country is very cold.  it just doesn’t seem like the right time to air a summer time ad.
  • godaddy.com.  okay.  here’s the deal.  danica patrick is NOT hot!  she’s not.  period.  end of discussion.  here’s why people are sometimes fooled into thinking she’s hot.  sandwich her in between aj foyt iv and tony kanaan and yeah she looks pretty good.  but sandwich her in between heidi klum and marisa miller and she’s just another pretender.

pick the hot one and danica gets picked every time (except by mrs. foyt iv and mrs. kanaan)

pick the hot one and danica never gets picked.  ever.

danica is not hot.  please go daddy (and sports illustrated and the irl), stop trying to make her hot.

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seth godin is on to something

November 5, 2008

he posted this on his blog today.

Your customers and employees and investors will remember how you treated them when times were tough, when they needed a break, when a little support meant everything.

No one in particular will remember how you acted during the boom times.

i just wanted to pass it on.  it’s such an important message that too many managers at every level will forget.  with the holiday season (predicted to be the worst in a generation) approaching there are management lessons that will be forgotten.  some will cost managers their business, some won’t.  all will affect he bottom line.  those who follow this advice are the ones who are most likely to come out on time.